Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY -- After accepting the resignation of 92-year-old Cardinal Angelo Sodano as dean of the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis changed the norms of the office so that the dean would be elected to a five-year term renewable only once.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis and the secretary-general of the United Nations said that, like millions of people around the world, during the Christmas season their thoughts turn to yearnings for peace and for the well-being of those in need.

VATICAN CITY -- Putting up a Nativity scene before Christmas is a reminder to stop and remember what Christmas is really about and to prepare one's heart like a manger for the coming of Christ, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has abolished the obligation of secrecy for those who report having been sexually abused by a priest and for those who testify in a church trial or process having to do with clerical sexual abuse.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis blessed hundreds of figurines of the baby Jesus -- ranging from tiny plastic figures to life-sized statues -- and encouraged children to make sure they have Nativity scenes at home.

VATICAN CITY -- On the eve of his 83rd birthday, Pope Francis met with a group of his peers -- although many were a few years younger -- and told them that "old age is a time of grace."

VATICAN CITY -- The saints are "the true light of the church," so before they are proposed to all Catholics for imitation and veneration, a scrupulous investigation is required, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY -- Anyone who wants to experience the consolation and tenderness of God simply needs to go to confession, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.

VATICAN CITY -- Mary, conceived without sin, is a "masterpiece" who reflects "the beauty of God who is all love, grace and self-giving," Pope Francis said on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis told Jesuits in Thailand he was "scandalized" by some of the anti-migrant rhetoric he hears in Europe, and he is convinced people are being manipulated into thinking the only way they can preserve their lifestyles is by building walls.