German 'synod' will proceed despite Vatican objections

MUNICH, Germany (CNA) -- The head of the German bishops’ conference told Vatican officials last week that addressing controversial theological topics during the German bishops’ proposed “binding synodal path” will be a service to the universal Church.

Pope Francis: Life without parole is no solution to crime

VATICAN CITY -- Sentencing someone to life in prison without the possibility of parole is "not the solution to problems, but a problem to solve," Pope Francis told Italian prison guards, prison chaplains and officials from the Ministry of Justice.

Papal commission for protection of minors meets in Rome

VATICAN CITY -- Members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors meeting in Rome said there was a continued need to make safeguarding consistently part of the life of the church around the world.

Pope Francis urges Eastern Catholic bishops to promote ecumenism

VATICAN CITY -- Praising the fidelity of Eastern Catholics, Pope Francis also urged them to be more active in the search for Christian unity, especially unity with their Orthodox counterparts.

Prince Charles to attend Newman’s canonization in Rome

VATICAN CITY (CNA) -- Prince Charles will attend the canonization of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman next month.

Pope Francis to visit Thailand, Japan in November

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis will finally fulfill his desire to be a missionary to Japan when he visits the country, as well as Thailand, Nov. 20-26, the Vatican announced.

Pope Francis explains giving St. Peter's relics to Orthodox

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said giving fragments of St. Peter's bones to the head of the church founded by Peter's brother, St. Andrew, was meant to be a reminder and encouragement of the journey toward Christian unity.

Cardinal Etchegaray a key papal envoy

VATICAN CITY -- Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a longtime Vatican official and papal envoy who was sent to some of the world’s most wounded and challenging places, died in France Sept. 4. He was 96.

Vatican: German synod plans must conform to church law

VATICAN CITY -- The German bishops' plans for a two-year process of consultation and deliberation on key issues facing the Catholic Church must conform to universal church law and must be approved by the pope, said the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Get ready to get dirty, Pope Francis tells new bishops

VATICAN CITY -- New bishops need to prepare for a life filled with God's surprises, with daily plans that change at the last minute and, especially, for a life dedicated to spending time with God and with the people, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis calls for global alliance for education

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said the challenges facing humanity and the Earth are so urgent and important that he has invited world leaders, educators and young people to come to the Vatican next spring to launch a global alliance for building a new, more humane future.