Pope Francis has closed an assembly of Catholic bishops that revealed deep divisions on how to respond to homosexuality and divorce, saying on Sunday the Church should not be afraid of change and new challenges.
Francis, who has said he wants a more merciful and less rigid Church, made his comments in a sermon to some 70,000 people in St. Peter’s Square for the ceremonial closing of a two-week assembly, known as a synod.
The working session of the gathering ended on Saturday night with a final document that reversed a historic acceptance of gays by the Church made just a week earlier — a result some progressives see as a setback for Francis.
“God is not afraid of new things. That is why he is continuously surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways,” the pope said.