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Pope Francis offers his reflections at the conclusion of the final session of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Pope Francis offers his reflections at the conclusion of the final session of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis: Synod must continue to work in our hearts

As the XV General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops draws to a close, Pope Francis thanks those who took part. He gave thanks especially to the young people who "brought us their music here in the Hall.

By Christopher Wells

Speaking off the cuff at the conclusion of the General Assembly of the Synod, Pope Francis emphasised three main points that, he said, “I carry in my heart.”

The Synod is not a parliament

First, he reminded those present at the Synod that “the Synod is not a Parliament.” Rather, the Synod is a “protected space” where the Holy Spirit is allowed to work. For this reason, the information about what happened in the Synod was more general, with few specific details released. “Let us not forget this,” the Pope said: “It was the Spirit who worked here.”

The Synod must work in our hearts

Pope Francis’ second point related to the final document of the Synod, which was approved on Saturday. However, the Pope said, “the result of the Synod is not a document.” Rather, the Synod must “work in our hearts.” He continued, “the Spirit gives us the document to work in our hearts. We are the recipients of the document, not the people outside.” In order to for the document to work, he said, it is important “to pray with the document, study it, ask for light.”

Combat the Great Accuser with prayer and penance

Finally, the Pope said “I think of our Mother, Holy Mother Church.” The final document recognises that the Church is holy, even if we “Her children, are sinners.” Pope Francis said, the “Great Accuser” always takes advantage of our sins; and now, in particular, “he is accusing strongly, and this accusation becomes persecution.” That persecution, he explained, is not only the physical violence we see in some parts of the world, but also accusations designed to smear the Church. Although individual Catholics are dirty, the Church is not – and for this reason, the Pope said, “it is time to defend our Mother; and our Mother is defended against the Great Accuser with prayer and penance.” That, he said, is why he requested the faithful to pray the Rosary, and to pray to Saint Michael throughout the month of October. “It is a difficult moment,” the Pope said, “because the accuser attacks our Mother [the Church] through us, and the Church is not touched. I wanted to say this ‘from the heart’ at the end of the Synod.”

Pope Francis concluded, “Now, the Holy Spirit gives you this document for all of us, and also for me, to reflect on what He wants to say to us. Thank you very much; thank you, everyone!”

28 October 2018, 12:18