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October 6th, 2014
05:25 AM ET

Vatican Synod on the Family Begins

More than 200 Catholic bishops, priests and laypeople from around the world gathered in Rome this weekend to begin discussing Catholic teachings on a range of hot-button topics, from contraception and same-sex unions to polygamy and communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

The issues, which the Vatican places under the heading of “pastoral challenges of the family,” were chosen based on the results of a worldwide survey of Catholics in 2013.

Pope Francis called the meeting, known as a synod, to address modern issues facing families today a topic that he has made a priority since the beginning of his pontificate.

The Catholic Church, the Pope has said, must make sure “it really is in contact with the homes and the lives of its people and does not become a useless structure out of touch with people.”

In his short time as Pope, Francis has reached out to those who previously might have felt shunned by the church because of their family circumstances.

He has married couples who were already living together, baptized children of unmarried couples and reportedly called a woman in Argentina who is married to a divorced man and told her she could receive communion.

On this last point, communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, a debate has been raging since February when Francis asked a progressive German cardinal, Walter Kasper, to address fellow cardinals on the topic.

The current teaching is that Catholics who are divorced may receive communion, while Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried may not, because the church considers them to be committing adultery with their second partner.

See more on CNN.com

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Filed under: Pope Francis • Vatican
October 3rd, 2014
05:56 AM ET

Sanitizing Crew Turned Away at Ebola Patient's Residence in Dallas

Four days after a man was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, the apartment where he stayed has not been sanitized, a cleaning crew contracted to do the job said. Four other people are still living there.

Thomas Eric Duncan became the first person diagnosed with Ebola on American soil when he was hospitalized this week after arrival from Liberia.

His partner and her family are in isolation at the apartment, which still has the sheets and towels Duncan used.

Before leaving his homeland, Duncan answered no to questions on whether he was exposed to the deadly virus, said Binyah Kesselly, board chairman of the Liberia Airport Authority.

Duncan had been helping Ebola patients, including caring for one at a residence outside the capital of Monrovia, Liberian community leader Tugbeh Chieh Tugbeh said.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Ebola
October 2nd, 2014
05:54 AM ET

U.S. Ebola Case: Fear, Frustration Grow

America's first diagnosed Ebola victim is contained, but three things are still spreading: fear, frustration and the search for his contacts.

While Thomas Eric Duncan remains in critical condition at a Dallas hospital, some parents are scared to take their kids to the school that his girlfriend's children attended.

Others are upset at the hospital where Duncan first sought care, which sent him home and raised the possibility he could infect others for at least two additional days.

As the search continues for those Duncan had contact with, here's the latest on how the case is affecting others:

'I just got scared'

Duncan was in Dallas visiting his girlfriend, Liberian community leader Stanley Gaye said.

Among the people he came in contact with, Gaye said: his girlfriend's five children.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles said the patient came in contact with five students who attended four different schools in the area.

Sam Tasby Middle School is one of those schools.

"I just got scared because I thought that that kid came to that school and probably got contact with him," said Nellie Catalan, whose child attends the school.

"I know it doesn't get (spread) by the air, but you never know."

More than 3,500 students attend the four schools. Each is getting cleaned and sanitized over the next few days.

Student Denise Trujillo said she's still worried.

"I don't feel like going to school tomorrow," she said.

While the five students who were near Duncan are staying home and being monitored, their schools will remain open.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Ebola
October 1st, 2014
05:13 AM ET

Hong Kong Protests Swell on China's National Day

Hong Kongers marked China's National Day in unprecedented fashion Wednesday, as huge crowds of pro-democracy protesters thronged the streets of the Asian financial hub for what is shaping up as a critical day in the territory's "Umbrella Revolution."

Huge crowds are anticipated to take to the streets throughout the annual public holiday marking the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Since 1997, when the sovereignty of Hong Kong was handed back to China, the holiday has been marked by a massive fireworks display, which was canceled this year due to the political unrest.

As crowds built in downtown Hong Kong, with fresh faces joining those who had braved heavy storms to remain on the streets overnight, there appeared no indication that the protesters' determination was waning.

According to a CNN team on the ground, crowds at the main protest site in Hong Kong's financial district yesterday afternoon appeared significantly larger than at the same time Tuesday.

Nor was there any sign that the government, which considers the demonstrations illegal, is prepared to budge.

Some protesters were joining the protests for the first time. Nic Lam, a 35-year-old IT worker, said his job and family had kept him away previously, but the public holiday had allowed him to attend and express his "long-term dissatisfaction" with the Hong Kong government.

Many families were in attendance at the main protest site, which had taken on a festive atmosphere, including band performances.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Hong Kong
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