Pope Francis' devotion is profound but simple: Mary is a mother to every believer; Jesus would not leave his followers orphans.
Pope Francis' July 5-12 visit to Latin America will not take him to his native Argentina, but it will put him closely in touch with his Jesuit roots and with one of the main characteristics of his ministry as archbishop of Buenos Aires: direct contact with the poor, the sick and those striving to bring the Gospel to bear on social inequalities.
The pope will begin his three-nation South America tour in Ecuador before moving on to Bolivia and Paraguay, the Vatican announced Friday when it published a detailed itinerary for the visit.
The Vatican's semiofficial newspaper blasted a series of cartoons of Islam's Prophet Muhammad as "blasphemous" but also condemned the "mad and bloodthirsty" extremists who opened fire at a Texas exhibit of the cartoons.
The front-page article in L'Osservatore Romano likened the exhibit in Garland, Texas, to pouring "gasoline on the fire" of religious sensitivities and was critical of its sponsors, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, and professional provocateur Pamela Geller.
Wake up and take action; Pope Francis makes this call in "The Joy of the Gospel," but it seems people "are still sleeping, caught up in a million secondary things," Archbishop Victor Fernandez said.
In his short guide on how to apply the pope's apostolic exhortation -- Evangelii Gaudium in Latin -- the Argentine archbishop said if the teachings in the document were taken seriously, church communities would see significant changes, renewal, life and new energy.
Although he already has said he will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra in Washington in September, Pope Francis formally approved a sentence by members of the Congregation for Saints' Causes recommending the move.
The sentence was presented to the pope during a meeting Tuesday with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the Vatican announced the next day. During the same meeting, the pope signed decrees relating to the sainthood causes of another 12 men and women.
Pope Francis will meet Cuban President Raul Castro in a "strictly private" meeting on Sunday, only four months before the pontiff will travel to the Caribbean Island nation, the Vatican has announced.
Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi announced the visit in a brief statement late Tuesday evening, saying: "I confirm that Sunday May 10, in the course of the morning, the Holy Father will receive in a strictly private way the President of the Republic of Cuba, Mr. Raul Castro Ruz."
A number of Catholic parishes in Italy are set for a management overhaul following a new training program launched on Tuesday between the Villanova School of Business and the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
The deal signed between the two universities will see Villanova bring educators from its Center for Church Management and Business Ethics to the classroom in Rome.
At his general audience April 29, Francis came out publicly and unequivocally in favor of equal pay for women and men.
The Holy Year of Mercy will be an opportunity to encourage Christians to meet people's "real needs" with concrete assistance, to experience a "true pilgrimage" on foot, and to send "missionaries of mercy" throughout the world to forgive even the most serious of sins, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella.
The future of the Middle East will depend on nations coming together to promote dialogue and development in the region and on local Christians staying active in society and politics, a top Vatican official said.
The international community cannot remain "inert or indifferent before the dramatic situation" unfolding in the Middle East because it has a special responsibility to "guarantee the presence of Christians and other minorities" in the region, said Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's foreign minister.