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.

Pope says focus on morality can obscure Gospel message

VATICAN CITY - In a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with one of his Jesuit confreres, Pope Francis spoke with characteristic frankness about the perils of overemphasizing Catholic teaching on sexual and medical ethics; the reasons for his deliberate and consultative governing style; and his highest priority for the church today.

Pope assures Rome priests that 'sanctity is stronger than scandals'

ROME - Acting in his capacity as bishop of Rome, Pope Francis offered words of encouragement to his diocesan priests, assuring them that recent and current scandals cannot overcome the Church's holiness and urging them to keep their vocations alive through love of God.

Under Pope Francis, Liberation theology comes of age

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis' Sept. 11 meeting with Dominican Father Gustavo Gutierrez was an informal one, held in the in the pope's residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and not listed on his official schedule. Yet the news that Pope Francis had received the 85-year old Peruvian priest, who is widely considered the father of liberation theology, has excited interest far beyond the Vatican's walls.

People who judge are hypocrites, says Pope

VATICAN CITY - People who judge and criticize others are hypocrites and cowards who are unable to face their own defects, Pope Francis said.

Pope, writing in secular newspaper, urges dialogue with non-believers

VATICAN CITY - Writing in one of Italy's major secular newspapers, Pope Francis called for a "sincere and rigourous dialogue" between the Church and non-believers as an "intimate and indispensable expression" of Christian love.

Praying for peace in Syria, Pope calls selfishness the cause of war

VATICAN CITY - Leading a crowd in prayer for peace in Syria, Pope Francis said that war is ultimately caused by selfishness, which can be overcome only though expressions of fraternity and never with violence.

More than 100,000 join Pope in Vatican peace vigil

VATICAN CITY - The Pope called on more than 100,000 people crowded into St. Peter’s on Sept. 7 to always reject violence, to never accept war and to enthusiastically become ambassadors for peace.