Religion: A Synod of Ideas

When 207 Roman Catholic prelates from round the world gathered at the Vatican last month for the fourth Synod of Bishops, they faced what appeared to be a "safe" topic. Pope Paul VI had rejected their first choice for discussion, the family, which would have involved the bishops in such touchy issues as abortion, birth control and world population growth. Instead, he decreed, their topic should be evangelization. But just as Protestants have found out in the course of recent and heated debates, the bishops also discovered that evangelization is no easy subject. Spreading the Gospel these days involves ecumenical questions,...

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