Among the nonvoting members of 38 observers and 16 experts appointed by the pope, the majority are laymen and laywomen, including 14 married couples.
When a mother has a birthday, children send their greetings and love, so make sure to do the same thing on the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Pope Francis said.
The liturgical feast day Monday "would be her birthday. And what do you do when your mom has a birthday? You send her greetings and best wishes," the pope said, after praying the Angelus with people gathered Sunday in St. Peter's Square.
The pope asked people to say "a Hail Mary from the heart" and to not forget to tell her "Happy Birthday!"
War is just "senseless slaughter" and should never be seen as inevitable or a done deal, Pope Francis said.
"War drags people into a spiral of violence which then proves difficult to control; it tears down what generations have labored to build up, and it sets the scene for even greater injustices and conflicts," he said in a written message to a world summit of religious leaders.
"War is never a necessity, nor is it inevitable. Another way can always be found: the way of dialogue, encounter and the sincere search for truth," he wrote.
Faith and Justice: With a vacancy at the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Pope Francis has an opportunity to restart liturgical renewal.
"Above all we have to clarify that we are not misogynists, we don't want to gobble up a woman a day!" Cardinal Gerhard Müller told L'Osservatore Romano.
Faith and Justice: Defenders of church governance say the church can learn nothing from civil governments. But the church has borrowed government structures since the beginning.
The Catholic church should make "unconventional couples" feel at home instead of making them targets of "de facto discrimination," the leader of the Italian Bishops Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said this week.
"Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice," said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, an apparent reference to divorced and remarried Catholics.
Jozef Wesolowski, the ex-Vatican envoy stripped of diplomatic immunity after claims he sexually abused young boys in the Dominican Republic, may face a criminal trial in the Caribbean country.
Because Jozef Wesolowski is no longer an archbishop nor is he a Vatican diplomat, when his appeals are exhausted, he "might also be subjected to judicial procedures from the courts."
Pope Francis phoned relatives of the late James Foley on Aug. 21 to console them for their loss and assure them of his prayers.