| Synod ends by affirming tradition
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — 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.
The synod's last working session, Oct. 18, also featured a speech by Pope Francis, in which he celebrated the members' frank exchanges while warning against extremism in the defense of tradition or the pursuit of progress.
Discussions in the synod hall had grown heated after the Oct. 13 delivery of a midterm report that used strikingly conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to church teaching, including divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and those in same-sex unions.
The summaries of working-group discussions, published Oct. 16, showed a majority of synod fathers wanted the final document to be clearer about relevant church doctrine and give more attention to families whose lives exemplify that teaching.
The final report, which the pope ordered published almost at once after the synod's conclusion, featured many more citations of Scripture, as well as new references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the teachings of Pope Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Synod fathers voted on each of the document's 62 paragraphs. All received a simple majority, but three failed to gain the two-thirds supermajority ordinarily required for approval of synodal documents.
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