Vatican City, Nov 2, 2023 / 13:35 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis answered two questions about the Synod on Synodality, including on the topic of homosexuality, in an interview with Italian state television RAI on Wednesday.
Asked about the synod assembly’s discussion of homosexuality, Pope Francis said: “When I say ‘everyone, everyone, everyone,’ [I’m speaking about] people. The Church receives people. Everyone. And it does not ask how you are. Then, inside, everyone grows, but from a Christian belonging.”
“It’s true that today it’s a bit ‘fashionable’ to talk about [homosexuality],” he continued. “The Church receives everyone. Another thing is when there are organizations that want to enter. The principle is this: The Church receives all those who can be baptized. Organizations cannot be baptized. People can.”
The pope’s comments were aired in a 40-minute special on the “Tg1” news program Nov. 1.
Francis said the result of the first part of the Synod on Synodality, which met at the Vatican Oct. 4–29, “is positive.”
“Everything was talked about with total freedom — and that’s a good thing,” he said. The pope also said the synthesis report issued at the end of the monthlong gathering “needs to be studied” before the next synod meeting in October 2024.
“I believe that we have arrived precisely at that exercise of synodality that St. Paul VI wanted at the end of the [Second Vatican] Council because he realized that the Western Church had lost the synodal dimension that the Eastern Church has instead,” Francis added.
The latest papal interview also included Pope Francis’ confirmation that he will travel to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, Dec. 1–3, during the start of the COP28 climate change conference.
He also spoke about war, immigration, women deacons, and his health.
On the topic of priestly celibacy, the pope reaffirmed that the discipline can be changed but said he does not think eliminating mandatory priestly celibacy in the Latin Church would do anything to help solve priest shortages.
Pope Francis also praised Pope Benedict XVI’s efforts to combat clerical sexual abuse.
“A lot of cleaning was done in this,” he said. “Pope Ratzinger was courageous in this. He took that problem into his own hands and took many steps and then handed it over to me to finish. This goes on.”