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Have the courage to marry, start a family, pope tells youths in Assisi

VATICAN CITY - In societies that trumpet individual rights, see everything as fleeting and see no value in sticking to something that's difficult, deciding to get married today takes courage, Pope Francis told young people in Assisi.

Pope, in Assisi, calls on Church to renounce 'spirit of the world'

Updated 10/04/13

ASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Making his first pilgrimage as Pope to the birthplace of his papal namesake, Pope Francis called on the whole church to imitate St. Francis of Assisi, embracing poverty and stripping itself of the "spirit of world."

Pope, cardinal advisers looking at major overhaul of Roman Curia

Updated: 10/03/13

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals are laying out plans to completely overhaul the Roman Curia, underlining its role of "service to the universal church and the local churches," the Vatican spokesman said.

Pope and advisory council discuss synod reform on first day

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis and his eight cardinal advisers on Church governance spent much of their first day together discussing reform of the Synod of Bishops, but the Vatican downplayed expectations that their discussions would lead to major changes in the near future.

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Humility, service attract people to church, not power, pride, Pope says

VATICAN CITY - As a series of consultations aimed at the reform of the Vatican bureaucracy began, Pope Francis told his group of cardinal advisers that humility and service attract people to the church, not power and pride.

Pope establishes advisory panel as permanent Council of Cardinals

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis made his international advisory panel on Church governance a permanent council of cardinals, thereby emphasizing the importance and open-endedness of its work among his pontificate's various efforts at reform.

Pope to canonize Blessed John XXIII, John Paul II April 27

VATICAN CITY - Recognizing that Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II have widespread reputations for holiness and that years of studying their lives and actions have proven their exceptional virtue, Pope Francis announced he would declare his two predecessors saints at a single ceremony April 27.

Pope: Church must show what unity looks like, avoid divisions, gossip

VATICAN CITY - Backstabbing and gossip hurt people and harm God's desire for a united human family, Pope Francis said.

Pope Benedict challenges atheist, says he never hid abuse cases

VATICAN CITY - In a letter to an atheist Italian mathematician, retired Pope Benedict XVI defended his own handling of allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and politely criticized the logician's total reliance on scientific facts for meaning.

Hidden behind Pope's summer residence is land of milk and honey

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Not a sound bounced off the smooth white walls and vaulted brick ceiling as a Vatican gardener hunched over a large, empty glass jar. Two other men peered over his shoulder, waiting for the finished product to ooze slowly from the stainless steel spout.

Pope condemns abortion as product of 'throwaway culture'

VATICAN CITY - In his strongest public words to date on the subject of abortion, Pope Francis affirmed the sacredness of unborn human life and linked its defense to the pursuit of social justice.