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Pope Opens First Session of Synod on the Family

Encourages Participants to Speak Freely and Clearly, Listen With Humility

The Pope opened the first session of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops this morning, thanking the synod fathers and all those who have worked with patience and expertise in the preparation of the synod.

The Holy Father was particularly grateful to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and all employees of the general secretariat of the Synod. He then thanked the post-synodal Council and the Bishops’ Conferences of the three Presidents as delegates.

The Pope emphasized in particular the synodal and collegial aspects and explained some changes he introduced to make these characteristics even more effective. The voice of the synod, the Pope added, must be brought in synodality everywhere.

Finally, the Holy Father pointed out that all must speak clearly with parrhesia (“freedom to say everything”). They must speak with sincerity and to say what each person in the Lord feels they have to say. They have to listen with humility: speaking clearly with frankness and listening with humility are the keys of collegiality, he said. Done everything in this way, the Pope added. Have no fear, he reassured those present, as this is done with Peter and under Peter.

The Synod on the “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization” runs until Oct. 19.

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