Synod of bishops on the family


Pope Francis: The Synod Is Not a Parliament

In Opening Address for Synod’s 2015 1st General Congregation, Urges Prelates to Walk Together Led by Holy Spirit

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Pope Francis has reminded prelates the Synod is not a conference, a parliament or a senate, but rather an expression of the Church to be led by the Spirit.

In his opening, unscripted address at the Synod’s 2015 1st General Congregation in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall this morning, Pope Francis reminded those gathered, “We must walk together in collegiality and synodality.”

The opening Mass for the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Oct. 4-25, on the theme, ‘The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world,’ took place in St. Peter’s Basilica yesterday morning.

Francis reminded everyone gathered that the synod’s intention is for the Church to take up this dialogue in the family and  encouraged the prelates to speak freely.

“The Synod is not a conference, a parliament or a senate,” Francis said, adding it is not a forum where one “negotiates or deals.”

Rather, the Holy Father reaffirmed, “the Synod is an expression of the Church: a Church that walks together to read reality with the eyes of faith.” 

The Synod, the Pope stated, “is a protected space where one experiences the presence of the Holy Spirit” and then went on to give three reasons why: It is guided by God who always surprises; Who created the law and the Sabbath for man and not vice versa; and Who is greater than our logic.

The Holy Spirit, the Pontiff stressed to the prelates, is the only way.

In his remarks, Pope Francis underscored the need to put on three things: apostolic courage, humility and confident, evangelical prayer, 

“Without listening to God, all our words will only be  ‘words’ that do not satisfy and are not needed. Without letting ourselves be guided by the Spirit,” he continued, “all our decisions will be only ‘decorations’ that, instead of exalting the Gospel, cover and hide it.”

Before concluding, the Pope thanked the Synod Fathers and all present, including the press, and invoked in his prayer the help of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of the Holy Family.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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