Silvia Teresa Retamales Morales, an auditor at the Synod, said that  when young people heard she was coming to the Synod they told her that they wanted her to bring this message: they want a multi-cultural Church that is open to all, not a Church this is judgmental. They want a Church that makes everyone feel at home, a Church that reflects the message of Jesus Christ. She also said that young people say that the Church should not discriminate against minorities – especially people of different sexual orientations and the poor.

Gay people must be fully recognised as brothers and sisters that need to be accompanied by us. She said that this had been discussed in the Synod assembly. Young people also want women to be given a bigger role and responsibility in the Church.

Opportunity for a renewed mission

Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, the Jesuit Superior General, told a press conference held during the Synod  that the challenges presented by secularisation and the digital world should be seen as  an chance to renew the Church to proclaim the Gospel. Speaking about migration, Fr Sosa  said that migrants are people who are looking for a better life and our reaction to them shows just how inhumane we are becoming. He added that he was also shocked to see how much time refugees spend in camps, some most of their lives. Can you imagine what happens to young men and women who spend their lives in refugee camps, he asked.

Listening must move to action

Fr Marco Tasca OFM, the Franciscan General, said that the Church should offer people a different lifestyle just as was done by St Francis of Assisi. He recounted the story of a bishop who visited a family and was told off by a young man who described the bishop as fake. The bishop prayed the young person to help him not to be fake. Fr Tasca said that this is the meaning of the word listening: being open to what young people say, their style. He said that the Synod was taking place to build the Church, together. He said that the Synod must move from listening to conversation so that the Church can find its way. He said that sometimes it is “difficult to find dawn in twilight”.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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