Q and A: Pope Francis has opened up new opportunities for the Catholic church and has allowed for a "fresh sharing" of the faith, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said.
Pope Francis reiterated his strong opposition to abortion on April 25, saying it "compounds the grief of many women" already succumbing to what he called the "pressures of secular culture."
The pope's remarks, to a group of bishops from South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, represented a departure of sorts for Francis, who has kept a relative silence on the issue as he tries to redirect the church's energies toward combating poverty and income inequality.
Making remarks to a new Vatican council to review the central church's economic and administrative structures Friday, Pope Francis stressed that the council's eight cardinals and seven lay members should work together as equals.
The seven lay members, Francis said, "represent various parts of the world and contribute with their experience to the good of the church and its particular mission."
"The laity are full members of the new council: not members of the second class, no!" Francis said. "All on the same level."
Ahead of Pope Francis' first meeting with his panel charged with tackling the clergy abuse scandal, victims are demanding the church take immediate action to expose perpetrators.
Beware of the devil, who wants a jealous, power-hungry and divided church, Pope Francis said.
Be open to the Holy Spirit, who brings unity and harmony, and who pushes people to focus fully on Christ, the pope said Tuesday during his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
In its previous meetings, the Council of Cardinals has reviewed the work of Vatican congregations. The council will now shift its attention to studying the Vatican's 12 pontifical councils.
Former Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said his apartment is of normal size for a church prelate and that Pope Francis called him to express support.
Pope Francis sainted his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II on Sunday, wrapping together decades of change and conflict for the Catholic church.
NCR is live from the Vatican early Sunday morning, following the ceremony making Popes John XXIII and John Paul II saints of the Roman Catholic church.
As things unfold, you can follow along at my Twitter feed for rolling updates on the event here: @joshjmac.
The sainting of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will happen at the same time Sunday morning, when Pope Francis decrees it to be so at a Vatican ceremony expected to attract near one million people.
The ceremony -- expected to start at about 9:30 AM in Rome (3:30 AM Eastern) -- will itself be relatively short, expected to last around three hours.