Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – A few hours after urging priests to be generously available for the sacrament of penance, Pope Francis went to confession, then offered the sacrament to seven Catholics.

VATICAN CITY – Sitting in a circle with nine other bishops, discussing with Pope Francis the joys and challenges of ministry, Bishop Claude Champagne of Edmundston, New Brunswick, said, "I recognized the one who wrote 'The Joy of the Gospel.' It was the same guy."

VATICAN CITY – Between their morning cappuccino and their evening plate of pasta, a group of Catholic students from around the world are studying Arabic and Islam in the heart of Rome's Trastevere neighbourhood.

VATICAN CITY – "The Virgin Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje," said Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, the diocese in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which includes Medjugorje.

VATICAN CITY – Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right and a key component in protecting human life, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY – While the trial of five people accused of leaking confidential Vatican financial documents captured headlines in 2016, the Vatican City court also continued investigating possible financial crimes, freezing more than $2.1 million in assets deposited at the Vatican bank.

VATICAN CITY – The athletes of the Special Olympics witness to the world the beauty and value of every human life and the joy that comes from reaching a goal with the encouragement and support of others, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY – Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, a church law expert and former head of the Vatican's highest court, arrived in Guam Feb. 15 as the presiding judge in a church trial investigating allegations of sexual abuse levelled against Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana.

VATICAN CITY – The provisions of "Amoris Laetitia" allow people in irregular marriage situations access to the sacraments only if they recognize their situation is sinful and desire to change it, according to the cardinal who heads the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

VATICAN CITY – After a handful of public challenges to Pope Francis' teaching and authority, the members of the Pope's international Council of Cardinals began their February meeting expressing their "full support" for his work.