The Vatican has made a shift toward acceptance of more progressive views of the changes of Vatican II and its emphasis on a church for the poor.
The Vatican has not been untouched by the growing phenomenon of identity theft, drug trafficking, child pornography and people crossing international borders to launder money, said the Vatican's chief prosecutor.
Opening the new judicial year Jan. 30, Gian Piero Milano, the Vatican's chief prosecutor, presented a report on criminal activity and the court's work in 2014.
With the new International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Catholic leaders hope to draw attention to what many have called the modern slave trade.
Pope Francis has formally declared that Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated as a martyr for the Catholic faith. His beatification is expected soon.
Total obedience to God's will brings wisdom, joy and hope, Pope Francis told religious men and women.
"Yes, the happiness of a religious is a consequence of this path of lowering oneself with Jesus and, when we are sad, when we complain, it will do us well to ask ourselves how we are living this dimension of 'kenosis' " or self-emptying, he said.
Farmers must find a delicate balance between reaping the precious gifts of the earth and protecting them for future generations, especially given the threat of climate change, Pope Francis said.
Many women "have reached places of prestige within society and the workplace, but have no corresponding decisional role nor responsibility within ecclesial communities."
New archbishops will be formally invested with their palliums in their archdiocese instead of at the Vatican.
The Francis Chronicles: When their lives are all work and no play, men turn their children into "orphans" who lack a father to guide them, Pope Francis said.
In his annual message for Lent, Pope Francis called on Christians to remember those in need during the season before Easter.