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Opening a two-day meeting of the world's cardinals, Pope Francis said the church's pastoral approach to helping couples must be "intelligent, courageous and full of love" because the family today is "looked down upon and mistreated."
Catholics across the country continue to feel wounded by the clergy abuse crisis, seek a more welcoming church in which their "lived reality" is prioritized over rules and regulations, and desire lifelong spiritual, pastoral and catechetical formation as disciples, according to a report synthesizing the 10-month synodal process in dioceses.
Saying "superficial" marriage preparation programs leave many couples at risk of having invalid marriages or unprepared to cope with the struggles that arise in every marriage, Pope Francis endorsed suggestions for a yearlong "marriage catechumenate" drafted by the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.