Pope Francis passes a crucifix as he walks down steps during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 4. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic New Service

Cardinals gather in Rome as debates on church reform heat up

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Anticipation is mounting for a series of closed-door discussions on Thursday and Friday, when the cardinals will hold what are expected to be frank talks about issues such as contraception, cohabitation, gay marriage and whether divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Communion.