Papacy stronger after turbulent year

VATICAN CITY - When Pope Benedict XVI announced, on Feb. 11, 2013, that he would become the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign, speculation was as varied as it was excited about the long-term consequences of his historic act. But one common line of thought held that, for better or worse, his decision might leave the papacy a less exalted and powerful office, bringing the supreme pontiff closer to the level of other bishops, clergy and faithful.

Cardinals outline broad approaches to family ministry, spokesman says

VATICAN CITY - As some 150 cardinals from around the world gathered with Pope Francis to talk about the family, their two days of discussion focused particularly on three points: the Christian vision of people and family life; essential pastoral programs to support families; and ministry to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Pope Francis names presidents for synod on family

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis named a French, a Philippine and a Brazilian cardinal to serve as the three presidents of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family in October.

Pope Francis calls for flexibility, patience as he opens talks on Church teaching

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis opened a major two-day meeting on the Church’s approach to the complexities of modern family life today, telling the world’s Catholic cardinals that the Church needs a “pastoral” approach that is “intelligent, courageous and full of love” and not focused on abstract arguments.

Cardinals gather in Rome as debates on Church reform heat up

VATICAN CITY - High-level debates over Catholic teachings on marriage and divorce and other hot-button issues heated up today (Feb. 19) as a highly anticipated effort to overhaul the Vatican bureaucracy slogged through the devilish details of financial reform.

Living in remodeled convent, Pope Benedict is not cloistered, aides say

VATICAN CITY - In retirement, Pope Benedict XVI follows a daily schedule similar to that of any retired bishop or religious: He prays, reads, strolls, talks with people and offers them spiritual advice, the Vatican spokesman said.

Pope Francis urges Sri Lankans to reconcile, accepts invitation to visit

VATICAN CITY - When civil strife, conflict and bloodshed have pitted people of different ethnic groups against one another, reconciliation is particularly difficult, but it's still the only way to ensure a better future for all, Pope Francis told a large group of Sri Lankan pilgrims.

Did Pope Francis really say that? Probably not

Did you hear that Pope Francis plans to call a Third Vatican Council? Or that he uncovered previously unknown Bible verses? Or that he sees the story of Adam and Eve as just a fable?

Pope Francis: Sacrifice key to reaping wealth of God's love, fighting misery

VATICAN CITY - Courageously follow Jesus in seeking out the poor and sinners, and in making difficult sacrifices in order to help and heal others, Pope Francis said.

Canada likely to have new saints before year's end, Jesuit says

VATICAN CITY - Three key figures in the establishment of the Catholic Church in Canada and in Brazil are likely to be declared saints before the end of the year, said a Jesuit who is helping prepare the material needed for their canonizations.

Pope Francis' first Lenten message to focus on poverty, generosity

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has chosen the theme, "He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich," for this year's Lenten message, said a Vatican statement Jan. 31.