Added to the imagery of Good Friday at the Vatican this year: Connections between Christ's suffering and those of homeless, jobless, migrants, women.
Sr. Cristina Scuccia, a 25-year-old nun from Sicily, has electrified "The Voice of Italy," and a record number of people tuned in to watch her sing Wednesday.
The working title for the series is "The Young Pope," and the 43-year-old director hopes to create fictional mysteries and scandals within the walls of the Vatican.
The Italian bishops' conference encouraged its members to cooperate with civil authorities in cases of clerical sexual abuse, but said the bishops have no legal obligation to report abuse.
As a treasury of art and archeology, Italy tops UNESCO's World Heritage listing, with 49 officially recognized sites. Such riches make the country especially tempting for looters.
Surrounded by survivors of innocent people killed by the Mafia, Pope Francis made an emotional appeal to Italian gangsters to give up their lives of crime and avoid eternal damnation.
"Men and women of the Mafia, please change your lives, convert, stop doing evil," the pope said at a prayer vigil Friday. "I ask on my knees and for your own good.
Religion is less a code of doctrines and teachings than a sensitivity to the "dimensions of transcendence" that underlie the human experience, the head of the Jesuit order said.
If you get a seat on a crowded bus, you should use your travel time to read a few lines from the Bible, Pope Francis told members of a suburban parish filled with people who commute to Rome for work.
"A Christian's first task is to listen to the word of God, to listen to Jesus, because he speaks to us and saves us with his word," the pope said Sunday during a homily at the parish of Santa Maria dell'Orazione on the northeast outskirts of Rome.
Priests and religious men and women were told at a weekend conference to re-evaluate their wealth and to criticize the global market capitalist economy.
Analysis: In his first year as pope, Francis has energized and inspired Catholics worldwide, and touched the hearts of many outside the church.