Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY - Lent is a time of conversion and a time to deepen one's faith, demonstrating and sharing it through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, Pope Francis said.

ROME - After walking across the threshold of the Holy Door with an Orthodox metropolitan and an Anglican archbishop, Pope Francis invoked God's mercy upon divided Christians and apologized for times that Catholics may have hurt members of other denominations.

VATICAN CITY - Religious leaders must identify and publicly distance themselves from extremists preaching animosity toward others, a Vatican official told religious and government leaders from across the Arab world.

ROME - While the Catholic Church affirms that salvation comes through Jesus, it also recognizes that God is faithful and has not revoked his covenant with the Jewish people, Pope Francis said.

ROME - History and geography have combined to make Catholic-Jewish relations in Rome unique, both negatively and positively -- a fact highlighted by modern papal visits to the city's main synagogue just two miles from the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY - Arms flailing, the exuberant and perhaps hyperactive Italian actor and comedian Roberto Benigni described Pope Francis as a masterful minister of God's mercy, which is always active and always on the move.

VATICAN CITY - Being ministers of God's mercy, church members overcome "prejudice and rigidity," taking risks like Jesus did in order to heal and to save, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY - Catholics are called to witness to their faith in Jesus before all people, including Jews, but the Catholic Church "neither conducts nor supports" any institutional missionary initiative directed toward Jews, says a new document from a Vatican commission.

VATICAN CITY - The Holy See and Vatican City State have continued to strengthen their institutional, legal and operational frameworks for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, an international monitoring organization said.

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM AFRICA - Pope Francis told reporters he is well aware that God is a god of surprises, but he had not been prepared for what a surprise his first visit to Africa would be.