Pope Francis leads a Holy Mass with the new Cardinals and opening of the Synod of Bishops in Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City, 4 October 2023.
Pope Francis on Wednesday opened a big meeting on the future of the Catholic Church, with progressives hoping it will lead to more women in leadership roles and conservatives warning that church doctrine on everything from homosexuality to the hierarchy’s authority is at risk.
Pope Francis told the participants to keep “political calculations” out of proceedings.
“Dear brother cardinals, brother bishops, sisters and brothers, we are at the opening of the Synod Assembly. And we do not need purely natural vision, made up of human strategies, political calculations, or ideological battles,” the Argentine pontiff said.
“Instead we are here to walk together with the gaze of Jesus, Who blesses the Father and welcomes those who are weary and oppressed.” Recalling Jesus’ call to St Francis to ‘Go and repair my Church’ on the saint’s feast day, the pope said the Synod serves to remind us that “our Mother the church is always in need of purification.
“The Synod is not a political gathering, but a convocation in the Spirit; not a polarized parliament, but a place of grace and communion,” he said.
Photo: EPA-EFE/GIUSEPPE LAMI