Moving four candidates closer to beatification, Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of a bishop in communist-controlled Romania and the heroic virtues of three religious women.
Surprising pilgrims at Blessed John Paul II's tomb, Pope Francis made an early morning visit to St. Peter's Basilica and celebrated Mass with the mostly Polish pilgrims.
More than 100 priests and pilgrims were gathered Thursday at the basilica's Chapel of St. Sebastian for a morning Mass near Blessed John Paul's tomb. Pope Francis arrived unannounced to preside at the liturgy and prayed for the late pope's intercession to help today's Christians be strong, not weak in their faith.
The Vatican has no evidence its calls were monitored by the U.S. National Security Agency and, even if they were, "we have no concerns about it," the Vatican spokesman said.
Asked about the possibility that the NSA's electronic eavesdropping program had monitored Vatican calls, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi told reporters Wednesday, "We have no evidence of this."
Italy's capital is enjoying a boom in tourists from Latin America due in part to the popularity of Pope Francis, according to new figures from the city government.
The church must defend the traditional family without perpetuating the subjugation of women or forcing them to bear the burden for the family, speakers at a Vatican conference said.
Pope Francis recently described reform in the church as a two-step process. First, he said, one has to get the "attitudes" right, then policies and structures will follow.
If much of his first eight months in office has been about projecting new attitudes, Oct. 1-3 may be remembered as the moment when stage two kicked in and the pope got down to business.
Over those days, Francis joined the first meeting of his new Council of Cardinals, a body of eight prelates from around the world intended to bring the voices of local churches into decisions made in Rome.
Longtime church historian Jesuit Fr. John O'Malley said he sees potential for church reform, even if it's just from the new tone and message coming from Rome.
The prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict XVI said calling Pope Francis' acts a "revolution" is "frivolous."
Could a woman vote for the next pope? Whether it's even possible is a matter of debate, but that hasn't stopped feverish speculation.
"As a good Jesuit," Pope Francis knows it is best not to try to make a retreat where one lives and works, so he has decided the annual papal Lenten retreat with Roman Curia officials will be held outside Rome, a Vatican spokesman said.
The annual retreat will take place March 9-14 at the Pauline Fathers' retreat and conference center in Ariccia, a town about 20 miles southeast of Rome, said Passionist Fr. Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office.