Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

MALMO, Sweden – Under a thick gray sky, Pope Francis was welcomed to Sweden with a small formal ceremony, which conveyed by its brevity that the trip was not a formal state visit, but had another purpose.

VATICAN CITY – In a newly independent nation where more than 70 percent of the population is Christian, leaders of the Christian churches are indignant about the violence raging around them.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis' recent insistence on "walking ecumenism," the notion that Christians will draw closer to each other as they work together to help the poor, should resonate well with Lutherans and Catholics in Sweden.

VATICAN CITY – As Catholics and Lutherans prepare to mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, Pope Francis said they should feel "pain for the division that still exists among us, but also joy for the brotherhood we have already rediscovered."

VATICAN CITY – The extension of Pope Francis' trip to Sweden by one day to accommodate a papal Mass for the nations' Catholics does not detract from the ecumenical power of the trip, but actually highlights the need for Christian unity, said the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation.

VATICAN CITY – Professing belief in the resurrection of the dead and affirming that the human body is an essential part of a person's identity, the Catholic Church insists that the bodies of the deceased be treated with respect and laid to rest in a consecrated place.

VATICAN CITY – Being named a cardinal along with the nuncio who refuses to leave war-torn Syria, an Albanian priest sentenced to death and tortured by an atheist regime and a young African archbishop who put his life on the line to sow peace and reconciliation in Central African Republic has made Cardinal-designate Renato Corti pray and think hard.

VATICAN CITY – Particularly as climate change threatens food production, people need to rediscover the benefits of living simply and with respect for the earth and stop looking at food primarily as an economic commodity to exploit, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY – Meeting a pilgrimage of Catholics and Lutherans from Germany, Pope Francis said he does not like "the contradiction of those who want to defend Christianity in the West, and, on the other hand, are against refugees and other religions."

VATICAN CITY – Catholic missionary orders like the Oblates of Mary Immaculate have as much work to do as ever, Pope Francis said.