He told those gathered that this meeting was, “weighed down by the weight of pastoral and ecclesial responsibility which obliges us to discuss together, in a synodal, sincere and profound way, how to deal with this evil which afflicts the Church and humanity.”
Pope Francis noted that, “the Holy People of God look to us and expect from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be prepared”.
“Let us therefore”, he commented, “begin our journey armed with faith and the spirit of maximum parresia [frankness], courage and concreteness.”
As a help, the Pope said, he wanted to share with them “some important criteria formulated by the various Commissions and Episcopal Conferences… They are guidelines to help our reflection which will be handed over to you. They are a simple starting point, which comes from you and returns to you, and does not take away from the creativity that must be present in this meeting.”
Concluding his remarks, Pope Francis thanked, “the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the members of the Organizing Committee for the excellent work done with great commitment in preparing this meeting.”
Finally, he asked the Holy Spirit to support all those gathered in the Synod Hall “in these days and to help us transform this evil into an opportunity for awareness and purification. May the Virgin Mary enlighten us to try to heal the serious wounds that the scandal of paedophilia has caused both to children and to believers.”