Pope Francis is interested in doing whatever he can — as creatively as he can — to end old conflicts and foster peace in the world.
The Vatican's decision to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state on Wednesday angered Israeli officials.
The move comes four days before the canonization of two Palestinian nuns and solidifies the standing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.
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.