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THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REVIEW
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Dispatches
A blog on national and international affairs from America's correspondents, including Gerard O'Connell in Rome, Judith Valente in Chicago, David Stewart, S.J., in London, Jim McDermott, S.J., in Los Angeles and Steve Schwankert in Beijing.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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Pushback at The Synod on The Family
Oct 14 2014 - 4:22pm
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Gerard O'Connell
While very many synod fathers warmly welcomed and appreciated the midway report presented by the Relator General, Cardinal Peter Erdo, on Oct. 13, a significant number expressed serious objections to parts of that interim text, both in terms of content and style. That text sought to summarize the rich and often heated debate inside the synod hall during the first week, but the day after the report was presented there was an evident attempt at pushback.
A New Wind Is Blowing at The Synod on The Family
Oct 13 2014 - 6:58pm
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Gerard O'Connell
A new wind is blowing at the extraordinary synod of bishops on the family.  A wind that is bringing back ‘the spirit’ and even ‘the letter’ of the Second Vatican Council several synod fathers said.  It’s a wind that reveals a clear desire for the Church to dialogue in a fresh, positive and hopeful way with the family as it is in today’s world with its variations and problems and, in this context, with the issue of homosexuality.
Pope, in Unprecedented but Significant Decision, Adds Six Synod Fathers to Team that Writes Final Report
Oct 11 2014 - 3:34pm
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Gerard O'Connell
As the synod on the family reached the midway stage on a positive note, Pope Francis took the unprecedented and highly significant decision to add six highly qualified synod fathers to the team that will write its Final Report.  That decision could prove to be a game changer.
Three Ways to Streamline Annulment Process
Oct 9 2014 - 11:49am
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Gerard O'Connell
One of the Vatican’s top canon lawyers at the Synod of Bishops on the Family says the current process for the annulment of marriages in the Catholic Church could be streamlined and expanded to the benefit of very many people whose marriages have broken down. This could be one of the positive fruits of the synod, he said, but it would not be approved until the second synod in 2015.
Synod Hears Calls for Church to Change its Language
Oct 7 2014 - 5:10pm
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Gerard O'Connell
The synod has just begun but there are already early signs that many aspects of church teaching and praxis are coming under scrutiny, with demands for change, including a change in the language it uses.
Seventy synod fathers spoke in the first 24 hours, raising many issues including the need for the church to change its language in certain areas and to show greater respect for people than is at present the case. “Our language needs to change,” several participants said.
Pope Gives Bishops a Synod 'Bill of Rights'
Oct 6 2014 - 4:07pm
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Gerard O'Connell
In a major break with past praxis, almost 50 years after Paul VI first established the synod of bishops, Pope Francis has given the synod fathers the key elements for synodality, something akin to a bill of rights that creates a climate of freedom.
He did so at the start of the synod’s first plenary session on Oct. 6, when he addressed the methodology of synodality, and told the 191 synod fathers participating in this assembly to say what they really think, and do so in total freedom...
Marriage, Violence, the Synod and "Gone Girl"
Oct 6 2014 - 7:01am
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Jim McDermott
This week the church’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family begins its deliberations on “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.”  
Coincidentally, the weekend also saw the opening of “Gone Girl,” one of the most provocative and disturbing films about marriage, gender and family to be mounted in the United States in recent memory. 
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