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 world Synod of Bishops on the family is not a parliament where participants will negotiate or lobby, Pope Francis said, but it must be a place of prayer where bishops speak with courage and open themselves to “God who always surprises us.”

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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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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis planned two gatherings of the Synod of Bishops to focus on the family and urged participants to use the year between the assemblies as a time for "true spiritual discernment" with both study and prayer.

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PHILADELPHIA - Pope Francis urged the hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families to serve and care for each other as freely as God loves the human family.
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PHILADELPHIA - A re-energized Pope Francis delighted tens of thousands of people crowded onto a thoroughfare in the city center on Saturday, delivering a folksy, off-the-cuff riff on family life that came late in the evening, and at the end of a long day of speeches and festivities that by any measure should have left the 78-year-old pontiff drained.

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SANTIAGO, Cuba - Pope Francis ended his trip to Cuba by blessing the city of Santiago de Cuba and telling Cubans to treat family as an "opportunity" rather than a problem.

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VATICAN CITY - More than 360 participants, including 18 married couples from around the world, were expected to attend October's Synod of Bishops on the family.

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TORONTO - One hundred more families, three-million more dollars and an infinite well of compassion will be the Archdiocese of Toronto’s response to photos of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s tiny, lifeless body lying on a Turkish beach.

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WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal judge Aug. 21 gave the Obama administration 60 days — until Oct. 23 — to release the hundreds of immigrant mothers and children being held in locked detention centres.

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rican Catholics have been quite outspoken against same-sex marriage, but their voices were not as strong during or after a massive outdoor same-sex wedding ceremony supported by government.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis reflected on the “serious social damage” caused by unemployment and praised governments for their efforts to create jobs Aug. 19.

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ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - One of the leading voices among Africa’s bishops predicts a new flexibility in Catholic teaching at this October’s Synod on the Family, allowing bishops and bishops’ conferences in different parts of the world to adapt Church teaching on the family to the culture, economic situation and political landscape in their part of the world.

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ROME - A Tuscany priest is offering a baby bonus of more than $2,000 to Italian Catholic families who have three or more children. But there are strings attached.

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VATICAN CITY - Caring for all of creation includes paying particular attention to the needs of young people and the aged, Pope Francis told the audience of a Catholic radio station in Argentina.

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