The move seems to be an attempt by Francis to clear up any ambiguity about the pontiff's power to replace prelates around the world.
That didn't take long.
Over at America magazine, Jesuit Fr. John W. O'Malley, a university professor in the theology department at Georgetown University and author of What Happened at Vatican II, quickly dismissed Ross Douthat's New York Times Sunday column, "The Pope and the Precipice."
"Many have expressed their concerns to me. ... They are feeling a bit seasick because they feel the church's ship has lost its way."
Bulletins from the Human Side: The synod fathers realized they could not issue a document that the laity would accept unless its words were true to everyday human experience
A Roman Observer: Debate has begun in the Vatican. But there is a problem: A lot of bishops do not seem too pleased about this. Not one bit.
"During his 20 years as pastor in a town on the outskirts of Turin, many paintings, statues, furniture and other objects have been lost and then found in private homes."
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."