Extraordinary Synod on family to open in Vatican
The extraordinary Synod of more than 250 participants will gather in Vatican on Sunday to discuss the attitude of the Catholic Church to marriage, cohabiting and divorce, RIA Novosti reported referring to the Catholic News Service.
"Let us invoke openness to a sincere, open and fraternal exchange of views, that it might lead us to take pastoral responsibility for the questions that this changing time brings with it," Pope Francis said during the prayer for the Synod.
According to the program released on the Vatican's official website, the 3rd Extraordinary General Assembly on "The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization" will begin on October 5 and run until 19.
The Synod will be held in two stages, the second of which is scheduled for 2015. The first stage is expected to result in a summary of points to be considered and during the second stage the Catholic leaders may vote on introducing some changers to the Church guidelines on family matters.
Apart from the Church leaders, 14 married couples will take part in the assembly, which is expected to discuss a great range of topics from the role of faith in the family to the sexuality, contraception and same-sex relationships.
The decision to gather a Synod on family issues is seen as a major personal initiative of Pope Francis.
On September Pope Francis has personally married 20 couples, several of which had been living together prior to their marriage or already had children.