During a meeting with families, the pope praised his predecessor Paul VI, who wrote Humane Vitae and "had the strength to defend openness to life."
Within weeks, the Vatican said in a statement Thursday, bishops' conferences around the world will be receiving preparatory documents for the 2015 synod.
"It's not new for us. ... It's not a revolution. It's an affirmation of various intuitions of the church in Asia and of the universal church."
Grace on the Margins: Why don't most justice-oriented Catholics in the United States get upset about the church's ban on contraception anymore? The problem, I believe, is privilege.
"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."
Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka from Jan. 12-15, then spend Jan. 15-19 in the Philippines, the Vatican and Philippines bishops announced Tuesday.
The 51st International Eucharistic Congress will be in Cebu, central Philippines, Jan. 24-30, 2016, and cardinals in that country are already planning for "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
"As we prepare for the visit of Pope Francis next year, let us resolve ... to see the goodness in everyone and live the mercy of the Gospel."
Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila in recent public addresses grabbed the opportunity to challenge Catholic laity to do more to transform Philippines society.
For Philippines Cardinal Luis Tagle, the Synod of Bishops on the family is a "hopeful" sign that the church is willing to listen to the difficulties families experience.