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.
People seem to enjoy finding the shortcomings of candidates for sainthood like Blessed Junipero Serra, but they should ask themselves if they would have his generosity and courage to leave everything behind to care for the poor and bring them the Gospel, Pope Francis said.
Visiting the Pontifical North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome, Pope Francis said Serra fits into a host of saints who shaped the history and culture of the Americas, particularly by spreading Christianity, caring for the poor and defending the oppressed.
Francis Chronicles: "That restless heart gets up and says: 'Yes, I am a sinner, I did wrong, but I go ahead because the Lord is with me.' "
We say: It is no coincidence that the Vatican jousting with U.S. nuns came to a conciliatory end under the papacy of Francis.
Catholics must get involved in politics even if it may be "dirty," frustrating and fraught with failure, Pope Francis said.
Given today's "throwaway" culture and so many problems unfolding in the world, "Do I as a Catholic watch from my balcony? No, you can't watch from the balcony. Get right in there!" he said.
Everyone wants Congress to stop fighting and get working, and that includes Pope Francis, a top adviser said Wednesday in a preview of the pope's upcoming U.S. trip.
The Argentine-born pope has never been to the United States, but he will make history in September as the first pope to address a joint meeting of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.
"The pope will come humbly but will talk clearly," Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a top adviser to Francis, told an audience at Georgetown University.
For an upcoming Vatican charity concert, Rome's immigrants, poor, elderly and marginalized will get VIP treatment while benefactors will sit in the back.
Pope Francis has set up a five-person committee -- which includes Irish Msgr. Paul Tighe -- to find ways to implement recommendations for streamlining and modernizing the Vatican's many communications structures.
When the pope met with his Council of Cardinals in April, the cardinal advisers suggested he name a new commission to implement a reform plan drafted by a previous 11-member papal commission.