With no Pope in residence, Vatican opens gardens of papal villa

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - The aisle is paved with stone from an ancient Roman road; the apse is made of carefully trimmed evergreen bushes; the columns are tall, thin cypress trees; and the nave is a lily pond, complete with gold fish.

Pope Francis' Korea trip a chance for Catholics to renew faith

NORTHVILLE, Mich. - When St. John Paul II canonized 103 Korean martyrs in 1984 in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Alexius Hong was there to attend the canonization Mass.

Pope Benedict XVI OK’d abusive priest in Paraguay, local bishop says

A showdown between Pope Francis and a conservative bishop in Paraguay is heating up as the bishop rejected charges that he sheltered a priest accused of sexual misconduct, and claimed that Pope Benedict XVI himself vouched for the suspect cleric just days before his election as pope in 2005.

Vatican urges priests to clamp down on excessive emotions during the sign of peace

VATICAN CITY - In an effort to insure a more sober ritual, the Vatican has urged bishops to clamp down on singing, moving around and other casual expressions of affection when the sign of peace is exchanged during Mass.

Changing needs, changing focus: Councils advise, encourage church

VATICAN CITY - The Roman Curia did not have any "pontifical councils" until 1967, but since then they have become a popular structure for focusing attention on practical areas of life in the church and the world.

Changing needs, changing names: Reform of Curia is Vatican tradition

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis and his international Council of Cardinals continue to study the most effective and efficient way to organize the Roman Curia, a large bureaucracy with a long history of expansions and a few, short-term, attempts at consolidation.

Pope Francis to visit Philippines and Sri Lanka in January

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle confirmed July 29 that Pope Francis will visit Jan. 15-19, after spending several days in Sri Lanka.

Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness

VATICAN CITY - Slowing down, being generous and fighting for peace are part of Pope Francis' secret recipe for happiness.

All is lost with war, says Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY - It's time to stop war, fighting and conflicts, which do nothing but kill and maim, leaving children unexploded ordnance for toys and lives without happiness, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis meets 200 Pentecostals in Italy

VATICAN CITY - His voice breaking with emotion, Giovanni Traettino, a Pentecostal pastor in southern Italy and longtime friend of Pope Francis, welcomed the Pope, "my beloved brother," to his partially built church in Caserta.

Vatican revising canon law on abuse penalties

VATICAN CITY - Church law has procedures and penalties for effectively dealing with allegations of clerical sexual abuse, but the Vatican is working to revise a section of the Code of Canon Law to make those norms and procedures clearer and, therefore, more effective, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.