Under Pope Francis, Church entering a 'new era'

OXFORD, England - The cardinal who heads Pope Francis' Council of Cardinals said the Catholic Church is entering a "new era" and accused critics of the Pope's statements on economic injustice of failing to "understand reality."

Pope, French president discuss controversial laws on family, bioethics

VATICAN CITY - When Pope Francis met French President Francois Hollande at the Vatican Jan. 24, their discussions about human dignity touched on several topics of tension between the French church and government, including the family and bioethics, the Vatican said.

Pope says judgments on annulments must be impartial and pastoral

VATICAN CITY - Addressing the Vatican court primarily responsible for hearing requests for marriage annulments, Pope Francis said judges on church tribunals should show "imperturbable and impartial balance" as well as the "delicacy and humanity proper to a pastor of souls."

Opus Dei announces beatification date for Msgr. del Portillo

VATICAN CITY - The prelature of Opus Dei has announced that Msgr. Alvaro del Portillo, the successor to Opus Dei founder St. Jose Maria Escriva, will be beatified Sept. 27 in Madrid.

Pope says Internet a 'gift from God,' should be used for solidarity

VATICAN CITY - Like the good Samaritan, who stopped on the road to help a person in need, travelers along today's communication highways should offer support to those they encounter there, Pope Francis said.

At Rome parish, pope meets with migrants, homeless, youths

ROME - Meeting 80 immigrants assisted by members of a Rome parish, Pope Francis said leaving one's homeland is always painful, but faith can give one the strength to keep going.

Vatican panel says violence is 'greatest corruption of religion' 

VATICAN CITY - Violence is the "greatest corruption of religion," while belief in a single God is the "principle and source of love between human beings," says a new study by a Vatican advisory panel of theologians.

Mexican bishop rebukes government for crackdown on self-defense groups

NUEVA ITALIA, Mexico - A Mexican bishop has rebuked the federal government for sending soldiers to grab the guns of the self-defense groups formed to fight off violent drug cartels and criminal gangs in the western state of Michoacan.

Pope picks Quebec's Gerald Lacroix to become a cardinal

Pope Francis has selected Quebec archbishop Gerald Lacroix to become Canada's newest cardinal.

Pope says abortion, hunger, environmental damage threaten peace

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis said world peace requires the defense of human dignity from violations such as world hunger, human trafficking and abortion.

Pope to moms: It's OK to breast-feed in public, even in Sistine Chapel

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis assured mothers that breast-feeding their babies in public, even during a papal Mass in the Sistine Chapel, is OK.