Pope Francis: 'God is not afraid of new things'

VATICAN-POPE-VALENTINEPope Francis has urged the Catholic church to avoid "hostile rigidity" and be more open to change. His comments follow the rejection of changes to the church's view on homosexuality, which saw bishops backtrack on a recent pro-gay statement - read more here. Over 200 bishops from around the world have spent th epast fortnight discussing the religion's attitudes towards issues it finds problematic, including divorce, contraception and gay marriage. Closing the assembly, Pope Francis said: "God is not afraid of new things. That is why he is continuously surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways." He also encouraged bishops "to respond courageously to whatever new challenges come our way", but did warn those seeking change to avoid "destructive good will". The bishops will reconvene in October 2015 to discuss the issues once again, following a year of local debate. > Pope Francis: ‘Gay civil unions may be acceptable’