"I write to you just before Christmas, knowing that for many of you the music of your Christmas hymns will also be accompanied by tears and sighs."
A Roman Observer: Pope Francis and certain members of the Curia's old guard are openly at battle for the soul and future of the church.
Pope Francis said while the Curia is called to "always improve and grow in communion," it is also prone to "disease, malfunction, and infirmity" like every human institution.
Pope Francis has named a new cardinal to the symbolic role of Camerlengo of the Roman Catholic church, the official who will be charged with acting as the head of state of Vatican City upon Francis' death or resignation.
The Vatican announced Saturday that the pope has appointed French Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran to the post, replacing retired Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, who had held the role since April 2007.
"Questionable financial activities" have put the Order of Friars Minor's financial stability at "grave risk," the order's minister general says.
Peter Saunders, an English survivor of clerical abuse, had called on Pope Francis in July to hand over information about abusive priests to state authorities.
The Dalai Lama said Thursday that he would not meet Pope Francis while in Rome for a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners.
"The Vatican administration says it is not possible because it could cause problems," the Dalai Lama said, hinting that the Vatican may be unwilling to irk China, a country with which it wants to engage and perhaps re-establish diplomatic relations.
But the Vatican's chief spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, declined to say whether the pope had personally turned down a request for a meeting with the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists.
In the heart of Rome's high-end shopping district, sparkling with Christmas lights and shiny baubles in the windows of famous designers, Pope Francis prayed that people would spend time in silence and in service as they prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.
Celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, Pope Francis prayed for Mary's intercession so that, "in us, your children, grace also will prevail over pride, and we can become merciful like our heavenly Father is merciful."
A Roman Observer: Australian Cardinal George Pell has always been a controversial figure. So why did Pope Francis bring him to the Vatican and place him in positions of power?
Some of the harshest criticisms of Pope Francis have come from people upset at his continued criticism of the global capitalist system.