VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington said the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family came to a "real consensus" after two weeks of animated debate, and that its final report will serve as a solid basis for the world synod on the family in 2015.

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VATICAN CITY - Even before the start of the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, observers were likening it to the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65.

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Pope Francis and senior Catholic leaders wrapped up their two-week Vatican summit on the challenges of modern family life on Oct. 19. They addressed a number of contentious issues. So where does that leave Francis’ papacy? And the Church? Here are six takeaways: 

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VATICAN CITY - Beatifying Blessed Paul VI at the concluding Mass of the Synod of Bishops on the family, Pope Francis praised the late pope as the "great helmsman" of the Second Vatican Council and founder of the synod, as well as a "humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his church."

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VATICAN CITY - After several days of animated debate over its official midterm report, the Synod of Bishops on the family agreed on a final document more clearly grounded in traditional Catholic teaching. Yet the assembly failed to reach consensus on especially controversial questions of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and the pastoral care of homosexuals.

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More than 190 bishops and 60 experts have begun a worldwide conversation about how we live our lives, how we love, how all we are and hope to be continues from generation to generation, from hope to glory, from heart to heart. Now, the bishops say, it’s over to you. 

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VATICAN CITY - On its last day of business, the Synod of Bishops on the family approved and released a three-page message expressing solidarity with Christian families around the world.

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VATICAN CITY - Cardinal George Pell said working-group reports from the Synod of Bishops on the family finally give a true picture of the assembly's views, counteracting what he characterized as a misleading midterm report.

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VATICAN CITY - The extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family must put greater focus on the beauty of the Christian vision of marriage and not let an approach of "welcoming" and mercy override the Church's duty to call people to turn away from sin, according to a number of reports from the Synod's small groups.

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VATICAN CITY - The tug-of-war at the Vatican over calls for the Catholic Church to be more open to gays and cohabiting couples intensified Oct. 16 as conservative bishops sought to rein in or renounce draft language they feared might condone lifestyles not in accord with Church teachings.

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VATICAN CITY - Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, one of the Catholic Church's best known cardinal-theologians, said the Catholic Church must hold together truth and mercy, even if it is criticized for its attempt.

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VATICAN CITY - Upholding the Christian ideal of marriage and family life while also reaching out to those whose lives do not reflect that ideal is a pastoral challenge faced by all Christian communities, said the Anglican representative to the Synod of Bishops.

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VATICAN CITY - U.S. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said he hoped the final report of the Synod of Bishops on the family would improve on the assembly's midterm report in celebrating exemplary families, encouraging missionary outreach and emphasizing that the Church's pastoral efforts must be grounded in Scripture and Catholic teaching.

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The world has waited almost 50 years for the day, but is it on the horizon? 

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VATICAN CITY - The official midterm report from the Synod of Bishops, which uses strikingly conciliatory language toward divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and same-sex unions, has proven highly controversial inside and outside the synod hall, with some synod fathers saying it does not accurately reflect the assembly's views.

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