Pope Francis' recent actions regarding war in Syria have followed in close continuity with the spirit and record of his predecessors.
The Catholic church closely safeguards the sanctity of marriage because it is a reflection of Christ's union with his bride, the church, Pope Francis said.
Jesus often uses the imagery of a bridegroom to help people see the nature of his relationship with the church, the pope said Friday during his morning Mass in his residence of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
"I think this is exactly the most profound reason why the church safeguards the sacrament of Marriage so much and calls it the great sacrament, because it is precisely the image of the union of Christ with the church."
On the eve of the first anniversary of the death of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Pope Francis called the late-fellow Jesuit and biblical scholar, a "prophetic" figure and a "man of discernment and peace."
The late cardinal, who died Aug. 31, 2012, at the age of 85, was "a father for the whole church," and remembering one's fathers "is an act of justice," the pope said during a meeting with a group of Italian Jesuits.
Pope Francis and Jordan's King Abdullah II reaffirmed that dialogue is the "only option" to end the conflict in Syria, just as the United States and its European allies consider launching a military strike against the regime of President Bashar Assad.
The two leaders met for the first time Thursday at the Vatican. The pontiff and the king, accompanied by his wife, Queen Rania, talked in private for 20 minutes.
According to an official Vatican statement, during the meeting "special attention" was given to Syria's "tragic situation."
As part of the Year of Faith, the Vatican wants to celebrate bonds that last a lifetime.
The international pilgrimage of families Oct. 26-27 is being planned as a celebration and not a protest against any policy or trend, said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
"The time has come to set aside conflicts," he said, and "hit the streets" simply with the joy and happiness of being part of a loving family.
Archbishop Georg Ganswein, retired Pope Benedict XVI's longtime personal secretary, said a story about the pope resigning after a "mystical experience" was completely invented.
A new group of Benedictine monks uses Latin and liturgy to reach out to those whose faith was weak or nonexistent.
To emphasize that the sacrament of baptism formally brings a person into the church of God and not just into a local Christian community, the Vatican has ordered a slight change of wording in the baptismal rite.
At the beginning of the rite, instead of saying, "the Christian community welcomes you with great joy," the officiating minister will say, "the church of God welcomes you with great joy."
An Irish-born priest ordained in the U.S. who became a bishop in the Peruvian Andes died Monday at the age of 83.
Bishop William Molloy McDermott, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1955 and worked for several years in the diocese of Birmingham, Ala., moved to Peru in the early 1960s, serving at a rural parish in Huancarama.
In 1976, Pope Paul VI named him an auxiliary bishop of Huancavelica, in the Peruvian Andes. He became bishop of the diocese in 1982 and served there for 23 years until he suffered a stroke and retired in 2005.
Vatican activities for the Year of Faith begin again in late September with an international meeting of catechists, followed in October by a Marian pilgrimage in the presence of the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima and a celebration of faith and family life.
The International Conference on Catechesis will bring together leaders of national and diocesan offices Sept. 26-28 for religious education to discuss theory and practice before they begin a two-day Year of Faith pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter and celebrate Mass Sept. 29 with Pope Francis.