Sunday, 4 October 2015

Pope Francis at the start of the Synod

English texts of Pope Francis' address at the Vigil of prayer in St Peter's Square in preparation for the Synod on the Family, and his homily at the opening Mass for the Synod, are not yet at the Vatican website. I expect they will be posted there in due course: with links respectively from this page and this page.

I link to texts published at the website of the Catholic Herald - I'd rather not, given their indulgence in a "Synod of the media" (see here), and suspect they may be publishing the texts with a certain mischief, but at the moment I can't find the English texts elsewhere.  [UPDATE: links now to texts at the Vatican website].

Pope Francis’ address at family synod prayer vigil: full text

A snippet:
In the “Galilee of the nations” of our own time, we will rediscover the richness and strength of a Church which is a mother, ever capable of giving and nourishing life, accompanying it with devotion, tenderness, and moral strength. For unless we can unite compassion with justice, we will end up being needlessly severe and deeply unjust.
A Church which is family is also able to show the closeness and love of a father, a responsible guardian who protects without confining, who corrects without demeaning, who trains by example and patience, sometimes simply by a silence which bespeaks prayerful and trusting expectation.
Above all, a Church of children who see themselves as brothers and sisters, will never end up considering anyone simply as a burden, a problem, an expense, a concern or a risk.  Other persons are essentially a gift, and always remain so, even when they walk different paths.
Pope Francis’ homily at the family synod’s opening Mass: full text

Another snippet:
....the Church is called to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love. To carry out her mission in fidelity to her Master as a voice crying out in the desert, in defending faithful love and encouraging the many families which live married life as an experience which reveals of God’s love; in defending the sacredness of life, of every life; in defending the unity and indissolubility of the conjugal bond as a sign of God’s grace and of the human person’s ability to love seriously.
To carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions. The truth which protects individuals and humanity as a whole from the temptation of self-centredness and from turning fruitful love into sterile selfishness, faithful union into temporary bonds. “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love” (BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 3).
To carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgment of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a “field hospital” with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation.
I do think Pope Francis has understood very well the challenge to which the Synod is intended to respond.

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