"Respect for the dignity of every human person and the common good are the two pillars on which the position of the Holy See has developed."
Over the centuries, the international community has developed criteria for determining whether a war is just and for regulating conduct in combat; now it needs clearer guidelines for "humanitarian intervention" and for post-conflict reconciliation, said the Vatican secretary of state.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis' top aide and chief coordinator of the Vatican diplomatic corps, also warned against indifference toward situations of conflict around the world.
Shot dead while celebrating Mass in 1980, Romero has long been considered a saint by many in Latin America, but the official Vatican process of sainthood lingered.
Bishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu said the changes to the Vatican seem "like a change not only in attitude here, but a new anthropology for the way of living our faith."
Allowing priests to celebrate Mass in the language of the local congregation rather than in Latin allowed the faithful to understand and be encouraged by the word of God, Pope Francis said.
"You cannot turn back. We have to always go forward, always forward and who goes back is making a mistake," he told parishioners after commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first time a pope celebrated Mass in the vernacular following the Second Vatican Council.
As the second anniversary of Pope Francis' election approached, an international group of philosophers, sociologists and theologians gathered to discuss how to renew the church in a secular age; many said that is exactly what Pope Francis is doing.
"I think the church had gotten into the stance of defending itself against its critics and trying to convince them, but that's not a stance of dialogue. Pope Francis is going out and reaching out," said Charles Taylor, professor emeritus of philosophy at Canada's McGill University.
The Italian government is on high alert after threats from the Islamic State called Italy "the nation signed with the blood of the cross."
Italy is one of a handful of major Western counties that has not been victim of a large-scale terror assault since the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.
Italian officials fear extremists could enter the country amid the growing tide of refugees arriving by boat from North Africa. About 500 extra troops have been stationed to guard symbolic targets in Rome and monitor the streets of the capital for suspicious activity.
Voices of Faith will feature storytelling presentations from 10 women from various parts of the world who have overcome adversity or have reached the highest places available for women.
Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome's Aventine Hill.
After walking from the Benedictine monastery of St. Anselm to the Dominican-run Basilica of Santa Sabina on Wednesday, Pope Francis celebrated Mass. He received ashes on the top of his head from Cardinal Jozef Tomko, titular cardinal of the basilica, and distributed ashes to the Benedictines, the Dominicans, his closest aides and a family of five.
The academic institute moved operations from Germany to Rome in an effort to influence the church's work on the sex abuse globally.