Sunday, 25 October 2015

Pope Francis' address at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family

The full English text of Pope Francis' address is at the Vatican website: Conclusion of the Synod of Bishops: Address of His Holiness Pope Francis. Do read the whole so that you get the full picture of what Pope Francis has said, rather than just a partial perspective.

Pope Francis has not, for example, criticised "conservative bishops" - his remark that is being interpreted that way is part of my extract below. Read properly, it isn't an attack on any particular party (note that balance of the reference to the "Church's teachings" by the reference to "good intentions") but an account of an experience of the Synod. An experience from which those commenting on the Synod, and on Pope Francis' pontificate in general, might learn something.

I have provided the Italian of the second paragraph below as my translation does not entirely follow the English at the Vatican website; that translation does not seem to me to capture the sense of the Italian verb spogliare, (to strip away, undress), used here in a very particular way in what I am assuming is the original, Italian text.

The elegance of the imagery and Scriptural reference in the first paragraph below makes it my favourite in the whole address. Think about it after you have read it.
[The Synod] was about bearing witness to everyone that, for the Church, the Gospel continues to be a vital source of eternal newness, against all those who would “indoctrinate” it in dead stones to be hurled at others.
It was also about shedding closed hearts which often hide themselves even behind the Church’s teachings, or behind good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.
[Significa anche aver spogliato i cuori chiusi che spesso si nascondono perfino dietro gli insegnamenti della Chiesa, o dietro le buone intenzioni, per sedersi sulla cattedra di Mosè e giudicare, qualche volta con superiorità e superficialità, i casi difficili e le famiglie ferrite.] 
It was about making clear that the Church is a Church of the poor in spirit and of sinners seeking forgiveness, not simply of the righteous and the holy, but rather of those who are righteous and holy precisely when they feel themselves poor sinners.
And I love the way in which, towards the end of his address, Pope Francis successively quotes Popes Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI on the theme of divine mercy!

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