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Catholic Bishops Conclude Synod Debate Without Suggesting Major Change

More than 250 Roman Catholic bishops from around the world have concluded debate at a three-week meeting at the Vatican, approving a series of recommendations without proposing any significant reforms.

The 50 recommendations being presented to Pope Benedict by participants at the meeting, known as a Synod focus on some of the major issues discussed. But the bishops recommended no changes. They upheld church requirements that most priests be celibate, despite a growing shortage of clergy.

They also backed the rule denying the sacrament of communion to divorced Catholics who remarry without getting an annulment invalidating the first marriage. The Synod also left it up to local bishops to decide whether to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights.

Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to officially close the Synod with a Mass on Sunday. Senior clerics from some 118 countries attended the meeting.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.