Pope says Church must not be ‘choked’ by its sins as he opens synod

The Catholic Church must not be “choked or crushed’’ by its “own shortcomings, mistakes and sins,’’ Pope Francis said as he opened a month long meeting of Bishops on Wednesday.

Bishops from all over the world are convening at the Vatican for the Oct. 3 to 28 synod, called to discuss youth issues.

It is expected to tackle a recent spate in paedophile priest scandals.

Francis said he hoped Catholic teachings could be passed on to young people, without them being “choked or crushed by the prophets of doom and misfortune, by our own shortcomings, mistakes and sins’’.

Leading Mass in St Peter’s Square, the pope also gave “warm welcome’’ to two Chinese bishops, the first ever to attend a synod, who were invited after a landmark deal between the Vatican and China.

Earlier, Francis admitted that young people were being turned off by the Catholic Church because of sex abuse and financial scandals.

“Some of them expressly ask us to leave them alone, because they feel the Church’s presence as bothersome or even irritating,’’ the pontiff said during a visit to Estonia.

“They are outraged by sexual and economic scandals that do not meet with clear condemnation, by our unpreparedness to really appreciate the lives and sensibilities of the young,’’ he added.

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