Pope's embrace was heavenly, says man with disfiguring disease

VATICAN CITY - For someone who has frequently been shunned and humiliated because of a disease that has severely disfigured his entire body, receiving the pope's loving embrace was like being in paradise.

Pope Francis' first apostolic exhortation to be published Nov. 26

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican will publish Pope Francis' first apostolic exhortation Nov. 26, two days after he formally delivers it to the church at a Mass concluding the 2012-13 Year of Faith.

Women religious ask pope for world day of prayer against trafficking

VATICAN CITY - After Pope Francis entrusted two Vatican academies to study the problem of human trafficking, a group of women religious asked the pope to raise greater awareness in the church about the issue by establishing a worldwide day of prayer and fasting.

Getting to meet, understand the other: the path to peace

Interfaith dialogue doesn’t start with an exchange of creeds or comparison of theologies. It begins with friendship.

Saints aren't superheroes, they just never strayed from God, pope says

VATICAN CITY - Saints aren't superheroes, they are regular people who just never left God's side after encountering Him and His love, Pope Francis said on the feast of All Saints.

Bishops asked to assess marriage, family life to prepare for synod

VATICAN CITY - Bishops around the world are being asked to take a realistic look at the situation of families under their care and at how effective pastoral and educational programs have been at promoting Church teaching on sexuality, marriage and family life.

Pope Francis set to create first batch of cardinals in February

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will create his first cardinals during a consistory Feb. 22, the feast of the Chair of St. Peter.

In times of trouble, Pope says, call on the communion of saints

VATICAN CITY - Trials and doubts are part of everyone's faith journey, "even mine," Pope Francis said, but Christians know they can get through the hard times with help from God, other Christians and those in heaven.

Outgoing Vatican secretary of state stresses continuity between popes

VATICAN CITY - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who as Vatican secretary of state drew rising criticism for failures of the Vatican bureaucracy he oversaw, stepped down Oct. 15 with a speech praising the pontificate of retired Pope Benedict XVI and stressing its continuity with that of Pope Francis.

Pope opening Church to new possibilities

Catholics may be getting used to a Pope who says the unexpected. “Who am I to judge?” “The court is the leprosy of the papacy.” “Proselytism is solemn nonsense.” “How I would like a Church that is poor and for the poor.”

Pope declares medieval mystic a saint, advances seven other causes

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of seven men and women, including a Canadian and an English founder of two religious orders for women.