Pope Francis opened the Church's youth Synod by urging participants to take their lead from younger generations and to avoid “falling into moralistic or elitist postures”. Source: The Tablet.
The month-long Synod of Bishops gathering started yesterday and will focus on young people, the faith and vocational discernment. But the event takes place under a cloud of Church sexual abuse scandals and its assorted cover-ups by members of the hierarchy. Some had called on the Pope to cancel the event arguing the bishops have forfeited the ability to offer guidance to young people in the light of the crises.
But the 81-year-old Latin American Pontiff, who did not mention abuse during his homily at the Mass to open the Synod, said bishops will have credibility if they approach the event with a disposition of listening and that the youth of today cannot be abandoned to the “pedlars of death” of the contemporary world.
This listening, Francis told the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square, must be done “sincerely and prayerfully, as free as possible from prejudice and conditioning” and without an attitude of “self-preservation and self-centredness which gives importance to what is secondary yet makes secondary what is important”.
He explained: “This disposition protects us from the temptation of falling into moralistic or elitist postures, and it protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people.”
Francis urged the Synod fathers, many of whom are in their 60s and 70s, to remember their vocations which, for a lot of them, came to fruition during Vatican II, the 1962-65 gathering of bishops which set the blueprint for the contemporary Church.
The Synod, Francis stressed, must “broaden our horizons,” avoiding a conformist mentality of “it’s always been done like this,” and rekindle a “Gospel ardour and passion which lead[s] to an ardour and passion for Jesus.”
“We know that our young people will be capable of prophesy and vision to the extent that we, who are already adult or elderly, can dream and thus be infectious in sharing those dreams and hopes that we carry in our hearts,” the Pope stressed.
Pope Francis: Synod is a time for sharing (Vatican News)