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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VATICAN CITY - Marking the 50th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis outlined his vision for a church that is "synodal" at every level, with everyone listening to one another, learning from one another and taking responsibility for proclaiming the Gospel.

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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 - Canadians had a rather prominent role in the first week of the Synod on the Family. Two of the language- based discussion groups elected Canadians as their moderators — Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto for one of the English groups, and Cardinal Gerald Lacroix for one of the French.

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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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The Church must uphold “the objective truths of Sacred Scripture” in the face of a secular culture that poses a grave challenge to the Christian view of family, Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins told the Synod of Bishops meeting in the Vatican.

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VATICAN CITY - Tensions already roiling a high-level Vatican summit spilled into the open Oct. 12 with the publication of a letter allegedly sent to Pope Francis from 13 conservative cardinals warning of plots by progressives to hijack the proceedings.

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The first week of the Synod of Bishops on the family ended with near unanimous calls to be more positive in describing family life today and to show more appreciation for Catholic families living close to the church's ideals. But there were also widespread questions among synod participants about the work they are expected to produce.

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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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The Synod on the Family is not about communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, or how to reach out to gay Catholics, or even celibacy of priests. It’s about the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis reminded 318 delegates as they began closed door discussions on family issues.

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VATICAN CITY - Ghanaian Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle defended African bishops’ role in the Vatican’s meeting on family issues, stating they were not in Rome to block progress but to present their own views.

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VATICAN CITY - Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said the Synod on the family must recognize global diversity while staying true to Church doctrine.

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October 8, 2015

Synod’s challenge

Pope Francis has energized debate about the threat to the planet’s natural environment. But now he faces an even greater challenge — mobilizing Catholics and society in general to tackle the man-made threat to the bedrock of our social environment, 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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