Senior clerics of the Roman Catholic church will be meeting this fall to discuss many hot-button issues that have long placed the church on the opposite side of progressive forces. Gay marriage, contraception, cohabitation before marriage, remarriage, and divorce will all be on the agenda. The meeting, called by Pope Francis, seeks input from Catholics around the world about their views on these issues.
Francis has developed a strong reputation for his primary focus on social welfare. Since his election last year, he has denounced income inequality, eschewed many of the ostentatious perks of the Vatican, and has called on the Catholic priesthood to lead simpler lives more in tune with their callings as priests. While many remain skeptical that this meeting will produce any real change in the doctrine of marriage that has remained steady for centuries, some hope that this points to a potential thaw that may help the church’s ideas evolve over time.