The conference will examine the role of the Hebrew God, Yahweh, in the evolution of faith and examine elements of the Torah and Jewish and Muslim philosophy.
Witches don't really exist, so they can do no harm, Pope Francis told a young girl, but gossip, sin and evil exist and they hurt people every day.
"What frightens me?" the pope asked, repeating the question posed by Sara, one of the children at the Rome parish of St. Magdalene of Canossa. "I'm frightened when a person is bad; the wickedness of people" is scary.
Pope Francis will visit Colombia in September, giving a papal push for success to the implementation of the landmark peace deal agreed last year between the country's government and the rebel militants it had been fighting for decades.
The Holy See Press Office announced the trip from the Vatican late Friday, March 10. At a press conference shortly thereafter, the Colombian bishops' conference said the papal visit will carry the theme Vamos a dar un paso adelante ("Let's take a step forward.")
Lurid accusations of priests involved in sex orgies, porn videos and prostitution have emerged from several parishes in Italy recently, sending shock waves all the way to the Vatican and challenging the high standards that Pope Francis has demanded of clergy.
In the southern city of Naples, for example, a priest was recently suspended from the parish of Santa Maria degli Angeli over claims he held gay orgies and used internet sites to recruit potential partners whom he paid for sex.
Despite opposing views on some issues, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See will still look for common ground on global issues, the interim leader of the embassy said.
Francis Chronicles: The tendency to de-personalize others, which starts in one's own heart, at home and with relationships, "grows and grows and it will become violence worldwide," Francis said.
A fake edition of the Vatican's semi-official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano made the rounds in Rome Friday, declaring in a bolded headline that Pope Francis had (subtext: finally) responded to four cardinals who challenged him last fall with five yes or no questions about how he understands church teaching.
"He responded!" the fake paper exclaims under what looks like an exact copy of L'Osservatore's masthead. "Francis has broken his silence on the dubia of the four cardinals."
Rome: Pope Francis tells leaders of men's orders about corruption in the Vatican. He also says priestly formation must focus more on discernment.
Albrecht von Boeselager, recently reinstated as the Knights' grand chancellor, said order officials had invoked "the wish of the Holy Father" when they asked him to resign.
Rome: Showdown between Vatican and Knights of Malta ends with resignation of order's leader, and appointment of a papal delegate.