Francis Chronicles: While in life there may be times of frustration and darkness, "hope is still there and it moves us forward," the pope said.
Ken Hackett, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, is gearing up to try retirement for the second time. The retired president of Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' overseas aid agency, is leaving his ambassadorial post three years and three months after presenting his credentials to Pope Francis.
For diplomats from around the world, the Vatican is known as a prime "listening post," and what Hackett is listening to a lot these days are questions about what President-elect Donald Trump has in store.
At Loggerheads since 1949. Pope Francis pushing to heal a decades-old rift with Beijing.
Several representatives of groups that participated in a landmark Vatican meeting last spring to reevaluate the Catholic church’s long-held just war theory met with church officials in Rome again this week, including the archbishop who serves as the Vatican’s foreign minister.
Members of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative -- a project that includes groups such as Pax Christi International, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, and umbrella groups of men and women religious -- also met with an archbishop working for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Pope Francis meets with leaders of Colombia: Pope Francis met with the current and former presidents of Colombia, two leading figures in the country at opposite sides of a controversial peace agreement that puts an end to a decades-long civil war. President Juan Manuel Santos and former president Alvaro Uribe met individually and together with Pope Francis Dec. 16 at the Vatican.
Pope Francis to diplomats: In a world marked by war, conflict and widespread violence even in people's day-to-day life, "the choice of nonviolence as a style of life is increasingly demanded in the exercise of responsibility at every level, from family education, to social and civil commitment, to political activity and international relations," he said.
The group of cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the Catholic church's central bureaucracy spent their latest meeting focusing on the roles of the Vatican offices that interact with foreign governments, oversee the church in missionary territories, consider which priests are appointed bishops, and work with Eastern rite churches.
Syria: Pope Francis urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to do everything possible to end the war in his country, to protect civilians and to ensure humanitarian agencies can deliver emergency aid to the people.Syria's SANA news agency reported Assad met Dec. 12 with new Cardinal Mario Zenari, the papal nuncio to Syria, and that the cardinal delivered a letter from the pope.
Bishop Javier Echevarria passed away Dec. 12: Pope Francis expressed condolences to the members of Opus Dei following the death of Bishop Javier Echevarria, who led the prelature for over 20 years. Expressing his condolences, Francis said Echevarria, like his predecessors, "gave his life in a constant service of love to the church and to souls."
Pope Francis phoned Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria Dec. 12, expressing condolences for the previous day's terrorist attack at the Cairo cathedral that left 25 dead.