In a message to families, the Synod of Bishops outlines a situation of "light and shadow" around the world and says married love "shines out brightly, warming bodies and souls."
Q and A: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz says the synod on the family is starting a process of discernment among the church's prelates.
"Saying that the doctrine will never change is a restrictive view of things. ... The core of the Catholic church remains the Gospel, but have we discovered everything?"
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.
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.
The church of Christ is called to keep the light of hope alive in the world, showing all humanity the path leading to "the merciful face of God" and salvation in Christ, Pope Francis said.
Focusing his general audience talk Wednesday on the ultimate destiny of the church and all its members, Pope Francis asked the estimated 30,000 people in St. Peter's Square to repeat with him three times: "We will be with God forever."
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.
South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier said the synod's relatio has put the prelates in "a position that is virtually irredeemable."
"While the Church must welcome those in difficulty, it would be useful to speak more widely about those families who remain faithful to the teachings of the Gospel."