The agreement expresses hope for an end to Palestinian-Israeli tensions and supports the existence of two separate, independent nations living side by side in security and peace.
Pope Francis will visit Cuba for three days Sept. 19-22 before his visit to the United States that month, the Cuban Catholic Bishops' Conference has announced.
A Roman Observer: Pope Francis' decision to call an extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy looks more and more urgent with each passing day.
After spending close to an hour with Pope Francis, Cuban President Raul Castro told reporters he is so impressed by what the pope does and says that he might start praying and could even return to the church.
"I had a very agreeable meeting this morning with Pope Francis. He is a Jesuit, as you well know. I am, too, in a certain sense because I was always in Jesuit schools," Castro told reporters Sunday.
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."