Francis wants to retool the hierarchy so it not only defines and enforces church teachings, but also listens and responds to how laypeople understand God's will, he said.
Philippines Cardinal Luis Tagle called on Catholics to embrace and live out the Second Vatican Council's sense of openness to the modern world.
Central American women and children fleeing violence in their homelands seek asylum in America, the advocates said, but are treated like criminals.
Catholic church leaders and scholars are not the only ones praising the 50-year-old church document Nostra Aetate ("In Our Time"), the Second Vatican Council's declaration on relations with non-Christian religions.
During the first part of a May 19-21 symposium on the document at The Catholic University of America, it also got high marks from a U.S. Muslim leader who said Nostra Aetate helps different faiths "recognize common roots and build a new sense of direction."
John M. Templeton Jr., a pediatric surgeon who left medicine behind to carry on his father's passion for pursuing "new spiritual information" through the sciences as president and chairman of the Templeton Foundation, has died. He was 75.
Known as "Jack," the younger Templeton retired as director of the trauma program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in 1995 to take the foundation reins and became chairman after his father's death in 2008.
Reaction was mixed to the May 15 jury sentencing of death for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Tsarnaev had been convicted April 8 of all 30 counts lodged against him in the bombing, which killed three people and injured hundreds. Of those 30 counts, 17 carried the death penalty, and jurors imposed the death sentence on six of those -- all in connection with placing a bomb on Boylston Street along the marathon route.
The cover photograph on a new 232-page report outlining religious freedom violations around the world last year pretty much says it all.
The image is of Yezidis of all ages walking on a sandy, dusty terrain with sheep. Thousands of members of this religious minority had been executed and assaulted last year while others were forced to flee their ancient homeland in the Nineveh plains of Iraq by actions of the Islamic State, known as ISIS.
They're small spaces -- sometimes 7 feet wide, 12 feet long. And they're where some inmates are held, sometimes for days, sometimes for decades.
Religious leaders across the country are speaking out against solitary confinement cells that they say should never be used by juveniles or the mentally ill and rarely by the general prison population.
The debate is taking on new resonance as a Boston jury weighs the death penalty -- or a life sentence with 23 hours a day in solitary confinement -- for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.
The president gave a far-reaching explanation of the state of U.S. poverty, including a description of a new segregation by class mirroring historical racial segregation.
The United States is a significantly less Christian country than it was seven years ago.
That's the top finding -- one that will ricochet through American faith, culture and politics -- in the Pew Research Center's newest report, "America's Changing Religious Landscape," released Tuesday.
This trend "is big, it's broad and it's everywhere," said Alan Cooperman, Pew's director of religion research.