Pope launches global synod on synodality

Angelus News

Pope Francis, Sunday, officially launched the global synod on synodality.

During the synod’s opening Mass at St Peter’s Basilica, Francis urged the Catholic Church to master the “art of encounter.”

“Everything changes once we are capable of genuine encounters with [Jesus] and with one another, without formalism or pretense, but simply as we are,” he said.

“Let us not soundproof our hearts,” he implored.

Francis warned delegates the synod is not a parliamentary or political process.

“There is no need to create another church, but to create a different church,” he said.

“Keep us from becoming a ‘museum church,’ beautiful but mute, with much past and little future.”

The “art of encounter,” is marked by listening and seeking to understand the other.

“Every encounter, as we know, calls for openness, courage and a willingness to let ourselves be challenged by the presence and the stories of others,” the pope said.

The Christian community must reflect the “style of God, who travels the paths of history and shares in the life of humanity.”

Francis hopes the synodal process — that of a participatory, listening church — will invite a fuller involvement of all its members and help purge its abuse of power.

Catholics participating in the synod need to make “time to devote to prayer and adoration – this prayer that we neglect so much: to adore, to make room for adoration — listening to what the Spirit wants to say to the Church,” he continued.

“Time to look others in the eye and listen to what they have to say, to build rapport, to be sensitive to the questions of our sisters and brothers, to let ourselves be enriched by the variety of charisms, vocations, and ministries.

“Listen to the questions, concerns and hopes of every church, people and nation.

“Let us ask: in the church, are we good at listening? How good is the hearing of our heart?” Francis asked.

“Do we allow people to express themselves, to walk in faith even though they have had difficulties in life, and to be part of the life of the community without being hindered, rejected or judged?”

The live-streamed Mass, attended by around 3,000 people, was the second of two weekend events officially opening the two-year global consultation process.

The synod on synodality’s opening diocesan phase runs from October 2021 to April 2022.

The synod’s second, continental phase is programmed from September 2022 to March 2023.

The third, universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023.


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