Audience with the bishops of the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church
2nd August 2019
At 11.30 this morning, in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the bishops of the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, which began this morning in Rome, on the theme “Communion in the life and witness of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church”.
The following is the Pope’s greeting to those present:
Greeting of the Holy Father
There is no speech, since in that meeting we had [in the Vatican, 5th July 2019] the Pope said everything he had to say.
But you emphasized something we must not lose: synod and synodality, and the Holy Spirit. I say this not to publicize, but in the last issue of “L’Osservatore Romano”, the one with Sunday’s date, issued on Saturday, there is a beautiful article on the presence of the Holy Spirit on the synod path. Because there is a danger: believing, today, that making a synodal journey or having an attitude of synodality means carrying out an inquiry on opinions, what this or that person thinks, and then having a meeting, agreeing … No, the Synod is not a Parliament! Things must be said, discussed as is normally done, but it is not a Parliament. The Synod is not an agreement as in politics: I give you this, you give me that. No. The Synod is not about making sociological inquiries, as some would believe: “Let’s see, we’ll ask a group of laypeople to make an inquiry, to find out if we have to change this, this and this …”. You certainly need to know what your laypeople think, but it is not an inquiry, it is something else. If there is no Holy Spirit, there is no Synod. If the Holy Spirit is not present, there is no synodality. Or rather, if there is no Church, the identity of the Church. And what is the identity of the Church? Saint Paul VI said it clearly: the vocation of the Church is to evangelize, indeed: her identity is to evangelize. Enter this Synod of yours with this spirit, with the Holy Spirit. Pray to the Spirit. Quarrel among yourselves, all you want … Think of Ephesus, how they fought! But they were good … And in the end it was the Spirit that led them to say: “Mary, Mother of God”. This is the way. It is the Spirit. Because we do not want to become a Congregational Church, but rather a synodal Church. And to progress on this road.
Now I invite you to pray to Our Lady, all together, to receive the blessing.
Hail Mary …