A letter to the leaders of the world's bishops' conferences and the various Catholic religious orders asks them to cooperate fully with all initiatives to prevent sexual abuse of minors.
The Vatican has made a shift toward acceptance of more progressive views of the changes of Vatican II and its emphasis on a church for the poor.
The Vatican has not been untouched by the growing phenomenon of identity theft, drug trafficking, child pornography and people crossing international borders to launder money, said the Vatican's chief prosecutor.
Opening the new judicial year Jan. 30, Gian Piero Milano, the Vatican's chief prosecutor, presented a report on criminal activity and the court's work in 2014.
The Vatican Pontifical Council of Culture recently sparked controversy when the cover image for an online working document intended to advertise this week's annual plenary assembly in Rome on "Women's Culture: Equality and Difference" was Man Ray's 1936 sculpture, "Venus Restored," a plaster cast of a headless Venus bound in ropes.
With the new International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Catholic leaders hope to draw attention to what many have called the modern slave trade.
Pope Francis faces criticism from those who say Serra -- called "the Columbus of California" -- abused Native Americans and pressured them to convert.
Pope Francis has formally declared that Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated as a martyr for the Catholic faith. His beatification is expected soon.
Total obedience to God's will brings wisdom, joy and hope, Pope Francis told religious men and women.
"Yes, the happiness of a religious is a consequence of this path of lowering oneself with Jesus and, when we are sad, when we complain, it will do us well to ask ourselves how we are living this dimension of 'kenosis' " or self-emptying, he said.
Pope Francis has announced that he will be making a previously unscheduled day-trip in June to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Many women "have reached places of prestige within society and the workplace, but have no corresponding decisional role nor responsibility within ecclesial communities."