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Pope Francis, Bishops to Review Catholic Teachings


Pope Francis, rear center, celebrates a mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 to open the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

Pope Francis, rear center, celebrates a mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 to open the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

Pope Francis opened a major meeting of bishops at the Vatican in Rome on Sunday. The leaders of the Roman Catholic faith and others will examine the church’s teachings on family issues.

It is the first time such a meeting has happened in 35 years.

For two weeks, the bishops will consider whether they should change the way the church deals with people who are divorced. They will also examine the faith’s teachings on people living together before they are married, birth control and other family and social issues.

Almost 200 bishops -- and members of the Catholic faith who are not priests or nuns -- will take part in the meeting. Some church leaders admit that many Catholics take actions that are different from what the church teaches.

Before the Pope opened the meeting, he sent a message on the social media site Twitter. He said: “Let us ask the Lord to show us the way forward.”

Last month at the Vatican, Pope Francis took part in a wedding ceremony for 20 couples. Some of them were already living together or had children, both of which the church officially considers sinful.

I’m Jeri Watson.

VOA correspondent Fern Robinson reported this story in Washington. Christopher Cruise wrote it for Learning English. Jerilyn Watson edited it.

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Words in This Story

bishop – n. an official in some Christian religions who is ranked higher than a priest and who is usually in charge of church matters in a specific geographical area

priest – n. one authorized (allowed) the sacred rites of a religion especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God

nun – n. a woman belonging to a religious order: one under solemn vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

faith – n. a system of religious beliefs

divorce – n. the ending of a marriage by a legal process

birth control – n. things used to keep a woman from becoming pregnant

sin – n. an action that is considered to be wrong according to religious or moral law

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