Catholic church must listen to beat of this age, Pope Francis tells bishops | World news | The Guardian
“Synod gatherings are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent,” he said, in remarks interpreted by some as a criticism of cardinals who have been publicly sparring with each other in recent weeks over whether remarried divorcees should be allowed Holy Communion.
At a prayer vigil on Saturday evening, Francis said that only by paying close attention and understanding real people’s lives would the church earn credibility on issues which he did not name but which are thought to include cohabitation, second marriages and gay relationships.
“We must lend our ears to the beat of this era and detect the scent of people today, so as to be permeated by their joys and hopes, by their sadness and distress, at which time we will know how to propose the good news of the family with credibility,” he said in his address, heard by tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square.
Since his election last March, the reform-minded Argentinian pope has repeatedly made clear his irritation with priests and prelates who focus on “small-minded rules” at the expense of human beings grappling with real-life dilemmas. He has even warned that unless the church finds a new balance between adherence to doctrine and pastoral care, “the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards”.