Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY - Just days before Rwanda was to begin a weeklong period of official mourning to mark the 20th anniversary of its genocide, Pope Francis urged the country's bishops to be resolute in continuing the work of healing and reconciliation.

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis, accepting the recommendations of his international Council of Cardinals and other advisory groups, has decided the Vatican bank will continue to exist and has approved a plan to increase its transparency and accountability.

ROME - A 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit who refused to leave wartorn Syria, instead staying in Homs to help the poor and homeless, was beaten by armed men and killed with two bullets to the head, according to an e-mail sent by the Jesuits' Middle East province to the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Christians and Jews must work together to fight all forms of discrimination and persecution, Pope Francis told a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has authorized a leave of absence for a German bishop at the centre of controversy over expenditures for his residence and diocesan centre.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - As the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation approaches, "Catholics and Lutherans can ask forgiveness for the harm they have caused one another and for their offenses committed in the sight of God," Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - After giving a morning Mass homily on the virtue of poverty, Pope Francis held a private meeting Oct. 21 with a German bishop under fire for a massive building project that critics have denounced as extravagant.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - The president of the German bishops' conference said he was "strengthened and encouraged" by his discussion with Pope Francis about the case of a German bishop under fire for a massive building project that critics have denounced as extravagant.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "As a good Jesuit," Pope Francis knows it is best not to try to make a retreat where one lives and works, so he has decided the annual papal Lenten retreat with Roman Curia officials will be held outside Rome, a Vatican spokesman said.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Pope Francis gave Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a fancy pen as a gift, and Abbas told the pope, "I hope to sign the peace agreement with Israel with this pen."

Pope Francis responded with his hope that the agreement would be reached "soon, soon."