Less than a week after a relic of Blessed John Paul II disappeared from a country chapel east of Rome, Italian police arrested two men for the theft, but the venerated piece of fabric stained with the late pope's blood was still missing.
Catholic universities must give "uncompromising" and "unambiguous" witness to church teaching and defend themselves from all efforts to dilute their Catholic identity, Pope Francis said.
Catholic universities, "by their very nature, are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life," he said in an audience with members of the board of trustees of the University of Notre Dame and other officials.
The "Francis revolution" continued in January with personnel shuffles, policy signals and gestures reinforcing the pope's vision of a more merciful church.
Prayers of praise for God aren't just for charismatics, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.
"We find it easy to understand praying to ask God for something and also to thank the Lord," he said Tuesday at his early morning Mass. But prayers of praise "don't come so spontaneously."
According to a report in Vatican Radio, Pope Francis focused his homily on a line from the day's first reading, which described David as "dancing before the Lord with abandon."
Thieves reportedly stole a relic of Blessed John Paul II from a country chapel 85 miles east of Rome.
Italian media reported Monday that the relic, a piece of fabric soaked in Blessed John Paul's blood, had disappeared over the preceding weekend from the church of San Pietro della Ienca. The church is located near the city of L'Aquila, in the mountainous Abruzzo region where the late pope frequently went on brief vacations.
Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of eight candidates, including the founder of the Sisters of Charity of Quebec.
During a meeting Monday with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the pope signed a decree recognizing that Mother Marie-Anne-Marcelle Mallet lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way and is venerable.
As protests against the Ukrainian president spread to cities across the country, Pope Francis offered his prayers for the nation's people, "particularly for those who lost their lives in the last few days and for their families."
At least three protesters died Jan. 22 in Kiev, Ukraine's capital and the site of anti-government protests since late November.
Pope Francis said judges on church tribunals should show "imperturbable and impartial balance" as well as the "delicacy and humanity proper to a pastor of souls."
French President Francois Hollande, embroiled in a controversy surrounding an alleged affair with an actress, met Friday with Pope Francis, who was unusually somber in his public appearance with the scandal-scarred French leader.
There was no official comment about what the two men discussed in their private 35-minute meeting, but the pontiff -- known for his friendly and informal style -- appeared more stern and serious than usual as he sat across an ornate desk from Hollande.
Summarizing efforts made in 2013 to improve transparency and compliance with international standards for financial operations, the Vatican bank confirmed that it conducted a "detailed investigation" of the accounts held by a monsignor arrested by Italian police for the second time Tuesday.
Msgr. Nunzio Scarano was suspended in late May from his job as an accountant in the Vatican office overseeing property and investments. The Vatican suspended him when it learned that he was under criminal investigation in Italy.