VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis announced he is establishing a new office for laity, family and life, which combines the responsibilities of two pontifical councils.

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Inside the Synod hall, things look very different from media reports about conservatives debating liberals over communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, said theologian and Synod auditor Moira McQueen.

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VATICAN CITY - Observers told the Synod of Bishops on the Family to discourage Christian women from marrying Muslim men, urge priests not to tell women to return to abusive husbands, share the truth of Church teaching about marriage and embrace single mothers who are alienated from the Church.

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ROME - The eight American bishops taking part in the Synod on family life stay at a huge seminary built high on a hill overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica and the rest of the Eternal City. It’s a lovely place with spacious apartments for each bishop and any amenity they might need.

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For Fr. Gilles Routhier, one of the world’s leading historians of the Second Vatican Council, watching the Synod unfold in Rome is more exciting than any Game 7 in any sport you care to name.

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VATICAN CITY - As members of the Synod of Bishops concluded work on the second of three chapters in their working document, they continued to call for a tone and for language that is clear, simple and encourages people to see it is possible to live the vocation of marriage and family life.

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VATICAN CITY - Gathered with a worldwide representation of bishops, including patriarchs and other bishops from the Middle East, Pope Francis dedicated the morning prayer of the Synod of Bishops on the family to pleas for peace in the Middle East.

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OTTAWA - A popular American psychologist and author told an Ottawa audience he hopes bishops attending this month’s Synod on the Family in Rome will address the importance of strong fathers in the family.

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VATICAN CITY - Greater emphasis on small-group discussions and incorporating that work into the Synod's final draft document is helping alleviate any suspicion of the Synod being manipulated, said one of the four Synod presidents.

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VATICAN CITY - Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, said the synod should reflect on the possibility of allowing for female deacons as it seeks ways to open up more opportunities for women in church life.

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The front of St. Peter’s Basilica was lined with green and scarlet as the Synod Fathers gathered around the altar for the opening mass of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family on Sunday presided over by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

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VATICAN CITY  — In a world filled with challenges to marriage and family life, the Catholic Church is called “to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love,” Pope Francis said at the Mass opening the world Synod of Bishops on the family.

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For the fourth time since 2008, I will spend a good part of the month of October in an “upper room” at the Vatican, seated among the fathers (elders) — and several “mothers” — of the Church listening to people who love the Church and care about her future. Presiding over the important gathering known as a “Synod” is the Bishop of Rome, also known as Vicar of Christ, Successor of St. Peter or simply: “the Pope.”

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MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - The Church must rediscover its role in helping and supporting families at this fall’s Synod on the Family, one of the leading Asian cardinals told The Catholic Register.

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TORONTO - Robert Mickens is expecting Pope Francis to “rattle cages” during the Synod of Bishops on the Family by challenging the world’s bishops to face and address the problems within the Church.

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