, 26 October, 2019 / 7:10 PM
In his closing remarks for the Amazon synod Saturday, Pope Francis urged the media not to give undue attention to aspects of the assembly's final report addressing Church discipline while ignoring the assembly’s “diagnoses” of cultural, social, pastoral and ecological issues in the Pan-Amazonian region.
It’s “in small disciplinary things, which have their significance but that would not do the good that this synod has to do,” he said Oct. 26, "that society takes care of the diagnosis we have made in the four dimensions.”
"There is always a group of elite Christians who like to take up this kind of diagnosis as if they were universal," he continued, "however small, or in this kind of more inter-ecclesiastical disciplinary resolutions."
There is a danger, the pope said Oct. 26, of only looking to see “what they decided on this disciplinary issue, what they decided on another, making of the world who won this game, lost this…”
"No, we all win with the diagnoses we made and as far as we arrive in the pastoral and inter-ecclesiastical issues, but don't get locked in on that."
“Thinking today about these Catholic and Christian elites sometimes, but especially Catholics who want to go to the little things and forget the big things, I remembered a phrase from Péguy and went to look for it, I try to translate it well, I think it can help when describing these groups that want the little thing and forget about the thing: 'Because they don't have the courage to be with the world, they believe they are with God. Because they don't have the courage to compromise on man's options, on man's life options, they believe they are fighting for God. Because they don't love anyone, they believe they love God,’” said the Holy Father.
The Vatican synod hall responded to the pope’s remark with long applause.
Pope Francis spoke inside the synod hall at the end of the final session of the Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonian Region, which will officially end with a closing Mass Oct. 27.
During the session, the Amazon synod's final report was presented, and voted on paragraph by paragraph by the 185 synod members.
In his remarks, Pope Francis said, based on a request in the final report, he will re-open the Church's study of the possibility of women deacons.
He said he will re-open his 2016 commission on the study of the possibility of having a female diaconate, possibly adding new members and having it operate within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He noted that the commission ended its work without a consensus on the topic, but he had heard the request by some on this topic and would "pick up the gauntlet."
In May, the pope said the commission he opened in August 2016 to study the possibility of a female diaconate, with or without the sacrament of ordination, had been unable to reach a consensus, though further study would continue to take place.
In his speech, Francis noted that there were three issues which are ideas for the "next synod" and received a majority of votes, one of which is synodality.
"I do not know if that will be chosen or not, I have not yet decided, I am reflecting and thinking," he said. "But I can certainly say that we have walked a lot and we have to walk more on this path of synodality. Thank you very must for this company."
He said he would like to write a post-synodal exhortation on the Amazon synod "before the end of the year so that not much time passes," adding that "it all depends on the time you have to think."
Francis praised tradition as not a "museum of old things," but "safeguarding the future."
In his speech, he also praised another proposal he had received, that young priests who are studying to enter the Holy See's diplomatic corps could first spend one year serving alongside a bishop in a mission territory.
The creation of an "Amazonian rite" of liturgy, the pope said, would fall under the competency of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
He proposed the creation of a regional bishops' group for the Amazon and said he would ask Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, to open a new section on the Amazon within his Vatican department.
He said the main dimension of the synod, which includes everyone, is the proclamation of the Gospel. This is the "pastoral dimension," he said. "But that is understood, that is assimilated, that is understood by those cultures."
"And there was talk of how lay people, priests, permanent deacons, religious men and women have to point to that point, and they talked about what they do and to strengthen that."
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa