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And NPR's Tamara Keith has been listening to that conversation. She covers the White House for NPR. Hey there, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Good morning.

As clerical sex abuse scandals buffet the Catholic Church, a three-week assembly of bishops is under way in Rome on how to make the Church relevant for young people. But the assembly, known as a synod, will likely be dominated by what many analysts call Catholicism's worst crisis since the reformation.

Roughly 250 priests, bishops, cardinals and some younger laypersons are participating in the synod.

In the opening mass, pope Francis urged them "to dream and to hope."

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Like many churchgoers in Romania, retired engineer Marius Tufis opposes same-sex marriage.

"I don't like man with man and woman with woman," he said, frowning in the sun after Sunday's service. "Our religion does not accept this."

Same-sex marriage is already banned in Romanian civil code, but that's not enough for Tufis. He worries that the European Union, which he sees as divided between the liberal West and the conservative East, will force Romania to change the law.

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