Sylvia Poggioli

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Now let's talk about the debate in another assembly - of Catholic bishops. They came from all over the world to a meeting called a synod in Rome.

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Vatican Synod Ends

Oct 25, 2015

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Inside the Vatican City, a contentious bishops meeting has come to a close. The bishops were hashing out big issues like how the church deals with divorce and gay marriage. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli says progressives and conservatives scored points.

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About half an hour after takeoff from Philadelphia and a grueling, nine-day visit to Cuba and the United States, Pope Francis looked tired Sunday night when he appeared before reporters. He suffers from sciatica, and it was visible this week that he was having difficulty walking up stairs and standing for a long time.

Nevertheless, he took questions for close to an hour.

The pope was asked about an issue that had angered victims of clerical sex abuse: Why did he choose to show strong compassion for American bishops in one of his first speeches in the U.S.?

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Pope Francis is in Philadelphia this evening celebrating the final mass of his visit to the United States.

(SOUNDBITE OF MASS)

Competition to get admitted to the papal trip to Cuba and the U.S. was fierce: Some 140 reporters and photographers applied for the 76 seats available for print, radio and TV journalists. I strategized for much of June on the best way to secure one of them.

On the day the decision was announced, those who were rejected received politely written emails expressing regrets from the Vatican spokesman. Those who were admitted learned of it only by going to the Vatican press room to see the list pinned on the bulletin board.

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Pope Francis continues his American tour. He's just landed in New York to cheers and waving flags an a band playing "New York, New York."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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