October 2018: Pope gathers bishops from all over the world to talk about youth

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In early October, the pope inaugurated the synod, which is a gathering of bishops from around the world. Over the course of three weeks, more than 250 representatives exchanged ideas on how to propose faith to young people in a more effective way. For the first time in history, bishops from China participated, which emotionally touched the pope. 

“Today, for the first time, two brother bishops from Mainland China are here with us. Let us give them a warm welcome. Thanks to their presence, the communion of the whole Episcopate with the Successor of Peter is even more visible.”

During the first meeting, the pope asked for concrete pastoral proposals and above all, that they listen to the young people and take them seriously. 

“A Church that doesn't listen is closed to novelty, closed to God's surprises, and cannot be credible, especially for young people who, inevitably, will go away instead of approaching.”

In October, there were two important new developments regarding the McCarrick case. 

1) First, the pope ordered an examination of all the documentation in the Vatican related to the former Cardinal McCarrick, to clarify how a person with a double life managed to avoid all the filters.

2) Second, Marc Ouellet, the cardinal in charge of appointing bishops, clarified why McCarrick hadn't been punished. He assures that “there was not enough evidence” and that “he knew how to defend himself very skillfully against suspicions.”

The ceremony with the most pilgrims this year was the canonization of Paul VI and Monsignor Oscar Romero.

“We declare and define saints and inscribe them in the Book of Saints.”

“Come, do not stand still, for to be Jesus' is not enough to do nothing wrong.”

Despite this month's intense agenda, the pope found time to meet with the imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar University, the main reference for the Sunni Muslim world. 

“I welcome you and I am happy.”

“God bless you.”

The most important visit was this one with the president of South Korea, in which he discussed reconciliation with the North. In fact, Moon Jae-in brought him a special message from the leader of North Korea: an invitation to visit his country.

At the end of the month, the synod concluded. The participants presented a list of proposals to the pope and asked him to use them to prepare a magisterial document. 

The pope closed the synod with a Mass in which he asked for forgiveness from the young people for the times when the Church hasn't listened to them.

“I would like to ask the youth, in the name of us adults, to forgive us if we have not often listened to you. If, instead of opening your hearts, we have filled your ears.”

The month ended with good news. The Court of Pakistan withdrew the death sentence from the case of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman accused of blaspheming Muhammad. She had been in prison since 2010.

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