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In strikingly conciliatory language on situations contrary to Catholic teaching, an official midterm report from the Synod of Bishops on the family emphasized calls for greater acceptance and appreciation of divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and homosexuals.
In official reports of the closed-door talks at the Synod of Bishops on the family, an emerging theme has been the call for a new kind of language more appropriate for pastoral care today.
In their discussions of sexual and medical ethics, participants at the Synod of Bishops on the family are giving emphasis to the concept of "graduality," as a way of thinking about morality that allows for human imperfection without compromising ideals.
Pope Francis opened the first working session of an extraordinary Synod of Bishops Oct. 6, urging participants to speak fearlessly and listen humbly during two weeks of discussion of the "pastoral challenges of the family."
Opening a two-week Synod of Bishops on the family, Pope Francis warned participants against the temptations of hypocrisy, pride and greed, urging them instead to serve the church with "freedom, creativity and hard work."
Hours before opening a Synod of Bishops whose members have already started a public debate over Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality, Pope Francis prayed the bishops would express themselves and listen to each other openly, trusting in God to reconcile their differences.
The "freedom of expression" that characterized preparations for the Synod of Bishops on the family -- especially in responses to a Vatican questionnaire -- "will also characterize the synod assembly, which certainly will take place in a climate of respect for every position, mutual charity and an authentic sense of constructiveness," said the head of the synod.
At a Sept. 16 briefing, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, described the world meeting as one of several related events to follow the October 2014 extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family, which will prepare an agenda for the worldwide synod one year later.
Pope Francis will meet with a group of sex abuse victims for the first time in June, he told reporters May 26.
Reports that Pope Francis told an Argentine woman civilly married to a divorced man that she can receive Communion "cannot be confirmed as reliable," said Jesuit Father Federico, the Vatican spokesman.