Pope Benedict was keenly aware of his own waning strength while faced with such a demanding ministry, Archbishop Georg Ganswein told an Italian newspaper.
The pope began a meeting with some 150 cardinals to discuss reform of the Vatican bureaucracy by calling on them to speak boldly and to keep in mind the "salvation of souls."
Just Catholic: You don’t have to speak Italian to understand the Vatican's recent "Women's Cultures" events, but it could help. (It was all in Italian.)
The cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the church's central bureaucracy have yet to create a single comprehensive draft of a new structure of governance.
One month after saying Catholics may have an obligation to limit their number of children, Francis has said families that choose not to have kids are selfish.
The cardinal-designate spoke about the situations faced by people in his country, the changing dynamic of the College of Cardinals and how Francis is "reviving" the church.
It is important that "a homliy isn't boring." If one looks at the homilies of Francis, "there is nothing boring. There is always something that challenges people."
Cities can be chaotic and cold, but people need God in a metropolis as much as they need him anywhere, Pope Francis said.
Lay Catholics especially are called "to go out without fear," offering a human touch and God's love to people they work with or live near, the pope said Saturday during a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
The commission, which mentions the word "accountability" four times in its statement, says it is "keenly aware that the issue of accountability is of major importance."
My parents were ahead of their times in not believing in corporal punishment when I grew up after the Second World War. The only time I remember being slapped by my father was when my brother was fooling around in the backseat of the car. My father's normal reservoir of patience had finally been exhausted and he swung at my brother, who quickly ducked, leaving me the recipient of the slap.
If looks could kill, my father would have been dead and my mother prosecuted for murder. I was too shocked to cry and blamed my brother not my father. I still blame my brother.