On September 2, 2019, Pope Francis received in audience — in the Hall of the Consistory od the Apostolic Vatican Palace –, the Bishops of the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which opened this morning in Rome, on the theme “Communion in the Life and Witness of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.”
Here is a translation of the Pope’s greeting to those present at the Meeting.
* * *
The Holy Father’s Greeting
But you underscored something we must not lose: Synod and Synodality, and Holy Spirit. It’s not to advertise but, in the last issue of the “Osservatore Romano,” dated Sunday, but which came out on Saturday, there is a beautiful article on the presence of the Holy Spirit in the synodal journey. Because there is a danger: to believe, today, that to undertake a synodal journey or to have an attitude of synodality, means to carry out a survey of opinions, what does this one think, that one, that other one . . . and then hold a meeting, and come to an agreement . . . No, the Synod isn’t a Parliament! Things must be said, discussed as is normally done, but it isn’t a Parliament. Synod is not a coming to an agreement as in politics: I give you this and you give me that. No. Synod is not to undertake a sociological survey, as some believe: Let’s see, let’s ask a group of laypeople to do a survey, to see if we should change this or that or the other . . . “You must certainly know what your laypeople think, but it’s not a survey; it’s something else. If the Holy Spirit isn’t there, there is no Synod. If the Holy Spirit isn’t present, there is no Synodality. In fact, if the Church isn’t there, the identity of the Church . . . And, what is the identity of the Church? Saint Paul VI said it clearly: the vocation of the Church is to evangelize; in fact, her identity is to evangelize. Enter this Synod of yours with this spirit, with the Holy Spirit. Pray to the Spirit. Argue among yourselves, as much as you want . . . Think of Ephesus, how they argued! But they were good . . . And, in the end, it was the Spirit that made them say: Mary, Mother of God.” This is in fact the way. It’s the Spirit, because we don’t want to become a congregational Church but, rather, a Synodal Church. And go on this way.
Now I invite you to pray to Our Lady, all together, to receive the blessing.
Hail Mary, . . .
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]