National Catholic Reporter

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Synod on the Family

Changes in family life challenge Europe’s Catholic church

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When Catholic bishops arrive in Rome this October to debate “the vocation and mission of the family,” most will have carefully diagnosed the situation in their own dioceses.

That task may well have proved hardest in Europe, where traditional notions of family life are being widely challenged. Yet while some Catholics think the church is losing ground in consequence, others are more optimistic.

Mixed marriages challenge Asian families

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The growing phenomenon of Catholics marrying outside the faith and the challenges that it poses to the church in Asia -- especially in countries like India, where Christians are a minority -- was the subject of discussion at a recent gathering of Asian moral theologians.

Fr. Michael Peters, an Indian moral theologian who studied mixed marriages in several archdioceses in southern India between 2005 and 2010, said his survey revealed "a clear indication" that such marriages are steadily growing in the country.

Synod members should include sensus fidei

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Pope Francis has called for new ways for the journey of faith of the pilgrim people of God. By exercising the collegiality envisioned by the Second Vatican Council, he has encouraged the Synod of Bishops on the family to participate in open discussions on the various issues. As we await the second session of this synod, it seems particularly valuable to benefit from the 2014 document issued by the International Theological Commission, "Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church."

St. Therese's parents to be first married couple canonized together

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The parents of St. Therese of Lisieux will be canonized Oct. 18 at the Vatican during the Synod of Bishops on the family.

Louis Martin (1823-1894) and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin (1831-1877) will be the first married couple with children to be canonized in the same ceremony. Other married couples are among the blesseds of the church.

Pope Francis issued the decree approving their canonization Saturday during the public consistory on canonizations at the Vatican; more than 40 cardinals attended.

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May 6-19, 2016

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