Pope: Resist temptation of 'closed circles'

In a meeting with the leaders of ecclesial movements, Pope Francis once again outlined his vision for synodality in the Church.

Jun 13, 2024

The Pope addresses participants (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

VATICAN: The synodal process will not yield lasting results unless it is accompanied by a "spiritual conversion," Pope Francis said during an audience on June 13, Thursday morning with leaders of various ecclesial movements and associations.

"My hope”, he said, “is that following this Synod, synodality may endure as a permanent mode of working within the Church, at all levels, permeating the hearts of all, pastors and faithful alike, until it becomes a shared ‘ecclesial style’. However, achieving this demands that a change must occur within each of us, a true ‘conversion’.”

“We must remember”, the Pope continued, “that the first to recognise the necessity of synodality in the Latin Church was Paul VI. The Eastern Church had preserved synodality, but the Latin Church had lost it."

"The most important aspect of this Synod on Synodality is not the discussion of specific topics," emphasised the Pope.

He has initiated a synodal process in the Church, where the focus of discussion is on synodality itself. The second General Assembly of this synodal process is to be held in October in the Vatican, with the Pope planning to publish his conclusions in the spring of 2025.

"The most important aspect of this Synod on Synodality is not the discussion of specific topics”, he emphasised. “No, the most important aspect is to embark on a synodal journey at the parish, diocesan, and global levels."

The protagonist of the synodal process is the Holy Spirit, the Pope reiterated, stressing the need to overcome divisions.

“Let us beware of the temptation of closed circles!”

"Let us beware of the temptation of closed circles! … These are “enclosures” in which we all risk imprisonment … Synodality instead asks us to look beyond the barriers with magnanimity, to see the presence of God and his actions even in people we do not know, in new pastoral approaches, in uncharted mission territories.  It asks us to let ourselves be moved, even “hurt”, by the voice, the experience, and suffering of others:  of our fellow believers and all those around us. Open, with an open heart.”

Pope Francis also had a specific admonition for ecclesial movements: "Ecclesial movements are meant for service, not for self-interest. It is sad when people identify with a particular movement as if it were something superior. Church movements should serve the Church; they are not a message in themselves. They exist to serve."--Vatican News

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