Faith and Justice: The synod process has been in place since Pope Paul VI's papacy, but the synod on the family has some aspects that are uniquely Pope Francis.
A Roman Observer: Pope Francis has succeeded in cracking open a frank and lively debate among bishops on issues many of them were told were not up for discussion.
"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."
Analysis: Listening, respecting, welcoming, dialogue are words repeated throughout the Synod of Bishops' new document. Condemnation and marginalization are nowhere to be found.
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.
One theme said to be included in the synod: how the prelates use labels that "are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to the church."
"I wonder, though, if it is helpful to frame pastoral questions as totally distinct from doctrinal issues; to me, this downplays the significance of the challenges families face."
The separation of married couples is a huge issue in the Philippines and other parts of Asia, not because of divorce but because poverty pushes couples to separate in search of jobs abroad, said Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila.
While he hopes the pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried couples is debated openly and with good will, he said he also hopes members of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops give appropriate consideration to the impact of poverty and migration on families and to a host of other issues that help or hinder family life.
I loved the banner that Catholic Church Reform International carried into St. Peter's Square: "Families must have vote in family synods." A great expression of obvious logic.
That banner hits the nail on the head on two scores: First, it's a bit ridiculous to have a synod on the family when only celibate prelates can engage in formal discussion and vote. Second, it underlines our need for democratic forms of decision-making in the church.
The Vatican spokesman says his daily briefings will give "an effective feeling of what has happened in the room in the diverse languages with the diverse fathers."