With baptism, Christians are cleansed of sin, but the sacrament doesn't wash away human weakness nor the obligation to ask forgiveness when they make mistakes, Pope Francis said.
God's hands are never used for violence, Pope Francis said.
"I can't imagine God slapping us," the pope said. "Scolding us, yes, that I see, because he does do that, but he never, ever hurts us."
God shows love and tenderness, "even when he must scold us; he does it with a caress because he is (our) father," the pope said in his homily Nov. 12 during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Italian Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, who had devoted most of his priestly life to music and served as director of the Sistine Chapel Choir for more than 40 years, died Monday at the age of 96.
In a telegram of condolence to Bartolucci's family and friends, Pope Francis described him as a "dear and esteemed priest, illustrious composer and musician, who exercised his long ministry particularly through sacred music, which is born of faith and expresses faith."
The pope said Bartolucci valued and promoted polyphony, "aimed at elevating the heart in praise of God."
Despite the perks and high living they may bring, bribery, corruption and dishonest work are serious sins that rob people and their children of their dignity, Pope Francis said.
"Devotees of the goddess of kickbacks" bring home "dirty bread" for their children to eat, the pope said Nov. 8 during his early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
Mentoring inner-city youths is hardly the most obvious way to prepare for working at the Vatican, but Fr. Geno Sylva says the lessons he learned in a low-income New Jersey community have served him abundantly well in his current job as an official at the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.
Ordained in 1993, the New Jersey native has long had a passion for spreading the Gospel. He worked as a teacher, chaplain and president at DePaul Catholic High School in the diocese of Paterson, as well as a mentor at Young Prophets, a program for inner-city teenagers there.
Being on God's "guest list" is not enough for salvation; a person must respond to the offer of faith and actively participate in the life of the church, Pope Francis said.
Being a Christian means accepting God's invitation to believe in Jesus and to celebrate with the whole church the joy of being saved, the pope said Tuesday during his early morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
A mortar round hit the apostolic nunciature in the Syrian capital, causing limited damage to the building and no causalities because of the early hour of the strike.
"The Holy Father should not have received that individual," said Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, who served as personal secretary to the pope for 39 years.
Suggest Feb. 8 -- the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave who found freedom in Italy and became a nun in the 19th century -- as the best day.
Moving four candidates closer to beatification, Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of a bishop in communist-controlled Romania and the heroic virtues of three religious women.