A THIRD “LITTLE THING”
In off-the-cuff remarks to the synod plenary about 8 pm Saturday evening, at the end of a gruelling final day of work on the Final Document, Pope Francis spoke briefly.
He began: “I too have to say thank you to everyone. To Cardinal Baldisseri, Monsignor Fabene, the delegated presidents, speakers, the undersecretaries who I said had ‘left their skin’ in the preparatory document, now I believe that they leave the bones to us … thanks to the experts and we saw how we pass from a martyr text to the commission martyr, that of editorial staff, who has done so much effort so much penance have done this. Thanks to all of you, the listeners, and especially the young people who brought their music to the classroom – music is the diplomatic word to say noise.”
He then said he had “two little things to say”.
“First: to reiterate once more that the Synod is not a Parliament. It is a protected space for the Holy Spirit to implement. This is why the information that is given is general, and not the most particular things – the names, the way of saying things – which are those with which the Holy Spirit works in us … and this was a protected space … it was Spirit at work here.
“Second, the result of the Synod is not a document, we are full of documents. I do not know if this document out something, but yes I know what it must do in us, it must work in us. We have made the document, we have studied it, we have approved it. Now the Spirit gives us the document to work in our heart. We are the recipients of the document. Not people … For this document to work, to pray with the document, to study, to ask others for light, but it is mainly for us. We are the first recipients, there is the spirit that has done all this and returns to us. Do not forget that.”
Francis then added a third item:
“The third thing. I think of our Mother, the Holy Mother Church. The last three numbers (of the final document) on holiness show what the Church is, our mother is holy, but children are sinners. We are all sinners. And do not forget that expression of the fathers, the caste meretrix, the Holy Church, the Holy Mother with sinful children. And because of our sins, always the great accuser who takes advantage of the first chapter of Job turning, looking for who to accuse, in this moment he is accusing us and this accusation becomes persecution as well (…) the president of today says it, his persecuted people (…)and also becomes another type of persecution, constant accusations to dirty the Church. The Church does not get dirty. Yes children, we are all dirty, but Mother does not. Now is the time to defend the Mother, and the Mother defends herself from the great accuser with prayer and penance because of this I asked to pray the Rosary, to pray to St. Michael the Archangel (…) is a difficult time because the accuser through us attacks the Mother and you don’t touch the Mother.”
Some have seen this third item as a reference to the devil, to Satan, infiltrating the Church in a number of ways. Others saw this as a reference to the evils of the clerical sex abuse cases that have surfaced over the years, becoming especially painful after the Pennsylvania Report and the McCarrick case in the U.S.
And yet others saw this as a clear reference to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano whose three missives with accusations against those in the Vatican – even at the highest level – who knew about and covered up McCarrick, were seen as “attacks” on the Church.
Interesting to ponder as these were off-the-cuff remarks.