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Pew Research Center put the question to people in 44 countries. Below, a sampling of how many said yes:

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88% France

79% Thailand

67% Brazil

60% Mexico

46% Turkey

Pope Francis Hints At Reform With Mass Wedding in Rome

Popes, as a rule, rarely preside over public marriage ceremonies, but when they do, it’s usually because the church wants to make a point. So when Francis married 20 couples at St. Peter’s Basilica on Sept. 14, it had the force of a papal seal.

The participants ranged in age from 25 to 56 and were from the diocese of Rome. But the real story was in the details: one bride was already a mother, some of the couples had already been living together, and others had previously been married.

In October, Francis will convene an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the first big-ticket item he put on the agenda when he became Pope last year. More than 250 Cardinals and church representatives from around the world are due to attend what will be only the third such meeting at the Vatican since 1965. The topic: “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization,” which really means the Pope wants priests to consider new ways to apply church teachings as social mores and sexual practices evolve.

Officially, the Vatican allows remarriage only if a past marriage is annulled, or declared in the church’s eyes to never have truly existed. The annulment process is far from user-friendly, and cohabitation is frowned upon. But with the group wedding, Francis has signaled mercy and an openness to change as a top priority.

Since local churches tend to make their own decisions about serving Communion to Catholics who are divorced and remarried, or cohabiting, new guidance from the Holy Father in October could herald a significant shift. There will, however, be a limit to how far the Vatican might go.

For example, Francis did not preside over the weddings of any gay couples. And while the ceremony in Rome was striking, he affirmed the church’s traditional teaching: “This is what marriage is all about,” he preached, “man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man.”

Nonetheless, by celebrating the marriages that he did, Pope Francis offered a sacramental blessing that will not go unremembered when the world’s bishops meet next month.


The Fallout From Russia’s Food-Import Ban

Russia retaliated against U.S. and European sanctions by blocking Western food imports in August. Here’s how the ban is taking a toll on foreign farmers and consumers alike.

Excess Apples

Leading figures in Poland–which exported some 770,000 tons of apples to Russia last year–are calling on locals to drink more cider to make up for the lost demand

Tomato War

Hundreds of people held a tomato fight in central Amsterdam to protest Moscow’s action–but, crucially, also to raise money for local producers hurt by the Russian ban

Salad Shortage

Without Western imports, the Russian arm of McDonald’s has taken some salads off its menu while it looks for local suppliers to plug a sudden gap in the supply of quality ingredients

Illegal Cheese

Russian chefs who want Italian cheese have reportedly been forced to smuggle it in via Belarus, which imports freely from Europe–and has a trade agreement with Russia


97% Percentage of eligible voters in Scotland who registered to have their say in an independence referendum on Sept. 18


Cumulative number of Ebola cases in the current outbreak in West Africa: 4,985

Deaths: 2,461

Additional funding the U.S. Defense Department is seeking to combat Ebola: $500 million

U.S. troops being sent to the region to support the global response: 3,000

Estimated cost to contain the disease: $1 billion

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Ebola cases and deaths as of Sept. 16


Cases: 936

Deaths: 595


Cases: 1

Deaths: 0


Cases: 1,620

Deaths: 562


Cases: 2,407

Deaths: 1,296


Cases: 21

Deaths: 8

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Total cases





Projected range of cases if the current growth rate is not curbed

July 6

July 26

Aug. 25

Sept. 24

Oct. 24

Sources: WHO; Northeastern University; University of Florida; Fred Hutchinson Center

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