Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY -- The bishops of Germany, reacting to an independent study of the extent of clerical sexual abuse in their country and its possible causes, chose to initiate a "synodal" process that was not a synod or a plenary council.

VATICAN CITY -- The search for Christian unity must involve all aspects of the churches' lives, including their different church laws, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY -- Before members of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon began packing their bags for the synod assembly at the Vatican Oct. 6-27, a variety of groups were announcing side events.

VATICAN CITY -- The Catholic Church will endure, despite the frailty and sins of its members, because it is God's project, Pope Francis said.

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.

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.

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.

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.

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM MADAGASCAR -- No one really knows what the future of the news media will be, but it will have no future if reporters and the public cannot distinguish between facts and fiction, Pope Francis said.

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM MADAGASCAR -- Pope Francis told reporters he hoped and prayed the Catholic Church would not experience a new schism, but human freedom means people always have had and will have the "schism option."