On his in-flight press conference returning from Mongolia on Monday, Pope Francis outlined his vision for the upcoming synodal assembly in October, which he said should be a prayerful exercise in dialogue free from ideology, not full of “political chatter” like a television talk show.
Pope Francis was peppered with multiple questions about the Synod on Synodality from journalists traveling with him on the 10-hour flight from Ulaanbaatar to Rome on Sept. 4.
“In the synod, there is no place for ideology,” Pope Francis told journalists on the chartered ITA Airways plane.
“There is no place for ideology, but there is room for dialogue, for an exchange between brothers and sisters,” he added.
Pope Francis emphasized the unique spiritual dimension of the first global Synod on Synodality assembly taking place at the Vatican Oct. 4–28. He said that he wants it to be “a religious moment.”
He highlighted how the synodal assembly should have three to four minutes of silent prayer between discussions, noting that this prayerful atmosphere should be what distinguishes a synodal assembly from “parliamentarianism.”
“Without this spirit of prayer, there is no synodality,” the pope said.
“There is one thing that we have to keep — ‘the synodal atmosphere,’” Francis added…
… Pope Francis was asked about a recently published book with a preface by U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke that compared the Synod on Synodality to opening “Pandora’s box.”
In response, Francis recalled how some religious sisters had also expressed to him their fears about the synod, telling him that they feared changes to Church doctrine.
Pope Francis said that at the root of these types of ideas about synodality, one always finds “ideologies,” adding that it is ideologies that are responsible for dividing the faithful.
He explained that “a ‘doctrine’ in quotation marks” is a doctrine that is like “distilled water,” without any taste and is not true Catholic doctrine.
“Many times true Catholic doctrine scandalizes — how scandalous is the idea that God became flesh, that God became man, that Our Lady preserved her virginity. This scandalizes,” the pope said.
“Catholic doctrine sometimes scandalizes. Ideologies are all ‘distilled’ and never scandalize.”