At synod close, Pope Francis warns against ‘idolatry disguised as spirituality’
Pope Francis holds his crosier during Mass marking the end of the first session of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops on synodality in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Oct. 29, 2023. ROY LAGARDE
By Roy Lagarde
October 29, 2023
VATICAN— Pope Francis has spoken out against what he called ‘idolatry disguised as spirituality’ at the closing Mass of the first Rome session of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality.
Speaking before the hundreds of synod delegates and about 5,000 people who packed St. Peter’s Basilica, he emphasized the importance of being a Church that serves all people and avoiding “self-centerdness”.
“We must constantly struggle against all types of idolatry; not only the worldly kinds… but also those forms of idolatry disguised as spirituality: my own religious ideas, my own pastoral skills,” the pope said in his homily.
“Let us be vigilant, lest we find that we are putting ourselves at the center rather than Him,” he said.
The Church, according to him, needs to be the “servant of all,” especially of “the least of our brothers and sisters”.
“This is the Church we are called to ‘dream,’ he said. “A Church with open doors that is a haven of mercy,” he said.
The Mass began with non-ordained synod delegates processed into the basilica before the bishops and cardinals, emphasizing a church that is more about its flock than a hierarchy.
The month-long synod marked the first time laypeople and women religious have voted on specific proposals on how to become a more “synodal church” alongside bishops.
Out of the total 364 members, about 25 percent were “non-bishop members,” and 54 of them were women.
The pope said that while there may be plenty of ideas to reform the Church, he reminded the faithful that “to adore God and to love our brothers and sisters with His love” is the “great and perennial reform”.
“To be a worshiping Church and a Church of service, washing the feet of wounded humanity, accompanying those who are frail, weak and cast aside, going out lovingly to encounter the poor,” he said.
Presided by Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Synod, the liturgical celebration marked the conclusion of the synodal assembly until its next and final meeting in October 2024.
While it may be too early the to see the fruit of the “listening and dialogue”, the 86-year-old pontiff stressed that “with farsightedness we look to the horizon opening before us”.
“The Lord will guide us and help us to be a more synodal and missionary Church, a Church that adores God and serves the women and men of our time, going forth to bring to everyone the consoling joy of the Gospel,” the pope added.
“In expressing my gratitude, I would also like to offer a prayer for all of us: may we grow in our worship of God and in our service to our neighbour,” he also said.
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