The following comes from an October 21 Catholic News Agency article by Elise Harris:

Despite pastoral challenges posed by divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics, many synod fathers are in favor of current Church teaching and practice according to a new round of small group reports.

“The majority without full consensus affirmed the current teaching and practice of the Church regarding the participation in the Eucharist of those who are divorced and civilly remarried,” reads a new report from group “A” of the four English-speaking synod circles.

The vast majority of the group’s members affirmed the current pastoral practice regarding the reception of communion by divorced-and-civilly-remarried individuals.

Published October 21, the prelates’ observations came in the third set of small group reports released during this year’s synod of bishops on the family. There are 13 languages groups, which include English, Spanish, Italian, French and German.

The strongest advocates of Church teaching and current pastoral practice were found among the Italian and English-speaking groups. Spanish-speaking groups were unclear, and the German group voiced support for change. Although the topic came up within the French-speaking groups, it was not a major point of discussion – rather than focus on access to communion, they touched on the Pope’s revamped annulment process.

In the final week participants have turned to the third part, “The mission of the family today,” which has been the most widely discussed section so far.

In the report for the English speaking group  “C,” participants noted that there was general agreement among them that a “more effective pastoral accompaniment” was needed for divorced and civilly remarried persons.

However, the group said there was “little enthusiasm” when it came to the penitential path proposed by the meeting’s guiding document, called the “Instrumentum Laboris.”

In the end the group said they voted to replace paragraphs 122-125 of the Instrumentum Laboris “with an affirmation of the Church’s current discipline” in terms of the reception of communion, and they recommended “the forms of participation mentioned in Familiaris Consortio, 84.”

Group “D” of the English language circles emphasized that life in the Church can’t be reduced to just receiving communion, and cited catechumens – those preparing to enter the Church – as one example of the “huge segments” of faithful who throughout the history of the Church did not receive the sacrament, yet were “clearly considered” full members.

A call was made within the group for a special commission that would study the issue of admittance to communion for the divorced and remarried “over a longer period of time with greater theological precision.”

The “C” group asked that the section of the report dedicated to homosexuality be briefer, and that “a clear statement of Church teaching that same-sex unions are in no way equivalent to marriage.”

Other groups felt that the topic of pastoral care for persons with homosexual tendencies and their families deserved an entire synod meeting on its own.