The Vatican has asked national bishops' conferences to seek input from Catholics at "all levels" for the 2015 Synod of Bishops -- and asked them to avoid basing input solely on current doctrine.
As Advent got underway, Pope Francis included in his morning Mass homilies specific graces Catholics should pray for as they prepare for Christmas.
A new political and business mentality "that does not exclude but transcends profit" is both necessary and possible, a Vatican official told a United Nations meeting.
"Everyday saints" are those for whom faith is not just about appearances, who do not go around strutting like peacocks, but who live God's love even in the midst of struggle, Pope Francis said.
Those who are only "apparent Christians," who put on the faith as if it were makeup, will see that with the first rain the facade will be washed away, the pope said Thursday at his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
People of faith, particularly Christians and Muslims, must work together for peace, Pope Francis said in his weekly audience.
Update: Pope Francis met with the attorney general of the Dominican Republic to discuss the sexual abuse case of the former papal nuncio.
Tens of millions of people are "in chains" because of human trafficking and forced labor, and it leading to their "dehumanization and humiliation," the pope said.
God reveals himself to humble and meek hearts, said Pope Francis at morning Mass.
"Many can know science, theology as well. But if they do not do this theology on their knees, that is, humbly, like the little ones, they will not understand anything. They will tell us many things, but they will not understand anything," he said Dec. 2 in his homily during the Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
Francis said the church must be bold in recognizing and changing "the structures that give us a false sense of protection and that condition the dynamism of charity."
Believing in eternity and in the final establishment of the kingdom of God, Christians throughout history -- starting with the disciples -- were filled with questions such as when the end will come and what will happen to the created world, Pope Francis said.
No one knows the answer to those questions, the pope said Wednesday at his weekly general audience, but Catholics are convinced that the end of time will not bring the "annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us."