Faith and Justice: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been publicly criticized as of late, something unthinkable under the last two papacies.
Going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist should make a difference in the way Catholics live, Pope Francis said; they should be more accepting of others and more aware of their sinfulness.
"If we don't feel in need of God's mercy and don't think we are sinners, it's better not to go to Mass," Pope Francis said Wednesday at his weekly general audience. The Eucharist is a celebration of Christ's gift of himself for the salvation of sinners, which is why the Mass begins with people confessing they are sinners and begging for the Lord's mercy.
In the wake of last week’s critical U.N. report on Vatican child protection efforts has come more criticism, though much of it is directed not toward the church but the international body.
Analysis: The prospect of a weakened papacy seemed plausible in the wake of Pope Benedict's announcement, but the world has watched his successor make the office stronger.
In retirement, Pope Benedict XVI follows a schedule similar to that of any retired bishop or religious: He prays, reads, strolls, talks with people and offers them spiritual advice.
Perspective: The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI caught the world by surprise, but after the shock wore off, it didn't seem all that surprising.
Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of 124 Catholics who were killed during widespread persecution in Korea in the 18th through 19th centuries.
He also approved a decree recognizing the martyrdom of Conventual Franciscan Fr. Francesco Zirano, an Italian priest killed in Algeria in 1603.
The pope's approval of the martyrdom decrees Friday opened the way for the martyrs' beatifications on a date yet to be announced. A miracle is required before any blessed may be canonized.
Pope Francis' habit of dressing down means "we are working less; the pope is a simple man," one proprietor said.
"It is fascinating to see how Pope Francis is encouraging, reviving and renewing the church," Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said.
Faith and Justice: The U.N. report on the Vatican's role in sexual abuse could have improved the church's handling of sexual abuse; instead, it was an editorial screed.