Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone stepped down Tuesday with a speech praising the pontificate of retired Pope Benedict XVI and stressing its continuity with that of Pope Francis.
Francis Chronicles: In his first address focused on women, Pope Francis on Saturday said "women are called to service, not servitude."
In Rome, there is a debate over whether a former Nazi officer responsible for the massacre of 335 Italians in 1944, including 57 Jews, should get a Catholic funeral.
Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of seven men and women, including a Canadian and an English founder of two religious orders for women.
He also declared the Italian medieval mystic, Blessed Angela of Foligno, a saint, foregoing the usual process of canonization and without formally recognizing a second miracle.
Pope Francis accepted a proposal Wednesday by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, allowing Blessed Angela to become a saint immediately. The Vatican made the announcement Friday.
Pope Francis' decision to call an extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family in 2014 demonstrates how important he believes the family is and the urgency he sees in responding to problems Christian families face, said the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, council president, said it is obvious that the pastoral challenge of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics will be part of the synod's discussions, just as it's obvious they were part of his private discussions with the pope in mid-September.
On Tuesday, the Vatican warned churches not to get ahead of Pope Francis and take the reform process into their own hands.
Pope Francis' recent warning against overemphasizing moral teachings against abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception means that U.S. bishops should emulate his positive approach to evangelization, not shift the priorities of their public policy agenda, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
John Allen in Rome: Impending revisions to the synod envision a multiphase process involving opportunities for input at the base, including use of the Internet to collect suggestions.
While in Assisi on Friday, Pope Francis spent time mingling with visitors, creating connections some of them never thought possible.
Pope Francis rocked the Catholic world last month when he gave a wide-ranging interview in which he declared that the church had become "obsessed" with a few moral issues and needed to find a "new balance."
Now a new poll indicates that American Catholics think he's right, and by a wide margin.
The survey, released Friday by Quinnipiac University shows that two in three (68 percent) adult Catholics questioned said they agreed with the pontiff's observation that the church has become too focused on issues such as homosexuality, abortion and contraception.