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IMG_0033          St. Anne Catholic School, Beaumont, fifth-grade students harvested sweet potatoes Oct. 23 at the Giving Field. The sweet potatoes were planted in May and will be donated to Some Other Place for the soup kitchen. The students are hoping that this year’s harvest beats last year’s total of 418 pounds. Continue Reading »

IMG_0009 The Rosa Mystica Prayer Group of Our Mother of Mercy, Beaumont, celebrated its 14th annual Chaplet of Tears Oct. 19 in honor of the seven sorrows of Mary. Continue Reading »

IMG_0009Over 200 youth gathered together Oct. 19 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Orange for a retreat focused on chastity. Speakers Bobby and Jackie Angel spoke to the teens to dispel myths about what chastity really means and answered questions on topics from dating to pornography and how it affects teens. Continue Reading »

By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service

Pope Francis carries papers as he arrives for the concluding session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 18. Walking near the pope are Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis carries papers as he arrives for the concluding session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 18. Walking near the pope are Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem and Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After several days of animated debate over its official midterm report, the Synod of Bishops on the family agreed on a final document more clearly grounded in traditional Catholic teaching. Yet the assembly failed to reach consensus on especially controversial questions of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and the pastoral care of homosexuals.

The synod’s last working session, Oct. 18, also featured a speech by Pope Francis, in which he celebrated the members’ frank exchanges while warning against extremism in the defense of tradition or the pursuit of progress.

Discussions in the synod hall had grown heated after the Oct. 13 delivery of a midterm report that used strikingly conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to church teaching, including divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and those in same-sex unions.

The summaries of working-group discussions, published Oct. 16, showed a majority of synod fathers wanted the final document to be clearer about relevant church doctrine and give more attention to families whose lives exemplify that teaching.

The final report, which the pope ordered published almost at once after the synod’s conclusion, featured many more citations of Scripture, as well as new references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the teachings of Pope Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict VI. Continue Reading »

cns-logoBy Samantha Marinelli Catholic News Service

VILLANOVA, Pa. (CNS) — A steady decline in the number of Christians who go to church doesn’t mean Christianity is dying but that church members want a personal connection they aren’t finding in church, said the keynote speaker at an Oct. 14 technology summit at Villanova University.

Technology can provide that personal connection, according to Steve Hewitt, editor-in-chief of Christian Computing Magazine since 1989.

He outlined ways that churches should be communicating with members — broadcast text messages; broadcast voice messages; Facebook and websites; YouTube and email; and even personally addressed and handwritten mail.

Broadcast text messages are the most effective, according to Hewitt. Continue Reading »

By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service

Pope Francis and prelates pray at the start of the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 13. From left are Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Pope Francis; Car\dinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, relator for the synod; Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris; and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis and prelates pray at the start of the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 13. From left are Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Pope Francis; Car\dinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, relator for the synod; Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris; and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The official midterm report from the Synod of Bishops, which uses strikingly conciliatory language toward divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and same-sex unions, has proven highly controversial inside and outside the synod hall, with some synod fathers saying it does not accurately reflect the assembly’s views.

Following a nearly hourlong speech Oct. 13 by Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, who, as the synod’s relator, has the task of guiding the discussion and synthesizing its results, 41 of the 184 synod fathers present took the floor to comment the same morning, the Vatican said.

According to the Vatican’s summary of their remarks, which did not quote bishops by name in accordance with synod rules, a number of synod fathers objected that Cardinal Erdo’s text lacked certain necessary references to Catholic moral teaching.

“In regard to homosexuality, there was noted the need for welcoming, with the right degree of prudence, so as not to create the impression of a positive valuation of that orientation,” the summary said. “It was hoped that the same care would be taken in regard to cohabitation.”

Bishops also remarked on the midterm report’s scarce references to the concept of sin, and encouraged the assembly to emulate the “prophetic tone of Jesus, to avoid the risk of conforming to the mentality of today’s world.”

Regarding one of the synod’s most discussed topics, a proposal by German Cardinal Walter Kasper to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, at least one bishop argued that it would be “difficult to welcome some exceptions without in reality turning it into a general rule.” Continue Reading »

IMG_1128Sacred Heart Parish, Raywood, and Our Mother of Mercy, Ames, welcomed Missionary of St. Paul Father Ayo Emmanuel Efodigbue on Oct. 1. Father Efodigbue comes to the diocese from St. Catherine of Siena Church in Donaldsonville, La.

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