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Top Vatican cardinal predicts no change in marriage, divorce debate at pope's synod

  • Cardinal George Pell attends ' The Voice of the Family meeting ', in Rome, Saturday, May 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Cardinal George Pell attends ' The Voice of the Family meeting ', in Rome, Saturday, May 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cardinal George Pell speaks at ' The Voice of the Family ' meeting, in Rome, Saturday, May 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Cardinal George Pell speaks at ' The Voice of the Family ' meeting, in Rome, Saturday, May 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cardinal George Pell attends The Voice of the Family meeting, in Rome, Saturday, May 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Cardinal George Pell attends The Voice of the Family meeting, in Rome, Saturday, May 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

A senior Vatican cardinal is predicting there will be no change in the Catholic Church's practice and teaching about marriage, divorce and the reception of Communion at an upcoming meeting of bishops on family issues.

Cardinal George Pell told a gathering Saturday of conservative, anti-abortion Catholics in Rome for the city's annual "March for Life" that he believed the October synod "will massively endorse the tradition" of the church.

Pope Francis convened the two-year study on family issues in hopes of providing more compassionate care for families confronted with increasing rates of cohabitation and divorce and increasing acceptance of gay unions.

Conservatives have complained that the process has created massive confusion among Catholics over the church's true teachings and have called for Francis to clarify his intent.