Pope Francis said the assassination of "my confrere" Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, a 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit in Syria, "filled me with deep sadness."
Pope Francis, accepting the recommendations of his international Council of Cardinals and other advisory groups, has decided the Vatican bank will continue to exist and has approved a plan to increase its transparency and accountability.
The Vatican press office issued a statement Monday saying the pope "has approved a proposal on the future" of the Institute for the Works of Religion, the formal title of the bank. The Vatican, however, did not release details of the proposal.
Just days before Rwanda was to begin a weeklong period of official mourning to mark the 20th anniversary of its genocide, Pope Francis urged the country's bishops to be resolute in continuing the work of healing and reconciliation.
"Twenty years after those tragic events," when as many as 1 million people were murdered in savage acts of ethnic violence, Pope Francis said, "reconciliation and the healing of wounds must remain the priority of the church in Rwanda."
Pope Francis told a group of young people to be honest with themselves and others and figure out what they hold dear: money and pride or the desire to do good.
In their first overseas trip in three years, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, met Thursday with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Without a canonization ceremony, Pope Francis declared three new saints for the Americas, pioneers of the Catholic church in Brazil and in Canada.
Pope Francis signed decrees Thursday recognizing: St. Jose de Anchieta, a Spanish-born Jesuit who traveled to Brazil in 1553 and became known as the Apostle of Brazil; St. Marie de l'Incarnation, a French Ursuline who traveled to Quebec in 1639 and is known as the mother of the Canadian church; and St. Francois de Laval, who arrived in Quebec 20 years after St. Marie de l'Incarnation and became the first bishop of Quebec.
Through the sacrament of matrimony, married couples are called to be living icons of God's love in the world, Pope Francis said; and when they fight -- and all couples do -- they don't have "to call the United Nations," but find simple words and gestures to say they are sorry.
Concluding a series of talks about the sacraments, Pope Francis used his general audience Wednesday to focus on marriage, and he asked the estimated 45,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray for the world's families, especially for couples experiencing difficulty.
While millions of pilgrims are expected to attend the Catholic church's first double canonization at the end of April, the Vatican is preparing its most ambitious TV and social media campaign for the millions who don't make it to Rome.
City officials are expecting more than 5 million people to attend the ceremony when Pope Francis declares his predecessors Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII saints in St. Peter's Square on April 27.
Pope Francis called together the heads of all Vatican offices to discuss how they could integrate into their work the teaching of his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel").
The Vatican said the meeting, held Tuesday inside the Apostolic Palace, lasted two and a half hours.
Pope Francis confirmed the head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and named among its new members Australian Cardinal George Pell, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis.
The Vatican announced Saturday that the pope confirmed Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz as prefect of the congregation, the Vatican office that oversees the world's religious orders.