Francis also told participants there should be “a certain fasting from the public word” during the synod.
Addressing the media, he recalled “pressure” at the 2019 Amazon Synod for the ordination of married men to the priesthood, so-called “viri probati,” and the “public opinion” at the two synods on the family about allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive holy Communion.
“Now, there are hypotheses about this synod,” he added. “What will they do ... women priests. These are things they say outside.”
The session opened with the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours, which included a reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew for the memorial of St. Francis of Assisi.
Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak, one of 10 delegate presidents, gave the first speech of the day. Pope Francis’ remarks were followed by speeches from synod Secretary General Cardinal Mario Grech and synod Relator General Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich.
In the morning, Pope Francis celebrated the opening Mass of the synod in St. Peter’s Square.
On Oct. 5, the synod will proceed with small-group discussions, called “conversation in the Spirit.”
Reading a quote from St. Basil included in a collection of patristic texts he chose to share with synod participants, the pope recalled the importance of harmony.
The great work of the Holy Spirit is harmony, he said, adding that “if there’s no harmony, there’s no Holy Spirit.”