The Vatican press office is defending its reporting of a big meeting on family issues after a dispute arose over what Pope Francis told bishops behind closed doors about his hopes for a free and open debate.

One of the participants in the synod, the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, tweeted earlier this week that Francis had warned the prelates against falling into a "conspiracy" mindset as they discuss how the church can better minister to Catholic families, gays, divorcees and couples in civil unions.

But in his briefing to reporters Tuesday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn't quote Francis as making such an explosive and critical admonition. Lombardi later confirmed that Francis did indeed say it, but insisted he is not obliged to quote everything that everyone says.