Cameras, flashes and shouting welcomed cardinals arriving at the New Synod Hall in the Vatican.
Once again, these prelates got a full paparazzi treatment as they meet to discuss the topic of the Catholic family, in preparation for a synod later this year.
Pope Francis arrived on foot, walking just a few feet from his home at Casa Santa Marta.
In addition to greeting the journalists, he shook hands with all security staff, including the two Swiss Guards.
One by one, all cardinals arrived, including the newest members. Once inside, the Pope welcomed them, before kicking off this Extraordinary Consistory.
POPE'S SPEECH TO CARDINALS
I extend a warm greeting to you all and, with you, I thank the Lord who has given us these days of meeting and working together. We welcome especially our brothers who will be created Cardinals on Saturday and we accompany them with our prayers and fraternal affection.
During these days, we will reflect in particular on the family, which is the fundamental cell of society. From the beginning the Creator blessed man and woman so that they might be fruitful and multiply, and so the family then is an image of the Triune God in the world.
Our reflections must keep before us the beauty of the family and marriage, the greatness of this human reality which is so simple and yet so rich, consisting of joys and hopes, of struggles and sufferings, as is the whole of life. We will seek to deepen the theology of the family and discern the pastoral practices which our present situation requires. May we do so thoughtfully and without falling into "casuistry”, because this would inevitably diminish the quality of our work. Today, the family is looked down upon and mistreated. We are called to acknowledge how beautiful, true and good it is to start a family, to be a family today; and how indispensable the family is for the life of the world and for the future of humanity. We are called to make known God’s magnificent plan for the family and to help spouses joyfully experience this plan in their lives, as we accompany them amidst so many difficulties.
We thank Cardinal Walter Kasper for his valuable contribution which he will offer us with his introduction.
Thank you all, and have a good day!