The prelate responsible for shepherding the process said one thing is clear: The coming days will see an "opportunity to deal with existential issues."
Wearing pins declaring "families must have a vote in family synods," a global group pushing for greater inclusivity in the church is meeting here this week in an effort to influence the Vatican's upcoming global meeting of Catholic bishops.
The coalition, known as Catholic Church Reform International and claiming backing of like-minded groups around the world, is calling specifically for more ways for ordinary families to have input in the discussions at the meeting, known as a synod.
Barbie has had a number of careers in her 55 years -- flight attendant, veterinarian, astronaut, even president. Her latest role, however, is raising eyebrows.
NCR Today: Pope Francis has created a new Vatican commission to study a reform of the Catholic church's processes and laws surrounding the sacrament of marriage.
The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash., as the new archbishop of Chicago, confirming Friday's early reports of the appointment.
The Catholic church should make "unconventional couples" feel at home instead of making them targets of "de facto discrimination," the leader of the Italian Bishops Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said this week.
"Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice," said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, an apparent reference to divorced and remarried Catholics.
Pope Francis, a Jesuit, celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola by meeting the family of a Jesuit kidnapped in Syria a year ago and joining them and priests at the Jesuit headquarters for lunch.
Jesuit Fr. Giuseppe Bellucci said the pope had "communicated at the last minute" his desire to join the community at the Jesuit headquarters for lunch Thursday, the feast day of the founder of the Society of Jesus.
"It was a private and simple visit," Bellucci said.
As the Catholic church wrestles with changing community attitudes on key social issues, a new Italian survey finds more support for abortion, gay rights and euthanasia than for cosmetic surgery.
According to the survey published in the daily La Stampa this week, 61 percent of Italians support abortion and 76 percent believe they should be able to request the right to die.
Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, superior of the Jesuits, has named Fr. Thomas H. Smolich, outgoing president of the U.S. Jesuit Conference, to be the next director of Jesuit Refugee Service.
The JRS international office in Rome announced the appointment Tuesday. Smolich will succeed German Jesuit Fr. Peter Balleis.
The crisis of child abuse by clergy is not a thing of the past -- it will linger until the church humbly and courageously reaches out to all people still suffering in silence, said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.
"To some it might seem less than prudent to think that the church would go out of its way to seek out even more victims and survivors," opening up further possibilities for lawsuits, anguish and "trouble," he told representatives from bishops' conferences from around the world.