Pope and bishops meet on controversial family issues

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VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis began a meeting this morning with Catholic bishops focusing on how the church deals with family issues.

Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich is among the bishops at the meeting.

The pope started the meeting reasserting Catholic doctrine that marriage is a lasting bond between a man and a woman.  He insisted that the church cannot be “swayed by passing fads or popular opinion.”  But he said the church must show mercy for families who are dealing with separation, divorce or other problems.

Two years ago, the pope sent out a questionnaire to bishops and families around the world on family matters.  Their responses showed a rift in the church on sex, marriage and homosexuality.

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