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.
Bishops meeting at the Vatican to discuss issues of family life have to relearn how to do theology in order to address contemporary concerns, one archbishop said.
During this morning's discussions, "there was no sense of doom or gloom or despair," but a desire to share ideas that are working to promote church teaching.
The prelate responsible for shepherding the process said one thing is clear: The coming days will see an "opportunity to deal with existential issues."
Cardinal Raymond Burke said Pope Francis can't change current church teaching because he and all bishops "are held to obedience to the truth" about marriage, and that cannot change.
The synod on the family will not open until Oct. 5, but some of its members are already debating one of its most controversial topics.
Bulletins from the Human Side: Midsummer madness should be a liturgical season in the three-ring circus of the official church, which is not necessarily the People of God.
The series of discussions have now begun a more "concrete" phase with "putting ink on paper" in the form of a draft for the introduction to a new constitution.
"Doctrine and pastoral practice cannot be contradictory. One cannot maintain the indissolubility of marriage by allowing the 'remarried' to receive Communion."
In the past year, many have noticed a "Francis effect" taking place around the world as throngs of disaffected Catholics have given the church a second look. Yet we may rightly wonder whether this is actually a double effect -- for not only are lay Catholics returning to the pews, but some clergy are feeling empowered to reach toward the ambiguous margins of modern belief.