"It is a reciprocal listening in which everyone has something to learn," be they the faithful, the college of bishops, or the bishop of Rome himself.
"The Synod of Bishops is the point of convergence of this dynamism of listening conducted at all levels in the life of the Church."
Pope Francis added: "Through the Synod fathers, bishops act as authentic stewards, interpreters and witnesses of faith of the entire Church, who must be able to carefully distinguish the frequently changing public opinion."
Here, the Pope cited his words at the vigil held before the Synod, in which he reminded the synod fathers of the gift of listening to God in order to do his will.
That the Synod always acts both cum Petro et sub Petro (both with Peter and under Peter), "is not a limitation of freedom, but a guarantee of unity," the Pope said.
Citing the concept of "ierarchica communio" (hierarchical communion) adopted during Vatican II, he explained: "Bishops are joined with the Bishop of Rome by the bond of episcopal communion (cum Petro) and are at the same time are hierarchically subject to him who is the Head of the College (sub Petro)."
"Synodality, as a constitutive dimension of the Church, offers us the most appropriate interpretive framework for understanding the same hierarchical ministry," he said.
The Pope went on to explained how Jesus established the Church with the Apostolic College as its head, and Peter – the "rock" – serving as its base. He used the example of an "inverted pyramid," with the summit being at the base.
Pope Francis elaborated on the pontiff's place within the synodal Church.
"The Pope is not, by himself, above the Church; but (he is) within it as a baptized person among the baptized, and within the episcopal college as a bishop among bishops, called to at the same time – as the successor of the Apostle Peter – to guide the Church of Rome, which presides in love over all the Church."
Pope Francis concluded: "As a Church which 'walks together' with men, participating in the travails of history, cultivating the dream which is the rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and the function of authoritative service, can help even civil society establish itself, in justice and fraternity, generating a more beautiful world (which is) more worthy of man for generations which come after us."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Update 10/18/15: This story previously ran with the headline, "Pope Francis: A disciple's only power is the Cross."