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February 17, 2014 AT 10:13 AM
Meetings this week between Pope Francis and his cardinals will deal with some of the thorniest issues facing the church, including the rejection by most Catholics of some of its core teaching on premarital sex, contraception, gays and divorce. German Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has called for "changes and openings" in the church's treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics, will give the keynote speech Thursday to the pope and cardinals attending a preparatory meeting for an October summit on family issues. The cardinals are in town for Saturday's ceremony to formally install 19 new "princes of the church," the first batch named by Francis to join the group of churchmen who will elect his successor. Saturday's ceremony is the high point of an intensive week of meetings presided over by Francis that include the first proposals to put the Vatican's financial house in order.