Pope seeks frank opinions at synod

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SHAFAQNA – The Pope urged clerics to speak up about homosexuality, divorce and contraception, after a survey suggested that worshippers were turning away from traditional church teaching. Addressing nearly 200 bishops and cardinals at a two-week synod in the Vatican, he told them to “say everything the Lord tells you to say, without human respect, without fear”.

After pre-synod clashes between church liberals and hardliners who resist relaxing church teaching, Francis also warned prelates to “listen with humbleness and welcome with an open heart what your brothers say”.

The synod is expected to focus on the unpopular ban on communion for divorced Catholics who remarry. Since the Church does not recognise civil divorce, it considers such Catholics are living in sin.

Cardinal Péter Erdo, who is moderating the synod, hinted in his opening address yesterday that the Vatican could allow divorced worshippers to remarry after a period of penance.

He also recommended ways to make it easier to annul a marriage through the Church — avoiding the need for a civil divorce. “Divorced and civilly remarried persons belong to the Church,” he said. “They need and have the right to receive care from their pastors.”

To prepare for the synod, the Vatican last year launched a worldwide survey asking worshippers and priests for their input into the debates about birth control, divorce and gay marriage.

Source : http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/faith/article4228810.ece

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