VATICAN CITY - A momentous and divided gathering of global bishops ended Oct. 24 by endorsing ways that could lead to greater participation by divorced and remarried Catholics — a major source of friction here — while the 270 bishops declined to take up the even more controversial issue of how and whether to be more welcoming to gays.

Published in Faith

Sunday 25 Oct. Lines of faithful spiraled around St. Peter's Square from early on Sunday awaiting their chance to enter St. Peter’s Basilica for the closing Mass of the Synod on the Family. The Mass, presided over by Pope Francis, marked the end of the second gathering of the Synod of Bishops to discuss "The Mission and Vocation of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World."

Published in Reflections

Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass being offered on Sunday morning, the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, to mark the close of the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, who have been gathered in Rome for the past three weeks to reflect on and discuss the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.

Published in Reflections

VATICAN CITY - The first task of the Catholic Church "is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim the mercy of God," Pope Francis told members of the Synod of Bishops on the family.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - While not specifically mentioning the controversial proposal of a path toward full reconciliation and Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, members of the Synod of Bishops on the family handed Pope Francis a report emphasizing an obligation to recognize that not all Catholics in such a situation bear the same amount of blame.

Published in Vatican

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

Published in Vatican

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.

Published in Vatican

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.

Published in Vatican

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.

Published in Vatican

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.

Published in Vatican

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.

Published in Vatican

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.

Published in Vatican

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.

Published in Canada

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.

Published in Vatican

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.

Published in International