• Annulment reform is a smart bet at looming Synod of Bishops

    • Sep 15, 2014

    If there were a Las Vegas betting line about the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family in Rome, the prospect of a press for a streamlined annulment process in the Catholic Church would probably be a strong 2-1 favorite. Assuming that one of the major fault lines in the

  • Potential changes from Synod produce both hope, alarm

    • Sep 15, 2014

    ROME — In Pope Francis’ Spanish-speaking backyard, the idea that the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops might produce a change in church rules barring divorced and remarried Catholics from the sacraments, such as communion and confession, has produced hope in some quarters and alarm in others. According to La Barca

  • Vatican official: Synod won’t change doctrine

    • Sep 15, 2014

    ROME — The Vatican’s top official for the family says that October’s Synod of Bishops will debate altering church rules barring divorced and remarried Catholics from communion, but considers its emphasis will probably be on practical strategies for helping couples rather than changing doctrine. Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of

  • Surprise! One of the Church’s family issues is polygamy

    • Sep 11, 2014

    Say “family issues” to most Americans or Europeans, and they’re likely to flash on divorce, or the challenges of single-parent households, or perhaps same-sex relationships and the push for gay marriage. What probably wouldn’t come naturally to mind is polygamy. Yet in many parts of the non-Western world, polygamy is

  • Three divorced Catholics, three viewpoints

    • Sep 10, 2014

    Three divorced Catholics, three viewpoints on whether the bishops attending next month’s Synod on the family should loosen the rules to let Catholics who divorced and then remarried without an annulment receive Communion. One thinks the current policy is simply unenforceable, unless the Vatican starts hanging wanted posters of divorced

  • The old debate on divorce and Communion has a new wildcard: Francis

    The old debate on divorce and Communion has a new wildcard: Francis

    • Sep 9, 2014

    As summer turns to autumn, the most compelling storyline in Rome is a highly anticipated summit of Catholic bishops from around the world, which shapes up as a key test of how much the status quo in the Church has been upended by a charismatic pope from a foreign land

  • An MRI into the life of the Church

    • Sep 8, 2014

    This fall’s biggest Vatican happening is a summit of bishops from around the world convened by Pope Francis to talk about the family. Known as a “Synod of Bishops,” the Oct. 5-19 session’s official topic is “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” It’s expected to take

  • The Synod of Bishops in October could be ‘Must-See TV’

    • Sep 6, 2014

    For those of us who covered a Synod of Bishops at the Vatican during the John Paul II and Benedict years, there was always a slightly surreal “Emperor has no clothes” dynamic about the experience. An all-star cast of bishops from around the world would gather in Rome for a