Weeks after authorizing a continued investigation of U.S. nuns, Pope Francis told a group of religious from Latin America not to worry if they found themselves under similar scrutiny.
Just months after becoming the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign, reports are surfacing that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is in poor health with diminished stature and energy.
Religious freedom is talked about more than it is protected, Pope Francis said.
"The serious violations inflicted on this basic right are causes of serious concern," and the world's nations must act together to uphold "the intangible dignity of the human person against every attack," he said.
The pope made his comments during an audience Saturday with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at the Vatican.
Over the course of 30 minutes, Pope Francis answered 10 questions, including how to deal with doubt and how to live with hope in a troubled world.
Unlike many of his predecessors, Pope Francis will not spend the summer months at the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.
Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of 95 men and women religious and laymen who were killed during the Spanish Civil War.
The pope's approval of a series of martyrdom decrees Monday opened the way for their beatification to be scheduled. A miracle is required before any blessed may be canonized.
Among the new martyrs were 66 Marist Brothers, four Discalced Carmelites, four Sister Servants of Mary, two laymen and a diocesan priest. They were killed between 1936 and 1939 during the Spanish Civil War.
Pope John XXIII, who died 50 years ago Monday, was a pastor and a father to the world, Pope Francis told pilgrims.
Catholics on the front lines of social justice are delighted that Pope Francis spends so much energy talking about and visiting the poor.
"We haven't rendered a good service to the Holy Father with the reputation we have," Von Freyberg told Vatican Radio in an English-language interview aired Friday.
As the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi prepare for a new beginning, the groups are asking members to participate in a novena of atonement and healing.