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In communion and with frankness

· ​In the concluding Mass, the Pope makes a preliminary assessment of the work of the Synod of Bishops dedicated to the youth ·

“We have worked in communion, with frankness and the desire to serve God’s people”. With these words, Pope Francis made an initial assessment of the Synod of Bishops for the Young People, which opened on 3 October and concluded, more than three weeks later, on 28 October, with Mass in the Basilica.

In his homily, the Pope reaffirmed the Church’s desire to listen to young people “with love”, because, as he explained, “God is young and loves young people”. He invited all to ask for “the grace of a heart that listens”, then, addressing the young people directly, asked them to “forgive us if often we have not listened to you” when, “instead of opening our hearts, we have filled your ears”.

The Pope spoke of a second attitude; that of “closeness”. He clarified what “bringing the newness of God into the lives of our brothers and sisters” means, speaking of it as the “antidote to the temptation of easy answers and fast fixes”, avoiding the extremes of doctrinalism and activism. He reminded us that “we want to imitate Jesus and, like him, to dirty our hands”, and become “bringers of new life”.

Finally, the Pope urged all to bear witness, recalling that “It is not Christian to expect that our brothers and sisters who are seekers should have to knock on our doors; we ought to go out to them”, bringing with us Jesus and not “ourselves, our own “recipes” and “labels” into the Church”.

In the Angelus as well, pronounced at the end of the celebration, the Pope spoke of the synodal experience, defining it as “a time of consolation and hope”, marked by listening and “community discernment”. Following the Marian prayer in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope expressed his grief for the “inhuman act of violence” which took place in Pittsburgh’s synagogue.

Saturday afternoon, 27 October, during the last General Congregation of the Assembly, Pope Francis spoke at the end of the voting on the final document, whose text was approved by the large majority of the Fathers. He reaffirmed that the Synod is “a protected space for the Holy Spirit to act”, and assured that the text that emerged from the Fathers’ reflections would continue to be studied and reflected upon. The Pope also made an appeal for continued prayer and penitence to defend the Church from “persecution” and the “continuous accusations” to which She continues to be subject. Pope Francis recognized this, saying, “It is a difficult moment, because the accuser, attacking us, attacks the Mother, but the Mother is not to be touched”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 20, 2018

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