"It's important to us that he's visiting Bethlehem and Palestine first. ... It was a message for all Palestinians: I'm coming to visit you."
Most Israelis welcome Francis' visit to the Holy Land as a chance to show the world a side of Israel that supports tolerance and dialogue.
Eco Catholic: What would the patron saint of those who promote ecology -- as Pope John Paul II named St. Francis -- think of our world today?
Argentine Archbishop Jose Luis Mollaghan was nominated to be a member of the congregation "in the commission being established to examine the appeals of clergy for 'delicta graviora.' "
Global Sisters Report: Kenyan Sr. Anne Kiragu is exceedingly busy in South Sudan, but she always makes time for those suffering in the war-torn country.
Fr. Israel Berrios was arrested Tuesday by federal authorities for allegedly transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and sexual trafficking of minors.
Pope Francis will be accompanied on his first visit to the Middle East by Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Muslim leader Omar Abboud -- two friends from Buenos Aires.
It is the first time a pope has made an official visit accompanied by members of other faiths, and it underscores the interfaith focus of Francis' trip to the Holy Land, the Vatican said Thursday.
Sudanese Christians have condemned the sentencing of a Christian woman to death by hanging after she married a Christian man.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, refused to recant her Christian faith as ordered by the court.
A doctor who is eight months pregnant and currently in detention with her 20-month-old son, Ibrahim was charged with adultery last year. Recently, the court added an apostasy charge when she declared her Christian faith in court.
"This is very disturbing," said Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok of Khartoum.
China recently deployed a deep sea oil rig and supporting vessels into waters long claimed by Vietnam, a move that angered Vietnamese bishops.
The meetings began with discussions of areas of commonality between Catholicism and Islam and concluded with a commitment to issue a joint statement.