Even as Francis called for peace in the Middle East, the Vatican tried to come to terms with the idea that U.S. military strikes were necessary and working.
Francis Chronicles: "One cannot generate hatred in God's name," Pope Francis said Sunday. "One cannot make war in God's name!"
Pope Francis is dispatching Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy to northern Iraq, where Islamist militias have sent thousands of Christians and other religious minorities fleeing for their lives, the Vatican said Friday.
The Vatican announced the appointment of Filoni, a former papal nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, only a day after the pope launched a fresh appeal for the welfare of Christians affected by the violence there.
The pope also made a "pressing appeal to the international community to take initiatives to put an end to the humanitarian drama underway."
The Vatican warned Wednesday that the alleged rejection of a baby born with Down syndrome to a surrogate mother in Thailand shows how babies have become consumer products for sale.
Surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua, a 21-year-old street vendor, made headlines around the world after claiming she is caring for 7-month-old Gammy, who also has a congenital heart defect, because his biological parents from Australia abandoned him in Thailand.
Christians should memorize not only the Ten Commandments but also the beatitudes, which Jesus taught as the path to true happiness, Pope Francis said.
At his weekly general audience Wednesday, the pope said he was so serious about the need for Christians to know the text of the beatitudes from Matthew 5:3-12 -- "Blessed are the poor in spirit ..." -- that he would read each one out loud and have the crowd repeat it.
More than 6,000 people filled the Vatican audience hall and its atrium for the pope's first general audience after a monthlong break.
Francis Chronicles: "If you follow Jesus and his Gospel, your freedom will blossom like a plant in bloom and will bring good and abundant fruit."
Taking a vow of poverty does not and should not mean living in ignorance of the economic realities connected to community life and a mission of serving the world in the name of the church, Vatican officials wrote in a letter to members of religious communities.
"Gratuity, fraternity and justice" are the basic principles essential to "an evangelical economy of sharing and communion," said the prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Maryknoll Fr. Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, 81, had written to the Vatican that he wanted to be able to celebrate Mass again "before dying."
Going forward for Communion at Mass, Catholics must do so with a desire to imitate Jesus' compassion for others and with a commitment to sharing what they have, Pope Francis said.
"One who goes to the Eucharist without having compassion for the needy and without sharing is not right with Jesus," the pope said Sunday before reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square.