Pope Francis applauds Trump, Kim meeting in North Korea

ROME -- After U.S. President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to set foot in North Korea, Pope Francis called his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a positive step toward world peace.

Secrecy of confession must never be violated, Vatican says

VATICAN CITY -- In the light of "a worrying negative prejudice" against the Catholic Church, Pope Francis ordered the publication of a document affirming the absolute secrecy of everything said in confession and calling on priests to defend it at all costs, even at the cost of their lives.

Pope Francis: Goal of ecumenism is unity, not leveling differences

VATICAN CITY -- At the end of Mass on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Francis and Orthodox Archbishop Job of Telmessos walked down the stairs under the main altar in St. Peter's Basilica and prayed together at the apostle's tomb.

Retired Pope Benedict: Unity in church prevails over division

VATICAN CITY -- "The unity of the church is always at risk" and has been throughout its history, but "its unity always has been stronger than its internal struggles and wars," said retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Vatican tells clergy in China to follow their conscience

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has told bishops and priests in China that they must follow their own consciences in deciding whether to register with the government, and it urged Catholics in the country not to judge them for the choices they make.

Married priest debate set to rise again

When bishops start talking this fall about ordaining married men to serve as priests in their own, remote, Indigenous communities in the Amazon, bishops in northern Canada will be listening closely.

Pope Francis gives seafarer chaplains special powers

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis gave priests who minister to seafarers special permission to grant absolution for sins that usually would require the intervention of a bishop or the Vatican itself.

Pope Francis: Must overcome indifference, apathy to fight hunger

VATICAN CITY -- If the world is to succeed in eradicating the scourge of hunger, it must first fight against the indifference, apathy and broken promises that allow the crisis to continue, Pope Francis said.

Doctors are called to be ‘servants’ of life

VATICAN CITY -- Catholic doctors have a mission to show God’s compassionate love to those who are suffering and to defend life at all stages, Pope Francis said.

U.S. bishops join Pope Francis reacting to photos of drowned migrant father, child

WASHINGTON -- U.S. bishops joined Pope Francis in expressing sadness after seeing photos of the lifeless bodies of a migrant father and his daughter who drowned near the U.S. border with Mexico.

Abuse battle expands to lay movements

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has expanded its fight against sex abuse in the Church by giving all lay movements and associations a December deadline to submit formal guidelines and protocols for reporting and preventing cases of abuse.