VATICAN CITY — Halfway through their meetings, Pope Francis and his council of cardinals have addressed many different themes, but the formation and care of families is a top priority in upcoming discussions.

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

But Father Lombardi said that the pastoral care of families is the next major point of discussion in upcoming sessions.

The council of eight cardinals began their first session of meetings Tuesday, and they are due to finish on Thursday.

During the briefing, Father Lombardi said the first day's agenda included a morning session that ran from about 9am until 12:30pm, with an afternoon session scheduled between 4pm and 7pm Rome time. Those sessions discussed the theme of the upcoming synod assembly and the organization of the Synod of Bishops.

He also said 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 St. Martha guesthouse of the Vatican, where the Holy Father resides.

Father Lombardi also explained 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 each of their respective areas.

In the question-and-answer session of the briefing, he also addressed the recent interview with the Pope published in the Italian daily La Repubblica. Father Lombardi said that the text, like that of other recent interviews with the Holy Father, represents a “conversational” and “colloquial” method of communication.

“It is not,” he said, “a magisterial document.”

The members of the council of cardinals concelebrated Mass with Pope Francis in the chapel of St. Martha's House on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and they are scheduled to do so again on Thursday, before the start of their final morning session for this set of meetings.