VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis opened a month-long worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops Oct. 3 by exhorting the hundreds of prelates taking part to guard against "falling into moralistic or elitist postures" as they discuss the needs of young people today.
During his homily for the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops, which will continue through Oct. 28, the pontiff also asked the prelates to listen to one another "sincerely and prayerfully, as free as possible from prejudice and conditioning."
Francis said the bishops should seek "to enter into communion with the diverse situations that the People of God experience." Such a venture, he said, "protects us from the lure of abstract ideologies that never touch the realities of our people."
"Hope challenges us, moves us and shatters that conformism which says, 'it's always been done like this,'" said the pope. "Hope asks us to get up and look directly into the eyes of young people and see their situations."