On the flight back from Canada, the Pope commented, "On the 'Synodal Way,' I wrote a letter, and I wrote it alone. After a month of prayer, reflection, and consultations. I said everything I had to say on the 'Synodal Way.' I do not want to say more."
Francis continued, "This is the papal magisterium on the 'Synodal Way.'"
He said he had bypassed the Curia with the letter at the time, as a shepherd of a Church seeking a way, as a brother, father, and believer. "And this is my message. I know it is not easy, but it is all in this letter."
In the letter, the pope explained that reforms are about building up the people of God "instead of looking for immediate results with hasty (...) consequences that are fleeting because of a lack of deepening and maturation or because they do not correspond to the vocation that is given to us."
In addition, in light of the "erosion" and "decline of faith" in Germany, the pope called the faithful to conversion, prayer, and fasting — and he urged them to proclaim the Gospel.
That is the first and proper mission of the Church, thus must also be the goal of a "synodal journey," the pontiff exhorted in his historic letter.
He warned against "modernization" that was independent of the mission of the Church. He also warned of “reforms” that do not have evangelization and the revival of the sacraments as their goal.
"God deliver us from a worldly Church under spiritual or pastoral draperies! This suffocating worldliness undergoes healing when one tastes the pure air of the Holy Spirit, who frees us from revolving around ourselves, hidden in a religious pretense above godless emptiness," the pope told German Catholics in 2019.
On July 30, 2022, the pope concluded a week-long trip to Canada in which he traveled to Edmonton, Québec, and Iqaluit on what he called a “penitential pilgrimage” to apologize to the country’s indigenous communities.
AC Wimmer is founding Editor-in-Chief of CNA Deutsch. A former senior executive with public broadcaster SBS and graduate of the University of Melbourne and Monash University (Australia), he has worked as a journalist across the globe. Before joining EWTN News, the Australian with Bavarian roots was Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Munich.