Pope Francis asks Catholic leaders not to politicize synod on the family

(Photo: REUTERS / Andreas Solaro / Pool)Pope Francis greets cardinals during an audience for Christmas greetings to the Curia in the Clementina hall at the Vatican December 22, 2014.

Pope Francis opened a Synod on the Family by reminding Catholic Church leaders the meeting is not a political convention but a journey on openness and "apostolic courage" leading people to the truth.

"The synod is not a conference or a parlor, nor is it a parliament or a senate where we come to an agreement," said the pontiff on the first day of the meeting on Oct. 5.

Rather, said Francis it is the Church journeying together "to interpret reality with the eyes of faith and the heart of God," Catholic News Agency reported.

The Holy See semed to intimate it had been ambushed after Vatican official Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa's declaration in an interview on the eve of the meeting disclosing he is gay and has a boyfriend.

This year's Synod on the Family, runs from Oct. 4-25 in Rome and it is the second and larger of two such gatherings to take place in 2015 at which the impact of issues such as divorce and homosexuality have on traditional families will be discussed.

Charamsa's interview resulted in him getting fired and the issue stole the headlines before the synod, but the Holy See said the dismissal was not because he is gay, but due to the timing of his coming out.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued a statement after the discloures in the newspaper.

"Notwithstanding the respect warranted to the events and personal situations and reflections on the issue - the choice to make such a pointed statement on the vigil of the Synod's opening seems very serious and irresponsible, since it seeks to impose on the Synodal assembly undue media pressure.

"Monsignor Charamsa will not be able to continue performing his previous duties at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Universities, whereas other aspects of his situation are under the competence of his diocesan ordinary."

The CDF is responsible for appointing theologians to the International Theological Commission.

In his opening synod address Pope Francis reminded those present of the collegiality of the meeting.

"The Synod, as we know, is a journey undertaken together in the spirit of collegiality and synodality, on which participants bravely adopt parrhesia, pastoral zeal and doctrinal wisdom, frankness, and always keep before our eyes the good of the Church, of families and the suprema lex, the Salus animarum," said Francis.

"I should mention that the Synod is neither a convention, nor a parlor, nor a parliament or senate, where people make deals and reach compromises. The Synod is rather an Ecclesial expression.

The examination of faith at the synod, said Francis, "does not represent for the Church a museum to view, nor even something merely to safeguard, but is a living source from which the Church shall drink, to satisfy the thirst of, and illuminate, the deposit of life."

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