Vatican City – Pope Francis on Wednesday is opening a global gathering of bishops and laypeople to discuss the future of the Catholic Church, including some hot-button issues that have previously been considered off-limits for discussion.
FILE – Pope Francis standing with church leaders in front of a replica of the icon ‘Maria Salus populi romani” and the St. Damian crucifix, blesses the participants into “Together”, a vigil prayer for the Synod of Bishops in St. Peter’s Square at The Vatican, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, three days ahead of the official opening of the XVI Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on 4 October. Pope Francis is convening a global gathering of bishops and laypeople to discuss the future of the Catholic Church, including some hot-button issues that have previously been considered off the table for discussion. Key agenda items include women’s role in the church, welcoming LGBTQ+ Catholics and how bishops exercise authority. For the first time, women and laypeople can vote on specific proposals alongside bishops. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca, File)
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