“Fasting from the public word”: The unprecedented silence of the Synod

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10/10/2023
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During this Synod, Pope Francis has asked the participants to be more discreet, saying he does not want a repetition of previous assemblies. In those, the Pope believes the excessive media attention and public exposure of some participants diverted attention and damaged the atmosphere inside the synod.


POPE FRANCIS
With the Synod on the Family, there was public opinion—that came not from our worldliness—to give communion to divorcees and that is how we started the synod. With the Amazon Synod, there was public opinion and pressure to make viri probati. We started with this pressure. Now, there are some hypotheses about this Synod—but what are they going to do here: maybe female priesthood? I don't know, these things are said outside.


For the first time, the rules of procedure of the assembly state that the participants are bound to secrecy, both of their own words and of the words of others. It is an unprecedented decision of Francis' pontificate.


The Pope has been clear in his inaugural address to the Synod. He wants to the atmosphere in the assembly to be of prayer and fraternity as much as possible.


POPE FRANCIS
It takes an asceticism—I apologize to journalists for these words— but a certain fasting of the public word to guard this. And whatever is published, let it be in this environment.
Let us not forget, brothers and sisters, that the protagonist of the synod is not us. It is the Holy Spirit.


This was explained by the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication. Pope Francis wants the participants to speak less with the press and more among themselves. For this reason, at this Synod, contact with the press and with the outside world will be much more limited than on other occasions.


JRB
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