The 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops opened in the Vatican, whose work will end at the end of October 2023.
Pope Francis also opened to listen to lay people and exponents of civil society: among them some members of the "United States of the World" and the "Fondazione Mediterraneo".
"The Synod is neither a parliament nor a customs". The Pope repeated this several times during the Mass that opened the Synod of Bishops on St. Francis Day, 4 October, with the participation with voting rights of other members of the People of God. And in the afternoon he reiterated this in his address to the synod fathers gathered in the Paul VI Hall.
Pope Francis insisted that one should not look at this assembly as a place of confrontation on this or that issue ("open certain doors," he added in passing), but as a walk together to listen to God. "We are at the opening of the Synodal Assembly," he recalled, "and we do not need an immanent gaze, made up of human strategies, political calculations or ideological battles. "We are not here to conduct a parliamentary meeting or a reform plan. No. We are here to walk together with the gaze of Jesus, who blesses the Father and welcomes all those who are weary and oppressed. Let us therefore start from the gaze of Jesus, which is a blessing and welcoming gaze".