Pope Francis has warned against ‘two synods’, the real one happening inside the Vatican’s New Synod Hall, and the other one, given to the world by the press….
The Pontiff’s recommendation came during the opening of the first General Congregation of the Synod, Oct. 7, when he gave improvised remarks to all the participants.
Yesterday, Oct. 6, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the occasion of the opening of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region, Oct. 6-27, 2019, on the theme “Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology.
The Holy Father acknowledging how the media has distorted for their own interests, and will again, distort in various ways the Synod.
The Synod does not have the power to make decisions. After discussions together in these weeks, and eventually putting together a list of recommendations to present to the Pope, then Pope Francis takes them and usually issues his own papal document, an Apostolic Exhortation, on the topic.
“We can say that the Synod for Amazonia has four dimensions: the pastoral dimension, the cultural dimension, the social dimension and the ecological dimension,” said Pope Francis. “The first, the pastoral dimension is the essential one,” he underscored, noting it is “the one that encompasses everything.” In this realm, he exhorted: “We approach with a Christian heart and see the reality of Amazonia with a disciple’s eyes…”
Illustrated, Enlightened Laboratory
The Holy Father urged for respecting the indigenous people, warning against ideological colonizations.
“Ideologies are a dangerous weapon,” Francis said, noting: “we always tend to grab an ideology to interpret a people.” Moreover, he added they are “reductive, and they lead us to exaggeration in our pretension to understand intellectually, but without accepting, understanding without admiring, understanding without assuming and then the reality is received in categories, the most common are the categories of “isms.”
The Jesuit Pope stressed that when we have to approach the reality of a native people, we speak of Indianisms, and when we want to give them “a way out” to their living better, we don’t ask them, we speak of developmentalism.
“These ‘isms,’” Francis decried, “re-formulate life from the illustrated and enlightened laboratory.”
Moreover, the Roman Pontiff warned against worldliness, which he lamented “always infiltrates itself and it removes us from the poetry of the peoples.”
“We come to contemplate, to understand, to serve the peoples, and we do so by following a Synodal path, which we do in a Synod, not in roundtables, not in conferences or ulterior discussions. We do it in a Synod,” he stressed, “because a Synod isn’t a Parliament, it isn’t a parlour, it’s not demonstrating who has more power over the media and who has more power among the networks to impose any idea or any plan.”
The Holy Father underscored the importance of letting the Holy Spirit guide the right paths, and of “not chasing [the Spirit] out of the Hall!”
Francis ashed how they will work at the Synod to ensure that this presence of the Holy Spirit is fecund?
“First of all,” he answered, “we must pray.”
“Brothers and sisters, I ask you to pray a lot. To reflect, dialogue, listen with humility, knowing that I don’t know all. And to speak with courage, with parrhesia, even if I have to be embarrassed, I must say what a feel, discern and all this inside, protecting the fraternity that must exist inside here.”
Francis reminded that To foster this attitude of reflection, prayer, discernment, after every four interventions, there will be four minutes of silence.
“Someone said,” Pope Francis recalled, “‘It’s dangerous, Father, because they are going to fall asleep.” The experience of the Synod on young people, when we did the same, was rather the contrary; they tended to fall asleep during the interventions, at least it happened with some, and they woke up in the silence.”
The Holy Father also reminded them to be prudent when discussing the Synod outside the Synod Hall, reiterating that the Synod space is to be protected and respected.
“A process such as that of a Synod,” he recognized, “can be ruined somewhat if, when I go out of the Hall, I say what I think, I give my opinion, and then that characteristic happens that happened in some Synods: of the inside Synod and the outside Synod. The inside Synod, which follows a path of Mother Church, of care for the processes, and the outside Synod, which, because of information given lightly, given with imprudence, moves ex officio reporters to make mistakes.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying for them, their work and for courage, and telling them not to lose their sense of humor.
On ZENIT’s Web page: