Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – Three years ago Pope Francis described retired Pope Benedict XVI as being like a wise grandfather, although there is less than 10 years' difference in their ages; today, Pope Francis tends to include himself in the category of grandfatherly figures.

VATICAN CITY – As the Vatican and Vietnam continue discussions aimed at establishing full diplomatic relations, Pope Francis welcomed President Tran Dai Quang to the Vatican Nov. 23.

VATICAN CITY – Visiting young women rescued from forced prostitution and meeting with a mother inconsolable over the loss of one of her newborn triplets are images from the Year of Mercy that Pope Francis said remain impressed on his heart.

VATICAN CITY – The Catholic Church's 17 new cardinals must dedicate their lives to being ministers of forgiveness and reconciliation in a world – and sometimes a church – often marked by hostility and division, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY – Cardinal-designate Kevin J. Farrell believes the U.S. bishops as a whole should have discussed pastoral guidelines for implementing Pope Francis' exhortation on the family before individual bishops began issuing guidelines for their own dioceses.

VATICAN CITY – The vulnerability of the poor and of future generations to the impact of climate change creates a "serious ethical and moral responsibility to act without delay and as free as possible from political and economic pressure" to slow climate change and protect the environment, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY – The Year of Mercy brought more than 20 million pilgrims to Rome, but for Pope Francis, the idea always was that the celebration of God's mercy would be local: have people experience God's love in their parishes and send them out into the world to commit random acts of mercy.

VATICAN CITY – No matter what the motivation or how seriously threatened one may believe the Catholic Church in China is, the ordination of bishops without a mandate from the pope is a serious violation of church law, the Vatican said.

VATICAN CITY – Praying for cardinals and bishops who died in the past year, Pope Francis urged people to remember the priestly witness they gave.

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SWEDEN – The Catholic Church insistence that it cannot ordain women to the priesthood and episcopacy is a teaching likely to last forever, Pope Francis said.