Thursday, October 4, 2018

Synod on Youth III - Francis Speaks

Yesterday, Pope Francis inaugurated the Synod of Bishops on "Youth, Faith and Discernment of Vocations" by celebrating the Eucharist in St Peter's Square. Later in the synod hall, he presented his vision in a remarkable opening speech. My reflexion today limits itself to simply presenting of a few sentences from this speech centered on the idea of synodality.


- The Synod we are living is a moment of sharing. I wish, therefore, at the beginning of the Synod Assembly, to invite everyone to speak with courage and frankness (parrhesia), namely to integrate freedom, truth and charity. Only dialogue can help us grow.

- Humility in listening must correspond to courage in speaking. It is this listening that creates space for dialogue. 

- The Synod must be an exercise in dialogue, above all among those of you participating. The first fruit of this dialogue is that everyone is open to newness, to change their opinions thanks to what they have heard from others. 

- Let us feel free to welcome and understand others and therefore to change our convictions and positions: this is a sign of great human and spiritual maturity.

- The Synod is an ecclesial exercise in discernment. Discernment is not an advertising slogan, it is not an organizational technique, or a fad of this pontificate, but an interior attitude rooted in an act of faith. 

- Discernment is the method and at the same time the goal we set ourselves: it is based on the conviction that God is at work in world history, in life’s events, in the people I meet and who speak to me.

- Discernment needs space and time. This attention to interiority is the key to accomplishing the work of recognizing, interpreting and choosing.

- This Synod has the opportunity, the task and the duty to be a sign of a Church that really listens, that allows herself to be questioned by the experiences of those she meets, and who does not always have a ready-made answer.

- It is therefore necessary, on the one hand, to decisively overcome the scourge of clericalism. Clericalism arises from an elitist and exclusivist vision of vocation, that interprets the ministry received as a power to be exercised rather than as a free and generous service to be given. This leads us to believe that we belong to a group that has all the answers and no longer needs to listen or learn anything. 

- Clericalism is a perversion and is the root of many evils in the Church: we must humbly ask forgiveness for this and above all create the conditions so that it is not repeated.

- May the Synod awaken our hearts! The present moment, and this applies also to the Church, appears to be laden with struggles, problems, burdens. But our faith tells us that it is also the moment in which the Lord comes to meet us in order to love us and call us to the fullness of life.

- The Synod’s purpose: to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another, and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands, and inspire in young people – all young people, with no one excluded – a vision of the future filled with the joy of the Gospel.

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