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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis kicked off his much-talked-up 2021–2023 Synod on Synodality, attacking the tendency to adopt "old solutions" and calling for a "Church of listening," as violent clashes against Italy's medical tyranny erupted in Rome.
Speaking on the synod's theme — "For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission" — on Saturday, the pontiff quoted liberal French theologian Fr. Yves Congar urging, "We must not make another Church, we must make a different Church."
In a veiled swipe at traditionalists, Francis slammed the slogan "Things have always been done this way," calling it "a poison in the life of the Church."
"The people who do this make the mistake of not taking seriously the zeitgeist [spirit of the age], which risks adopting old solutions for new problems," the pope said, insisting that the Church should be "an open place, where everyone feels at home and can participate."
Francis ended his reflection, praying that the Holy Spirit would "arouse new languages and put words of life on our lips, preserve us from becoming a museum Church, beautiful but silent, with so much past and little future."
On Sunday, Francis celebrated Holy Mass formally inaugurating the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, reflecting on encounter, listening and discernment as "three verbs that characterize this synod."
Preaching on Mark's Gospel reading of the rich man who asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life, Francis repeated his negation of the slogan: "We have always done it this way."
Instead, "Jesus first encounters the rich man on the road, he then listens to his questions and, finally, he helps him discern what he must do to inherit eternal life," the pope preached. [Emphasis added.]
"We, too, are called to become experts in the art of encounter," Francis exhorted. "This is how God so often points out new paths and invites us to leave our old habits behind."
"Jesus listened to the [rich] man's question and to the religious and existential concerns that lay behind it. He did not give a noncommittal reply or offer a prepackaged solution. ... Let us ask, in the Church, Are we good at listening?" Francis asked.
The pope ended his homily by noting that Jesus helped the rich man discern by dialogue and by discovering that "he cannot attain happiness by filling his life with more religious observances, but by emptying himself, selling whatever takes up space in his heart, in order to make room for God."
Meanwhile, Italian police attacked mostly peaceful demonstrators Saturday afternoon with water cannons, tear gas and batons as over 100,000 Romans gathered at the Piazza del Popolo to protest the Italian government's draconian crackdown on workers' rights.
Police in full riot gear outside Prime Minister Mario Draghi's official residence at Chigi Palace brutally beat up protesters who were standing with raised hands to indicate their nonviolent stance.
Italian novelist Elisabetta Sala excoriated Pope Francis' "total lack of self-awareness in pontificating on synodality" while "ignoring the cry of ordinary Italian workers as 'bishop of Rome.'"
Sala, author of Elizabeth the Bloody: The Creation of a Myth, the Persecution of a People, told Church Militant:
The children ask the Holy Father for bread; he gives them a snake — more platitudes of listening, accompaniment, discernment. Francis asks us to listen. But he listens only to globalist quasi-dictators in the corridors of power while turning He turns a deaf ear to the crowds on his doorstep fighting tyranny.
Francis accompanies baby-killers like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, not those like Cdl. Zen fighting communist despotism. He is unable to discern the siren call of Big Pharma killing hundreds of thousands through the experimental vaccine from the prophetic voices of truth-tellers like mRNA vaccine technology inventor Dr. Robert Malone.
"There could be no better illustration of how remote and removed the pope is from the common person than the synod held in an echo chamber," said Sala, whose novel L'esecuzione Della Giustizia (The Execution of Justice) is due for release in English by Gondolin Press.
While Francis met self-identified Catholic and pro-abortion speaker of the United States House of Representatives Saturday, he has displayed no support for the workers' protests which come days before Italy imposes a health passport as a precondition to entering a workplace.
The Green Pass shows that a person has been vaccinated, recovered from the virus in the last six months or has tested negative in the last 48 hours.
Mainstream media and globalist politicians smeared ordinary Italian workers participating in the protests as being "extreme right-wing" and "fascists."
It is "evident that neo-fascist groups hide behind the so-called anti-vaxxers," Interior Ministry Undersecretary Carlo Sibilia said.
A small group of protestors stormed the headquarters of the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL) — a left-wing trade union formed by agreement between socialists, communists and Christian democrats in the Pact of Rome of June 1944.
CGIL leader Maurizio Landini denounced the protest as "an act of fascist thuggery, an attack on democracy and on the world of work." "No one should think that they can return our country to its fascist past," he declared.
CGIL provoked outrage after betraying its workers' rights on forced vaccination and capitulating to the Italian-government mandate on the health pass.
Jesuit-trained Draghi, who is reported to be an ally of Pope Francis, vowed to stamp out opposition to the government's vaccination campaign.
"The right to demonstrate one's ideas can never degenerate into acts of aggression and intimidation," Draghi said, denouncing intimidation against unions, whom he described as "a fundamental garrison of democracy."
Rome police on Sunday said they arrested 12 people, including two leaders of the Forza Nuova party, Giuliano Castellino and Roberto Fiore, who were present during Saturday's protests.