Pope Francis began meeting this morning with cardinals from around the world, launching a series of discussions that could lead to changes in the church's pastoral practices on family life.
No one knows exactly what the Council of Cardinals say to each other when they get together, but we know their talks involve financial reform, laity and family life.
Retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian who has been searching for a new pastoral approach to divorced and remarried Catholics for more than 20 years, was scheduled to address the Feb. 20-21 meeting of the College of Cardinals in preparation for the Synod of Bishops on the family.
Pope Francis has said that the situation of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics will be one of the key topics of discussion at the extraordinary synod he has scheduled for Oct. 5-19.
Pope Francis began meeting Monday for the third time with the Council of Cardinals, but it remains unclear just what reforms are in the offing.
Faith and Justice: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been publicly criticized as of late, something unthinkable under the last two papacies.
Analysis: The prospect of a weakened papacy seemed plausible in the wake of Pope Benedict's announcement, but the world has watched his successor make the office stronger.
Perspective: The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI caught the world by surprise, but after the shock wore off, it didn't seem all that surprising.
"It is fascinating to see how Pope Francis is encouraging, reviving and renewing the church," Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said.
Pope Francis reconfirmed Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and German Bishop Josef Clemens as secretary.
Among the 14 new members named Thursday were Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia; Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila, Philippines; Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna; and Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany, who is also part of the pope's eight-member Council of Cardinals that advises the pope on reorganizing the Roman Curia.
All Things Catholic: When Pope Francis says he wants a greater role for women, his ideas seem to have little to do with office-holding of any sort.