Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's former chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases, will head a new doctrinal team dealing with appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse.
While baptizing 33 babies in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday, Pope Francis urged mothers to breast-feed their infants if they were hungry.
"Mothers, give your children milk -- even now," Francis said. "If they cry because they are hungry, breast-feed them, don't worry."
The pope departed from his prepared text, which included the phrase "give them milk," and inserted the Italian term allattateli, which means "breast-feed them."
The celebration took place to mark the day Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan River.
Courses in yoga, Zen meditation, even extensive studies in church teaching and spirituality can never free people enough to open their hearts to God and his love, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.
Only the Holy Spirit can "move the heart" and make it "docile to the Lord, docile to the freedom of love," the pope said Friday at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
The pope looked at how Jesus' disciples could fail to recognize and be open to the Lord's miracles, like his walking on water, the multiplication of the loaves and encountering him on the road to Emmaus.
A commission of theologians has reportedly declared that Oscar Romero died as a martyr for the faith, a pivotal step toward sainthood.
The morning after 12 people were shot to death and 11 others injured at the Paris office of a satirical weekly newspaper, Pope Francis dedicated his early morning Mass to the victims and their families.
At the beginning of the Mass on Thursday, he told the small congregation that the attack Wednesday in Paris was a reminder of "the cruelty man is capable of. Let us pray at this Mass for the victims of this cruelty -- there are so many! And, we pray also for the perpetrators of such cruelty that the Lord will change their hearts."
An estimated 5,000 Yazidi women are being held as slaves by militants from the Islamic State group, Pope Francis was told when he met a top-level delegation of Yazidi leaders Thursday at the Vatican.
The delegation was led by Tahseen Said Al Baig, the Yazidis' secular leader, and Sheikh Kato, the group's supreme spiritual leader, or "Baba Sheikh," the Vatican said in a statement.
Yazidi officials from northern Iraq, Georgia and Germany were also among the delegation that met the pope for 30 minutes inside the Apostolic Palace.
The Vatican is helping Catholic dioceses and agencies step up the fight against Ebola and is urging other donors to help.
The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace announced Wednesday that the Holy See would be making a "financial contribution" to support church-sponsored assistance to those affected by the Ebola outbreak. Vatican Radio reported the sum would be $3.5 million.
Mothers are indispensable to society and the church, showing the world what it means to generously give oneself for others, to respect life and to display tenderness and moral strength even in times of trouble, Pope Francis said.
Speaking to some 4,000 people gathered indoors for his general audience Wednesday, the pope continued his series of talks about the family, but also gave a second talk about beauty and harmony when he thanked a group of circus performers at the end of the audience.
In every age and in every culture, people seek God just as the Three Kings did and, in every age, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they find him in the surprising humility of a baby born in a manger, Pope Francis said.
"Led by the Spirit, they come to realize that God's criteria are quite different from those of men, that God does not manifest himself in the power of this world, but speaks to us in the humbleness of his love," the pope said Tuesday, the feast of the Epiphany.
Peace is a gift that comes through prayer and through small daily efforts to sow harmony in one's family, parish and community, Pope Francis said.
"At the beginning of this new year, we are all called to reignite in our hearts a spark of hope, which must be translated into concrete works of peace: You don't get along with that person? Make peace. In your home? Make peace. In the community? Make peace. At work? Make peace," he said Sunday during his midday recitation of the Angelus.