In the 1950s, developers in Vatican City discovered what appeared to be an undeveloped field was actually a cemetery that is thousands of years old.
Pope Francis has chosen the theme, "He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich," for this year's Lenten message, said a Vatican statement Friday.
The theme comes from a verse from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians, where the apostle is promoting generosity in giving and wishes to "test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others."
The full verse reads: "For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (2 Cor 8:9).
The Francis Chronicles: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith should also look at ways to collaborate with a new papal advisory commission on abuse, the pope said.
"We are working intensely on the final report, and after careful study and consideration, we think it will be made public soon."
Just a few days before the feast of St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesians, the Vatican Library announced a major project to inventory, digitalize, catalogue and study unique historical documents collected by a Salesian missionary to Japan.
The estimated 10,000 original documents, dating from early in the 1600s to the mid-1800s, provide cold bureaucratic details about the persecution of Christians in Japan during that period.
Less than a week after a relic of Blessed John Paul II disappeared from a country chapel east of Rome, Italian police arrested two men for the theft, but the venerated piece of fabric stained with the late pope's blood was still missing.
Catholic universities must give "uncompromising" and "unambiguous" witness to church teaching and defend themselves from all efforts to dilute their Catholic identity, Pope Francis said.
Catholic universities, "by their very nature, are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life," he said in an audience with members of the board of trustees of the University of Notre Dame and other officials.
The "Francis revolution" continued in January with personnel shuffles, policy signals and gestures reinforcing the pope's vision of a more merciful church.
Prayers of praise for God aren't just for charismatics, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.
"We find it easy to understand praying to ask God for something and also to thank the Lord," he said Tuesday at his early morning Mass. But prayers of praise "don't come so spontaneously."
According to a report in Vatican Radio, Pope Francis focused his homily on a line from the day's first reading, which described David as "dancing before the Lord with abandon."
Thieves reportedly stole a relic of Blessed John Paul II from a country chapel 85 miles east of Rome.
Italian media reported Monday that the relic, a piece of fabric soaked in Blessed John Paul's blood, had disappeared over the preceding weekend from the church of San Pietro della Ienca. The church is located near the city of L'Aquila, in the mountainous Abruzzo region where the late pope frequently went on brief vacations.