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Thursday, December 18, 2014, 2:19 p.m.
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Pope urges 'courageous' ways to help families

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 20, 2014 at 7:22 a.m.

VATICAN CITY — Cardinals from around the globe began discussing some of the most contentious issues in the church Thursday after findings from Vatican-mandated surveys that many Catholics reject church teaching on contraception, divorce and homosexuality.

Pope Francis opened the two-day meeting by urging his cardinals to find "intelligent, courageous" ways to help families without delving into case-by-case options to get around Catholic doctrine. He said the church must find ways to help families with pastoral care that is "full of love."

The sessions are aimed at starting discussions before a major meeting in October on family issues.

When he scheduled the October meeting, Francis took the unusual step of sending bishops a questionnaire for ordinary Catholics to say how they understand and practice church teaching on marriage, sex and other family issues.

Some U.S. and European bishops have reported their results, finding that core teachings on sexual morals, birth control, homosexuality, marriage and divorce are rejected as unrealistic and outdated by the vast majority of their flocks.

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