Pope says synod is not parliament, but place to listen to Holy Spirit

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October 5, 2015

Pope Francis waves as he leaves the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-SYNOD-OPEN Oct. 5, 2015.

Pope Francis waves as he leaves the opening session of the Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The world Synod of Bishops on the family is not a parliament where participants will negotiate or lobby, Pope Francis said, but it must be a place of prayer where bishops speak with courage and open themselves to “God who always surprises us.”

Opening the first working session of the synod Oct. 5, the pope said the synod’s 270 voting members need courage, “pastoral and doctrinal zeal, wisdom, frankness and to keep always before our eyes the good of the church and of families and the supreme law — the salvation of souls.”

Arriving about 15 minutes before the session began, Pope Francis welcomed to the synod hall the members, delegates from other Christian communities and the men and women who will serve as experts and observers.

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