Faith and Justice: The synod process has been in place since Pope Paul VI's papacy, but the synod on the family has some aspects that are uniquely Pope Francis.
Upholding the Christian ideal of marriage and family life while also reaching out to those whose lives do not reflect that ideal is a pastoral challenge faced by all Christian communities, said the Anglican representative to the Synod of Bishops.
Anglican Bishop Paul Butler of Durham, England, and "fraternal delegates" from seven other Christian communities addressed the synod Oct. 10. Butler also spoke to Vatican Radio on Wednesday as synod members worked in small groups to amend the assembly's midterm report.
Despite worries about the impact of millions of tourists on Michelangelo's precious frescoes, the Sistine Chapel is opening its doors for the first time to a new kind of tourist to support Pope Francis' charities.
Porsche enthusiasts will pay 5,000 euros ($6,400) each for a tour in and around Rome that will include an exclusive after-hours concert inside the Sistine Chapel and a dinner in the Vatican Museums on Saturday.
Analysis: The English-speaking bishops at the synod want a fuller presentation of the theology of marriage, the elimination of confusing passages, and more.
Questions over the tone presented by the synod toward gay people dominated conversations Thursday, after the Vatican seemingly tried to water down its message of openness.
Synod14 -- Eleventh General Assembly: "Relatio post disceptationem" of the General Rapporteur, Card. Péter Erdő, 13.10.2014
The document, said Barcelona Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, is "far from being complete," but it is a collection of what was said in the first week of the synod.
A midpoint report from this month's Synod of Bishops reveals that Catholic leaders are considering more conciliatory language toward gays and lesbians, divorced and remarried Catholics, and couples who live together before getting married.
Meeting with nearly 200 senior prelates and several dozen lay experts and observers at the Vatican, Pope Francis has deliberately engineered a lively discussion of issues concerning marriage and family life. This assembly, and a follow-up summit in 2015, will help shape the pontiff's legacy.
South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier said the synod's relatio has put the prelates in "a position that is virtually irredeemable."
"This morning in the free discussion, some of the synod fathers and participants said openly that they felt the spirit of Vatican II very much."