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Pope Francis’s Hopes for the Synod

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The pope’s interview with La Nación

We have to engage with social conflicts and try to offer a consoling hand, he says in an interview with La Nación.

The synod will be long, and the topics will be dealt with in depth and freedom, explained Pope Francis in an interview published this Sunday in the Argentine daily La Nación .

“What does the Pope hope for from the synod that has just begun?,” asked the journalist Joaquín Morales Solá during an interview that took place at the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, where the Pope lives.

“Don’t expect a doctrinal definition next week,” Francis replied wryly. “This will be a long synod, that will probably last for a year. I am only giving the starting push now.”

Asking about the differing points of view that converge in the assembly, which started its work this morning, the Pope affirmed that he is not worried; on the contrary, “everyone has something to contribute. It actually makes me happy to debate with the bishops who are very conservative, but intellectually very well prepared,” he said.

Regarding this, the Pope explained, “I was a relator in the 2001 synod and there was a cardinal who told us what could be discussed and what could not. That will not happen now: I even handed over to the bishops my power to elect the presidents of the committees. They will elect them, as they will also elect the secretaries and relators.”

“That is the synodal practice that I like – that everyone can say what they want with total freedom. Freedom is always very important,” he declared.

And he added, “Governing the Church is a different question. That is in my hands, after making the necessary consultations.”

“What conclusion do you think should emerge from the synod?” the journalist insisted. “The family is so valuable, so precious for society and for the Church!” the Pope exclaimed, and he added, “A great deal of emphasis has been placed on the topic of divorced people. It is an aspect that will, without a doubt, be debated. But, for me, the new customs of today’s young people are another important problem.”

Francis specified, “Young people aren’t getting married. It is the culture of the age. Many young adults prefer to live together without getting married. What should the Church do? Cast them out? Or, on the contrary, draw near to them, hold on to them and try to bring God’s word to them? I am in favor of the latter position,” he affirmed.

“The world has changed and the Church cannot enclose itself in supposed interpretations of dogma,” he added. “We have to engage with social conflicts, new and old, and try to offer a consoling hand, not to stigmatize and not only to challenge.”

Besides the synod, Pope Francis’ conversation with the reporter from La Nación also dealt with world peace and the Pope’s efforts to achieve it.

“I say that there is a third world war in separate parts,” Francis said. “Europe is at war. How else would you define what is happening over the control of the Ukraine? Africa. There are more conflicts there than what are generally known, besides grave social tragedies. And the Middle East. Need I say more about the various wars that are taking place in that part of the world?

“To each place, I try to bring a message of dialogue, containment, and desire for negotiation,” he continued. “I am aware the limits we all have, including my own limits. But I would never forgive myself for doing nothing just because there is no guarantee that I will succeed. In each of those places, life and death are in the balance.”

This article appeared in the October 6, 2014 Spanish edition of Aleteia. Translation byMatthew Green.

 

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