In his annual message for Lent, Pope Francis called on Christians to remember those in need during the season before Easter.
Writing to the 20 new cardinals he will create in February, Pope Francis said they should graciously accept that their friends, family and faithful will want to celebrate, but they also should ensure that the celebrations are not exaggerated.
Pope Francis on Friday warned the Vatican's top marriage judges that they should not "lock the salvation of persons within the straits of legalism" and indicated he wants the church to no longer charge for the sometimes onerous and expensive annulment process.
"This is a point I want to emphasize: the sacraments are free," Francis told jurists of the Roman Rota, the church's final court of appeals for annulments.
"The sacraments give us grace," he said. "And a marriage proceeding" -- like an annulment -- "touches on the sacrament of marriage."
We say: Humanae Vitae has been a serious impediment to Catholic authority. It has created a disabling chasm between the hierarchy and the faithful.
Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's former chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases, will head a new doctrinal team dealing with appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse.
Analysis: As Francis often does, he is shifting the focus from the "rules" to the principle behind the rules.
Philippines: Pope Francis braves pouring rain, 60-mile an hour winds to tell typhoon victims: "I'm here to be with you."
During a meeting with families, the pope praised his predecessor Paul VI, who wrote Humane Vitae and "had the strength to defend openness to life."
Manila: Pope Francis began his Philippines visit by calling on its president to root out widespread corruption and to "hear the voice of the poor."
NCR Today: The clarification comes after speculation Francis approved violence in response to religious insults.