The synod primarily focused on family issues, such as the current ban on divorcees taking Communion, and on homosexuality.

Ahead of the synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper called for Communion rules to be changed for divorcees. However, Cardinal Raymond Burke responded by saying: ‘I cannot see how [Cardinal Kasper’s idea] can go forward if we are going to honour the words of our Lord himself in the Gospel according to St Matthew, in which he said the man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.’

Currently, couples can ask the Church for an annulment, which allows them to take Communion after separating. This process is set to become easier, and better pastoral care is to be put in place for Catholics who are struggling in their marriages.

Discussions also centred on the Church’s attitude to homosexuality. Cardinal Vincent Nichols told Premier Christian Radio that the official wording put together during the synod on how the Church should treat gay people ‘wasn’t good enough’.

He said the Church had to recognise the goodness in people’s lives even if ‘aspects of their situation are not fully in what we understand to be the will of Christ’. Asked whether the synod will change its mind on the wider acceptance of gay people at its next meeting, the cardinal said that ‘none of this is off the table’.

The synod will reconvene next October.

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