“This Canadian experience is an example of a united episcopate. When an episcopate is united, then it can deal with the challenges that arise,” he said.
“Of course, there is no point hiding it, there are some who work against healing and reconciliation, in society as in the Church. Even last night I saw a small traditionalist group protesting, and saying that the Church is something else. … But that is the way things are,” he added.
The pope cautioned that “one of the worst enemies” of Church unity today is “ideology.”
Pope Francis spoke at length about “synodality” and shared a story about his experience participating in the Synod of Bishops in 2001 as a relator when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
A relator presents a summary of the topics that emerge during the synod discussion, as well as information and clarifying points for the synod’s final document.
Pope Francis recalled: “I remember that the opinions were collected and sent to the general secretariat. Then I gathered the material and prepared it for the vote. The secretary of the synod came to see me, read the material, and told me to remove this or that detail.”
“There were things he did not consider appropriate and he censored them. There was, in short, a pre-selection of material. There was little understanding of what a synod is. At the end of the last synod, in the survey on the topics to be dealt with in the next one, the first two were the priesthood and synodality.”
“I understood that it was necessary to reflect on the theology of synodality in order to make a decisive step forward,” he added.
Pope Francis said that he launched the two-year global consultation process leading to the 2023 synod on synodality to reiterate that “the Church is either synodal or it is not Church.”
“If you want to read the best book of theology on the synod, then re-read the Acts of the Apostles,” he said.
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Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.