Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

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."