The Vatican's scheduled May appearance before a United Nations committee monitoring adherence to an anti-torture treaty is being done willingly, the Vatican said.
Pope Francis' dramatic appearance at a March prayer vigil with the families of Mafia victims, where he said he would plead on bended knee with Mafia bosses to "stop doing evil," has highlighted the Catholic church's role in combatting Italian organized crime.
"Pope Francis awakens consciences. Many who were a long way from the church are now asking to be baptized," said Fr. Luigi Ciotti, founder of the Italian anti-Mafia association Libera, which organized the March 21 vigil in Rome. "The pope brings a moral renewal that touches everyone. Every day I see the results."
Pope Francis has named British sociologist and professor Margaret Archer as the new president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
She is the second female president of the papal academy and succeeds U.S. law professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon, who served two five-year terms as head of the academy from 2004 to 2014.
The Vatican made the announcement Saturday.
Archer, who was born in 1943, has been a member of the pontifical academy since its establishment in 1994.
"I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil that some priests ... and to ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done by sexually abusing children."
In the past, Catholics who answered their bishops' call to serve on abuse commissions were ignored. Will the new commission be more of the same?
Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper at a Rome rehabilitation facility for the elderly and people with disabilities.
He will preside over the Holy Thursday evening Mass and foot-washing ritual at the Father Carlo Gnocchi Foundation's Our Lady of Providence Center on the outskirts of Rome, the Vatican announced Tuesday.
Last year, the pope celebrate the Holy Thursday liturgy at Rome's Casal del Marmo juvenile detention center, where he washed the feet of young male and female offenders.
Pope Francis, accepting the recommendations of his international Council of Cardinals and other advisory groups, has decided the Vatican bank will continue to exist and has approved a plan to increase its transparency and accountability.
The Vatican press office issued a statement Monday saying the pope "has approved a proposal on the future" of the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal title of the bank. The Vatican, however, did not release details of the proposal.
In their first overseas trip in three years, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, met Thursday with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
While millions of pilgrims are expected to attend the Catholic church's first double canonization at the end of April, the Vatican is preparing its most ambitious TV and social media campaign for the millions who don't make it to Rome.
City officials are expecting more than 5 million people to attend the ceremony when Pope Francis declares his predecessors Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII saints in St. Peter's Square on April 27.
Pope Francis called together the heads of all Vatican offices to discuss how they could integrate into their work the teaching of his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel").
The Vatican said the meeting, held Tuesday inside the Apostolic Palace, lasted two and a half hours.