Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone stepped down Tuesday with a speech praising the pontificate of retired Pope Benedict XVI and stressing its continuity with that of Pope Francis.
The president of the German bishops' conference said he is following the case of a bishop under fire for allegedly spending close to $40 million in renovations.
Pope Francis advanced the sainthood causes of seven men and women, including a Canadian and an English founder of two religious orders for women.
He also declared the Italian medieval mystic, Blessed Angela of Foligno, a saint, foregoing the usual process of canonization and without formally recognizing a second miracle.
Pope Francis accepted a proposal Wednesday by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, allowing Blessed Angela to become a saint immediately. The Vatican made the announcement Friday.
Pope Francis' decision to call an extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family in 2014 demonstrates how important he believes the family is and the urgency he sees in responding to problems Christian families face, said the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, council president, said it is obvious that the pastoral challenge of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics will be part of the synod's discussions, just as it's obvious they were part of his private discussions with the pope in mid-September.
Professing that the church is "catholic" means accepting its teachings, accepting the gifts it offers to help one grow in holiness and accepting the fact that it is composed of different people with different gifts and opinions, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis' recent warning against overemphasizing moral teachings against abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception means that U.S. bishops should emulate his positive approach to evangelization, not shift the priorities of their public policy agenda, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
Pope Francis, like Islam's Sufi mystic theologians and poets, "is trying to do good for the sake of the Good One, motivated by love and compassion," said the president of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland.
Mohamad Bashar Arafat, a Syrian who has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, was visiting the Vatican and speaking to groups in Rome in early October as a guest of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See as part of the U.S. State Department's international speakers program.
Pope Francis criticized the global economic system Thursday, telling an international group celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris that the system is "inhuman."
Pope Francis' first meeting with eight cardinals advising him on reforming the church saw the group take up a wide range of themes.
Analysis: Whether it's because he carries his own bags or cold-calls troubled Catholics, it's hard to tell. But much of the world's media has fallen for the new pope.