US bishops struggling under Francis' pontificate

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Pope Francis - Cannonization - Catholic leaders synod - updated 11/27/2014
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US bishops struggling under Francis' pontificate
Pope Francis waves at the end of a meeting with the Pauline family (Paolina family) in occasion of the centenary of its foundation by Don Giacomo Alberione, on Novembre 27, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis heads to Turkey on Friday, it will be the first papal visit to Turkey since the now-retired Benedict XVI went there in 2006 against a backrop of anger in much of the Muslim world over comments which appeared to link the Prophet Mohamed to violence. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
A nun kisses the hand of Pope Francis during a meeting with the Pauline family (Paolina family) in occasion of the centenary of its foundation by Don Giacomo Alberione, on Novembre 27, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis heads to Turkey on Friday, it will be the first papal visit to Turkey since the now-retired Benedict XVI went there in 2006 against a backrop of anger in much of the Muslim world over comments which appeared to link the Prophet Mohamed to violence. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis delivers a speech during a meeting with the Pauline family (Paolina family) in occasion of the centenary of its foundation by Don Giacomo Alberione, on Novembre 27, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis heads to Turkey on Friday, it will be the first papal visit to Turkey since the now-retired Benedict XVI went there in 2006 against a backrop of anger in much of the Muslim world over comments which appeared to link the Prophet Mohamed to violence. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis attends a meeting with the Pauline family (Paolina family) in occasion of the centenary of its foundation by Don Giacomo Alberione, on Novembre 27, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis heads to Turkey on Friday, it will be the first papal visit to Turkey since the now-retired Benedict XVI went there in 2006 against a backrop of anger in much of the Muslim world over comments which appeared to link the Prophet Mohamed to violence. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) and prefect of the papal household Georg Gaenswein make the sign of the cross during a meeting with the Pauline family (Paolina family) in occasion of the centenary of its foundation by Don Giacomo Alberione, on Novembre 27, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis heads to Turkey on Friday, it will be the first papal visit to Turkey since the now-retired Benedict XVI went there in 2006 against a backrop of anger in much of the Muslim world over comments which appeared to link the Prophet Mohamed to violence. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis attends a meeting with the Pauline family (Paolina family) in occasion of the centenary of its foundation by Don Giacomo Alberione, on Novembre 27, 2014 at Paul VI audience hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis heads to Turkey on Friday, it will be the first papal visit to Turkey since the now-retired Benedict XVI went there in 2006 against a backrop of anger in much of the Muslim world over comments which appeared to link the Prophet Mohamed to violence. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis waves as he leaves St. Peters Square at the end of a canonization mass on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Ludovico da Casoria is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Giovanni Antonio Farina is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Giovanni Antonio Farina is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Amato Ronconi is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Nicola da Longobardi is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A general view of a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Nicola da Longobardi is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Ludovico da Casoria is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of new appointed Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Tapestry featuring the portrait of newly appointed Saint Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal is draped from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis attends a canonization ceremony on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: German cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller attends a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Cardinals attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Nuns carry relics of new saints during a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Piligrms from Kerala diocese attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: German cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller (C) attends a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A piligrm from Kerala diocese attends a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A piligrm from Kerala diocese attends a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Piligrms from Kerala diocese attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A priest attends a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A priests carries relics of new saints during a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Piligrms from Kerala diocese attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Piligrms from Kerala diocese attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis waves as he leaves St. Peters Square at the end of a canonization mass on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis waves as he leaves St. Peters Square at the end of a canonization mass on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis greets an Indian child as he leaves St. Peters Square at the end of a canonization mass on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Priests from Kerala diocese attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis greets an Indian child as he leaves St. Peters Square at the end of a canonization mass on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A general view of a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Priests attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A general view of a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Priests attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Priests, framed by a seagull on the St. Peter's statue, attend a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A general view of a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis salutes priests after a canonization mass for Eufrasia Eluvathingal, friar Francescano Amato Ronconi, bishop Antonio Farina, priest Kuriakose Elias Chavara, friar Francescano Nicola Saggio da Longobardi and friar Francescano Amato Ronconi at St Peter's square on November 23, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: A nun attends a canonization mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis leaves after a canonization mass for Eufrasia Eluvathingal, friar Francescano Amato Ronconi, bishop Antonio Farina, priest Kuriakose Elias Chavara, friar Francescano Nicola Saggio da Longobardi and friar Francescano Amato Ronconi at St Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (Top) salutes cardinals after a canonization mass for Eufrasia Eluvathingal, friar Francescano Amato Ronconi, bishop Antonio Farina, priest Kuriakose Elias Chavara, friar Francescano Nicola Saggio da Longobardi and friar Francescano Amato Ronconi at St Peter's Square on November 23, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis attends a canonization mass in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis attends a canonization mass in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
A seagull flies over a tapestry of Eufrasia Eluvathingal during a canonization mass at St Peter's square on November 23, 2014 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis attends a canonization mass in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis attends a canonization mass in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - NOVEMBER 23: Pope Francis attends a canonization mass in St. Peters Square on November 23, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pontiff canonized six new saints two from Kerala (India) Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Mother Eufrasia Eluvathingal, and four Italians: Amato Ronconi, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Nicola da Longobardi and Ludovico da Casoria. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Priests give communion during a Sunday mass at St. Esprit Cathedral on November 23, 2014, at Sisli in Istanbul. Pope Francis will visit Turkey from November 28 to 30, 2014, eight years after his predecessor, Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country. AFP PHOTO/GURCAN OZTURK (Photo credit should read GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)
Priests give communion during a Sunday mass at St. Esprit Cathedral on November 23, 2014, at Sisli in Istanbul. Pope Francis will visit Turkey from November 28 to 30, 2014, eight years after his predecessor, Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country. AFP PHOTO/GURCAN OZTURK (Photo credit should read GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)
Priets celebrate a Sunday mass at St. Esprit Cathedral on November 23, 2014, at Sisli in Istanbul. Pope Francis will visit Turkey from November 28 to 30, 2014, eight years after his predecessor, Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country. AFP PHOTO/GURCAN OZTURK (Photo credit should read GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)
People attend the Sunday mass at St. Esprit Cathedral on November 23, 2014, at Sisli in Istanbul. Pope Francis will visit Turkey from November 28 to 30, 2014, eight years after his predecessor, Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country. AFP PHOTO/GURCAN OZTURK (Photo credit should read GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman lights a candle during a Sunday mass at St. Esprit Cathedral on November 23, 2014, at Sisli in Istanbul. Pope Francis will visit Turkey from November 28 to 30, 2014, eight years after his predecessor, Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country. AFP PHOTO/GURCAN OZTURK (Photo credit should read GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 19: Priests wait to give communion to the faithful during the holy mass for the closing of Extraordinary Synod held by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square on October 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a 'great Pope,' a 'courageous Christian' and a 'tireless apostle. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 19: A tapestry depicting Pope Paul VI is unveiled on the balcony of St Peters basilica during the holy mass for the closing of Extraordinary Synod held by Pope Francis on October 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a 'great Pope,' a 'courageous Christian' and a 'tireless apostle. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 19: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, flanked by Prefect of the Pontifical House and his former personal secretary Georg Ganswein (R) arrives at the holy mass for the closing of Extraordinary Synod held by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square on October 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a 'great Pope,' a 'courageous Christian' and a 'tireless apostle. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 19: A tapestry depicting Pope Paul VI hangs on the balcony of St Peters basilica during the holy mass for the closing of Extraordinary Synod held by Pope Francis on October 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a 'great Pope,' a 'courageous Christian' and a 'tireless apostle. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 19: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (L) attends the holy mass for the closing of Extraordinary Synod held by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square on October 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a 'great Pope,' a 'courageous Christian' and a 'tireless apostle. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 19: Pope Francis attends holy mass for the closing of Extraordinary Synod at St. Peter's Square on October 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a 'great Pope,' a 'courageous Christian' and a 'tireless apostle. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 19: Pope Francis holds holy Mass at St. Peter's Square for the closing of Extraordinary Synod on October 19, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. During the Mass the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a 'great Pope,' a 'courageous Christian' and a 'tireless apostle. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 13: Pope Francis leaves the Synod Hall at the end of a session of the Synod on the themes of family on October 13, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. As discussion at the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family got underway Monday morning, it was announced that the second phase of this process, next year's Ordinary Synod, will be held October 4-25, 2015, and will have theme: The vocation and mission of the family in the church and the modern world. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 05: Pope Francis attends the Opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops in St. Peter's Basilica on October 5, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The two week General Assembly will discuss the 'The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization.' (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis delivers his speech during the Synod on the Families, to cardinals and bishops gathering in the Synod Aula, at the Vatican, on October 6, 2014. Pontiff on Sunday launched a major review of Catholic teaching on the family that could lead to change in the Church's attitude to marriage, cohabitation and divorce. An extraordinary synod, or meeting, of nearly 200 bishops from around the world and a sprinkling of lay people will, for the next two weeks, address the huge gulf between what the Church currently says on these issues and what tens of millions of believers actually do. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 05: Cardinals attend the Opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica on October 5, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The two week General Assembly will discuss the 'The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization'. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 07: Pope Francis leaves the Synod Hall at the end of a session of the Synod on the themes of family on October 7, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. In his 'Report prior to discussion' presented Tuesday morning to Synod Fathers and Fraternal delegates, the relator general Cardinal Peter Erdo, pointed to the 'privatization of love' as the greatest challenge to the family. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis leads a vigil prayer in preparation for the Synod on the Family on October 4, 2014 at St Peter's square at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 06: Pope Francis chats with Ungarian cardinal and archbisop of Budapest cardinal Peter Erdo (R) as he arrives at the Synod Hall for the Synod on the themes of family on October 6, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis addressed the Fathers of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Monday, as they began their first full day of sessions exploring the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 06: Pope Francis attends the first sessions of the Synod on the themes of family at the Synod Hall on October 6, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis addressed the Fathers of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Monday, as they began their first full day of sessions exploring the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 06: A priest arrives by bike at the Synod Hall for the opening of the Synod on the themes of family on October 6, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The two week General Assembly will discuss the 'The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization'. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) looks on before his speech during the Synod on the Families, to cardinals and bishops gathering in the Synod Aula, at the Vatican, on October 6, 2014. The Pontiff on Sunday launched a major review of Catholic teaching on the family that could lead to change in the Church's attitude to marriage, cohabitation and divorce. An extraordinary synod, or meeting, of nearly 200 bishops from around the world and a sprinkling of lay people will, for the next two weeks, address the huge gulf between what the Church currently says on these issues and what tens of millions of believers actually do. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis delivers his speech during the Synod of the Families, to cardinals and bishops gathering in the Synod Aula, at the Vatican, on October 6, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 05: Pope Francis attends the Opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops in St. Peter's Basilica on October 5, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The two week General Assembly will discuss the 'The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization.' (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Faithful hold candles during a vigil prayer in preparation for the Synod on the Family on October 4, 2014 at St Peter's square at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS,GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 05: Pope Francis attends the Opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops in St. Peter's Basilica on October 5, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The two week General Assembly will discuss the 'The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization.' (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 06: Pope Francis arrives at the Synod Hall for the opening of the Synod on the themes of family on October 6, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The two week General Assembly will discuss the 'The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of the Evangelization'. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 06: Pope Francis chats with cardinals as he arrives at the Synod Hall for the Synod on the themes of family on October 6, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis addressed the Fathers of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Monday, as they began their first full day of sessions exploring the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
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U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are gathering at a moment of turbulence for them and the American church, as Pope Francis moves toward crafting new policies for carrying out his mission of mercy - a prospect that has conservative Catholics and some bishops in an uproar.

The assembly, which starts Monday in Baltimore, comes less than a month after Francis ended a dramatic Vatican meeting on how the church can more compassionately minister to Catholic families.

The gathering in Rome was only a prelude to a larger meeting next year which will more concretely advise Francis on church practice. Still, the open debate at the event, and the back and forth among bishops over welcoming gays and divorced Catholics who remarry, prompted stunning criticism from some U.S. bishops.

"Many of the U.S. bishops have been disoriented by what this new pope is saying and I don't see them really as embracing the pope's agenda," said John Thavis, a former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service. "To a large degree, the U.S. bishops have lost their bearings. I think up until now, they felt Rome had their back, and what they were saying - especially politically - would eventually be supported in Rome. They can't count on that now."

Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former St. Louis archbishop and leading voice for conservative Catholics, said the church "is like a ship without a rudder" under Francis. Burke made the comments before the pope demoted him from his position as head of the Vatican high court, a move he had anticipated.

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, said the debate and vote on a document summing up the discussion in Rome, which laid bare divisions among church leaders, struck him as "rather Protestant." Tobin referenced a remark Francis had made to young Catholics last year that they shake up the church and make a "mess" in their dioceses.

"Pope Francis is fond of 'creating a mess.' Mission accomplished," Tobin wrote.

Other American bishops said the meeting sowed confusion about church teaching, although several blamed the way information was released from the Vatican or reported by the media.

"I think confusion is of the devil. I think the public image that came across was confusion," said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. Next year, Chaput will host the pontiff on his first U.S. visit for the World Meeting of Families, a Vatican-organized event that draws thousands of people.

Francis is pressing U.S. bishops to make what for many prelates is a wrenching turnaround: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and individual church leaders have dedicated increasing resources over the years to the hot-button social issues the pontiff says should no longer be the focus. The bishops say they've been forced to emphasize these issues because of the growing acceptance of gay relationships and what they see as animosity toward Christians in America.

Dozens of dioceses and Catholic nonprofits have sued the Obama administration over the birth control coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act. The administration has made several changes to accommodate the bishops' concerns, but church leaders say the White House hasn't gone far enough.

Through the bishops' religious liberty campaigns, church leaders have sought expansive exemptions for religious objectors to a range of laws and policies, including recognition for same-sex marriage and workplace protections for gays and lesbians.

Ahead of the midterm elections, the Catholic Conference of Illinois, representing all the state's bishops, said in a voters' guide that abortion and related issues had far greater moral weight than immigration and poverty - issues Francis has said are at the center of the Gospel and at the core of his pontificate.

But the challenge Francis poses extends beyond specific issues. His emphasis on open debate and broad input from lay people stands in stark contrast to how the U.S. prelates have led the church for years.

Bishops have been asserting themselves as the sole authorities in their dioceses and as the arbiters of what would be considered authentically Catholic. Following the lead of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who appointed nearly all the current U.S. bishops, the prelates saw this approach as critical to defending orthodoxy.

At their national meetings, U.S. bishops have conducted an increasing amount of work behind closed doors in recent years. The sessions they opened to the public featured little debate. Thavis said the gatherings had come to feel like meetings of a "politburo."

By contrast, the pope opened the Vatican meeting on the family last month by telling the participating bishops to speak boldly. "Let no one say: 'This you cannot say,'" the pontiff said. In the months leading up to the gathering, Francis distributed a 39-point questionnaire to bishops' conferences around the world, seeking input from ordinary Catholics about their acceptance of church teaching on a host of issues related to Catholic family life. Francis then invited Catholic couples to talk about marriage at the meeting to give bishops a sense of the issues families face.

"This was real discussion, real debate, real engagement," said Phillip Thompson, executive director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University. "They brought these issues and put them on the table, which has never really been done in this way before."

According to the schedule the U.S. bishops released for their Baltimore assembly, the meeting will concentrate on issues they've been prioritizing since before Francis' election: religious liberty, upholding marriage between a man and a woman, and moral issues in health care. A conference spokesman said a briefing is expected from church leaders who participated in last month's Vatican gathering, or synod. And the schedule can be changed at the last minute.

Still, Michael Sean Winters, an analyst with the liberal National Catholic Reporter news outlet, called the schedule "sleep-inducing."

"You would not know from that agenda," Winters wrote, "that this is such an exciting moment in the life of the church."

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