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.
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.
Being Christian is humbly serving others, not applying "makeup" to your soul to make it prettier, Pope Francis said.
"To be Christian is to do what Jesus did -- serve," he said in a homily Thursday during Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Thinking about oneself and being self-centered "is a sin, it's a habit we have to break," he said, according to Vatican Radio. Just ask for forgiveness and pray "that the Lord convert us," he added.
"Why is it expected that women must earn less than men? No! They have the same rights. The disparity is a pure scandal."
When Pope Francis tweets, the world listens.
According to "Twiplomacy," a study of the Twitter accounts of world leaders and their retweet rates, U.S. President Barack Obama has the most Twitter followers, but Pope Francis' @Pontifex is the most influential Twitter account -- his average "retweet" and "favorite" rate is more than eight times higher than Obama's.
Updated: "Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity."
More than 3,600 people were known to have been killed and more than 6,500 others injured after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit a mountainous region near Kathmandu.