The Vatican lifted its ban on the ordination of married men to the priesthood in Eastern Catholic churches outside their traditional territories, including the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Pope Francis has warned doctors and ethicists on several hot-button social issues, attacking abortion, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia.
Christians who believe they have their eyes fixed firmly on the Lord can, without meaning to, create an "ecclesiastical micro-climate" where the poor and others in need cannot enter.
Pope Francis confirmed his 2015 visit to the U.S. and warned against the "trap" of identifying families with "ideological concepts."
Pope Francis condemned the "absurd violence" being used against Christians in several countries and called on people of good will everywhere to take up the cause of religious freedom.
At the end of his general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis asked the estimated 15,000 people in St. Peter's Square to join him in reciting the Lord's Prayer for Christians facing persecution.
Gathering at "a time of severe tension and conflict," particularly in the Middle East, 24 Catholic and Muslim leaders and scholars urged dialogue to promote greater respect and understanding and condemned all acts of violence committed in the name of religion.
The service will require volunteers and donations of soap, towels and clean underwear. "We have to be evangelical, but intelligent, too."
Pope Francis' penchant for austerity and humility will face a diplomatic challenge when he visits Turkey's new ostentatious presidential palace on his first visit to the country later this month.
Francis will be the first foreign dignitary to be welcomed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the new 1,000-room palace when he visits Ankara on Nov. 28.
Turkish architects have written to the pope urging him not to go to the palace built by Erdogan and known locally as the "White Palace."
As world leaders prepared to meet in Australia to continue looking at ways to improve the global economy, Pope Francis asked them "not to forget that many lives are at stake" behind their discussions and decisions.
The measure of success of the Group of 20 heavily industrialized and emerging-market countries will not be found in statistics, but in "real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality," the pope said in a message.
Taking little for granted, the 45-page document defines basic terms of international accounting standards and generally accepted governance and reporting practices, beginning with "budget."