A pastoral approach that doesn't renounce the indissolubility of the sacrament, yet doesn't automatically exclude the faithful is needed, a canon lawyer said.
Young Voices: As a Catholic newlywed, there are three concerns I would have mention if Pope Francis had invited me to address the synod on the family.
Analysis: The American Procedural Norms of the 1960s streamlined the church's judicial process for tens of thousands of American Catholics.
Existing programs aimed at helping Catholic families are not strong enough to meet modern needs, a Wisconsin couple told the Synod of Bishops.
"The church constantly faces the tension of upholding the truth while expressing compassion and mercy. Families face this tension all the time."
Grace on the Margins: "As we gain wisdom ... our hope can be that we -- the whole church -- will find healing words that will both strengthen marriages."
"Biblical teaching regarding the family is quite widespread, but there is much work that remains to be done in terms of ... church teaching on marriage."
Francis Chronicles: "The love of Christ ... is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out."
In a long and complex article in the Sept. 15 issue of America magazine, Cardinal Walter Kasper discusses how mercy is understood in the Gospel and in the teaching of Pope Francis. He applies this to the possibility of permitting those in second marriages to be absolved and returned to the church in good standing. This issue is now under discussion in preparation for the upcoming synod, Kasper says, and it is clear he will be one of those pushing enthusiastically for change in the near future.
Among the men and women Pope Francis is set to unite in marriage are Catholics who have been living together as well as couples who already have children.
The pope will preside over his first wedding ceremony as pontiff during a nuptial Mass on Sunday in St. Peter's Basilica.
The event, which will see 20 couples from the Rome diocese celebrate the sacrament of marriage, was organized by the vicariate of Rome.
"Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others," the diocese said in a press release Wednesday.