BBC screen shot

This Pope Francis certainly is an ambitious fellow. Over the course of his short time atop the Catholic Church’s chain of command, he’s already shaken things up in the Vatican by eschewing many of the luxurious perks of his position and by taking more flexible stances on a host of matters about which other popes had responded more predictably.

And on Sunday, as a group of some 200 high-ranking bishops gathered at the Holy See for a two-week synod — a summit meeting convened to discuss a number of important ideological concerns and action items — Pope Francis was preparing to tackle a few topics that could usher in more changes for the church.

The BBC brought word of the power huddle at the Vatican that day:

The synod will focus particularly on issues related to family life.

Last year, a global survey launched by Pope Francis suggested that the majority of Catholics rejected Church teaching on issues such as sex and contraception.

On Saturday, the Pontiff said he hoped Bishops would respond to the “epochal changes” that families were living through.

More specifically, the hot-button subjects up for consideration include abortion, divorce, homosexuality and contraception — four highly charged social issues over which the church has maintained a no-way, no-how attitude. Whether this pope is able to move the needle, and potentially attract new devotees as a result (while risking censure from others) remains to be seen.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson


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