The Vatican spokesman has denounced the leak of a private letter to Pope Francis complaining about the way his big family meeting is being run. But he has reminded those responsible that the procedures are set and that they're duty-bound to stick with them.

The Vatican's Cardinal George Pell has effectively confirmed he was behind a letter signed by several conservative cardinals complaining to Francis about a lack of openness in the synod process and warning that it amounted to creating "predetermined results."

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Tuesday that it's not unusual for there to be "observations" expressed about new procedures. "But once they have been established the (synod fathers) should commit themselves to putting them into practice in the best possible way, which is happening."