The church must defend the traditional family without perpetuating the subjugation of women or forcing them to bear the burden for the family, speakers at a Vatican conference said.
Pope Francis recently described reform in the church as a two-step process. First, he said, one has to get the "attitudes" right, then policies and structures will follow.
If much of his first eight months in office has been about projecting new attitudes, Oct. 1-3 may be remembered as the moment when stage two kicked in and the pope got down to business.
Over those days, Francis joined the first meeting of his new Council of Cardinals, a body of eight prelates from around the world intended to bring the voices of local churches into decisions made in Rome.
Longtime church historian Jesuit Fr. John O'Malley said he sees potential for church reform, even if it's just from the new tone and message coming from Rome.
The prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict XVI said calling Pope Francis' acts a "revolution" is "frivolous."
Could a woman vote for the next pope? Whether it's even possible is a matter of debate, but that hasn't stopped feverish speculation.
"As a good Jesuit," Pope Francis knows it is best not to try to make a retreat where one lives and works, so he has decided the annual papal Lenten retreat with Roman Curia officials will be held outside Rome, a Vatican spokesman said.
The annual retreat will take place March 9-14 at the Pauline Fathers' retreat and conference center in Ariccia, a town about 20 miles southeast of Rome, said Passionist Fr. Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office.
One lucky U.S. pilgrim switched zucchettos with Pope Francis on Wednesday, but only for a moment.
The organization that manages the Vatican's assets said Tuesday it would submit its operations to outside financial review in what could be the first such audit of the Vatican's coffers.
The Vatican is about to launch its own cricket club and will field a women's squad if it finds enough players.
"It may be that instead of watching players who go out to play with cricket caps on, we're going to have a series who play with veils on as they bat up," said John McCarthy, a former cricket player and Australia's ambassador to the Holy See.
Saying he wanted to ensure the spiritual care and religious formation of employees, Pope Francis announced he was making the new secretary-general of Vatican City a bishop.
The Vatican announced the pope's decision to make Fr. Fernando Vergez a bishop Tuesday and published the pope's letter explaining the decision. The 68-year-old member of the Legionaries of Christ was named secretary-general in late August.