Bishops head into final stretch at divisive family synod with vote on final document

Roman Catholic bishops from around the world are preparing to vote on a final document to better minister to Catholic families following a contentious, three-week summit that exposed deep divisions among prelates over Pope Francis' call for a more merciful and less judgmental church.

Heading into the final day, indications were that the 270 bishops would not endorse any major new pastoral practice on ministering to gays or divorcees — the two most disputed issues at the synod. Conservatives, citing church doctrine, had strongly resisted calls by more progressive colleagues to offer a new approach.

The outcome was still uncertain as final amendments were being incorporated into the text Friday night and bishops would vote Saturday afternoon paragraph by paragraph, with a two-thirds majority needed for each to pass.