Halfway through their meetings, the council of cardinals and Pope Francis have addressed many different themes, with the formation and care of families slated to be a high priority.

During an Oct. 2 press briefing on the current status of the meetings, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi revealed that so far the council has reflected on the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council and the upcoming Synod of Bishops.

Although the topic has not yet been touched upon by the council, Fr. Lombardi expressed that the pastoral care of families will be a major point of discussion in upcoming sessions.

The council of eight Cardinals began their first session of meetings Tuesday, Oct. 1, and are due to finish on Thursday, Oct. 3.

During the briefing, Fr. Lombardi recalled that the agenda for the first day included a morning session that ran from about 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., with an afternoon session scheduled between 4 p.m. And 7 p.m. Rome time, in which the discussion surrounded the theme of the upcoming Synod Assembly, and the organization of the Synod of Bishops.

Further updating those present, the press director noted that Pope Francis is taking an active part in the meetings, which have changed venue from the Apostolic Palace library, to a conference room in the Santa Marta guesthouse of the Vatican, where the Holy Father resides.

Fr. Lombardi was careful to clarify that the eight cardinals who compose the council were chosen due to their extensive experience and knowledge of the current situation of the Church, and in each of their respective areas.

In the question and answer session of the briefing, much attention was paid to a recent interview with the Pope that was published in the Italian daily "La Repubblica." On the topic, Fr. Lombardi stressed that the text, like that of other recent interviews with the Holy Father, represent a "conversational" and "colloquial" method of communication.

"It is not," he explained, "a magisterial document."

The members of the council of cardinals celebrated Mass alongside Pope Francis in the chapel of Santa Marta on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and are scheduled to do so again on Thursday before the start of their final morning session for this set of meetings.