Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pope Francis speaks to the Synod

Yesterday, during the 22nd and final General Congregation of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, focused on the theme: Youth, faith and vocational discernment, the Holy Father, Pope Francis addressed the Synod Fathers who were in attendance, offering them some unscripted remarks.

Unscripted remarks offered by His Holiness, Pope Francis
during the final session of the XV Ordinary General Synod of Bishops

I also have to say thank you to everyone. To Cardinal Baldisseri, to Bishop Fabene, to the delegated Presidents, to the Relator, to the special Secretaries - I said that they had left their skin in the preparatory document; now I believe that they have also left their bones, because they have lost everything! -; thanks to the experts: we have seen how we pass from a martyr text to a martyr commission; this is the work of an editorial staff, who has done this with so much effort and so much penance. Thank you. Thank you to all of you, the auditors, especially the young people, who brought their music to us here in the Hall - music is the diplomatic word to say noise, but this is the way it is ... Thank you.

There are two little things that are close to my heart. First: I want to reiterate once more that the Synod is not a Parliament. It is a protected space for the Holy Spirit to act. For this reason, the information that is given is general and it is not the most particular things, the names, the way of saying things, with which the Holy Spirit works in us. And this was a protected space. Let's not forget this: it was the Spirit who worked here. And the second thing, that the result of the Synod is not a document, I said it at the beginning. We are full of documents. I do not know if this document will have any effect outside these walls, I do not know. But I certainly know that we must have the Spirit in us, he must work in us. We have created the document, the commission; we studied it, we approved it. Now the Spirit is giving us the document so that it may work in our heart. We are the recipients of the document, not the people outside. In order for this document to work, we must pray with it, study it, ask for light ... It is for us, the document, mainly. Yes, it will help many others, but the first recipients are us: it is the Spirit who has done all this, and the Spirit returns the document to us. Please do not forget this.

And there is a third thing: I think of our Mother, the Holy Mother Church. The last three numbers (in the concluding document) concerning holiness show what the Church is: our Mother is Holy, but we children are sinners. We are all sinners. Let us not forget that expression of the Fathers, the casta meretrix, the holy Church, the Holy Mother with sinful children. And because of our sins, the Great Prosecutor always takes advantage of us, as the first chapter of Job says: he goes around, goes around the Earth looking for someone to accuse. At this moment he is accusing us strongly, and this accusation also becomes persecution; today's President - presiding over the 22nd General Congregation - (Patriarch Sako) may say: his people (the Church in Iraq) is persecuted and so are many others from the East or from other parts. And it also becomes another type of persecution: continuous accusations used to dirty the Church. But the Church does not get dirty; yes children, we are all dirty, but the mother is not. And this is why it is time to defend the Mother; and the Mother defends us from the Great Accuser with prayer and penance. This is why I asked, in this month that ends in a few days, that we pray the Rosary, that we pray to Saint Michael the Archangel, that we pray to Our Lady to always cover and protect Mother Church. We must continue to do this.  This is a difficult moment, because the accuser who is attacking us attacks the Mother, but the Mother does not touch him. I wanted to say this sincerely at the end of the Synod.

And now, may the Holy Spirit gift us all with this document, even me, so that we may reflect on that which the Spirit wants to say to us.  Thank you very much to all of you, thank you all!
(Original text in Italian)

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