Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Kerry discussed "the desire for a favorable attention of the Holy See in search of adequate humanitarian solutions to the current detainees."
"Obedience and closed environments also seem to have had a role in the prevalence of abuse within some religious orders and dioceses."
Analysis: Rome hasn't yet revealed the names of the new cardinals, but could an American be among them? There are a number of factors that will govern the choices.
The Dalai Lama said Thursday that he would not meet Pope Francis while in Rome for a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners.
"The Vatican administration says it is not possible because it could cause problems," the Dalai Lama said, hinting that the Vatican may be unwilling to irk China, a country with which it wants to engage and perhaps re-establish diplomatic relations.
But the Vatican's chief spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, declined to say whether the pope had personally turned down a request for a meeting with the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists.
The pope did not say which prelates would be named cardinals, but the names are expected to be made public in mid-January.
Global Sisters Report: The view of women religious toward the apostolic visitation changed dramatically in the six years of the Vatican's investigation.
Francis is a veritable quote machine, but when he speaks about women, Francis can sound a lot like the 78-year-old Argentine churchman that he is.
Pope Francis urged people worldwide "not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity."
A new kind of ghetto needs the church's presence and people's solidarity: the "digital slum" where cyberbullying and online pornography and abuse run rampant.
The Vatican has asked national bishops' conferences to seek input from Catholics at "all levels" for the 2015 Synod of Bishops -- and asked them to avoid basing input solely on current doctrine.