More than 55,000 people have signed a petition calling for Cardinal George Pell to return to Australia after allegations that he tried to bribe the victim of a pedophile priest.
Pope Francis asked Catholics worldwide to show solidarity through their prayers for Catholics in China and for persecuted Christians over the Pentecost weekend.
The World Day of Prayer for the Church in China is observed each year on the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, May 24, which this year falls on Pentecost.
Catholics in China invoke Mary, venerated at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan, near Shanghai, each May 24, the pope noted.
Parents must not exclude themselves from their children's lives and, despite what some "experts" may say, they must take an active role in their children's education, said Pope Francis during his general audience Wednesday in St. Peter's Square.
"It's time for fathers and mothers to come out of their exile -- because they have exiled themselves from their children's education -- and to fully assume again their educational role," he said.
Despite reports in the Italian press that Blessed Teresa of Kolkata's canonization has been set for Sept. 4, 2016, a Vatican spokesman says the date is only hypothetical and cannot be confirmed.
Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi issued a statement Tuesday in response to media reports that the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, who worked among the poorest of the poor, would be canonized before the end of the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy.
Everyone would do well to reflect on their "final farewell" from earthly life and on whether they are prepared to entrust themselves and all they will leave behind to God, said Pope Francis.
During a morning Mass Tuesday at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope reflected on the day's readings in which Jesus, after speaking to his disciples of his imminent departure for the Father, prays "the hour has come" (John 17:1-11a), and in which St. Paul gathers with the elders of Ephesus before leaving for Jerusalem (Acts 20:17-27).
Women can be appointed heads of some offices of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis said, but that will not be enough to "recover the role" women should have in the Catholic church.
"Women should be promoted," he said Saturday during an audience with an international group of men and women religious working in the diocese of Rome. But assigning a certain number of women to leadership positions is "simply functionalism," he said.
What is important is to ensure that women have a voice and are listened to, he said, because the church needs their specific contributions.
The two new Palestinian saints were instrumental in the promotion of women in the Arab world and in efforts for interreligious dialogue toward peace, said Jordanian Fr. Rifat Bader.
Pope Francis was to canonize Blessed Marie-Alphonsine and Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified along with a French nun and an Italian nun by during a Mass in St. Peter's Square this Sunday.
Two days ahead of the Mass, larger-than-life-sized tapestries of each of the soon-to-be saints already decorated the facade of St. Peter's Basilica.
Pope Francis' concern for those suffering on the margins and for small Catholic communities that have kept the faith alive through war or repression will take him to Bosnia-Herzegovina in early June.
By making a one-day trip June 6 to Sarajevo, he said he hoped he could "be an encouragement for the Catholic faithful, give rise to the development of the good and contribute to strengthening fraternity, peace, interreligious dialogue and friendship."
The agreement expresses hope for an end to Palestinian-Israeli tensions and supports the existence of two separate, independent nations living side by side in security and peace.
The closer two people are to each other, the more care is required in respecting the other's freedom and feelings, Pope Francis said.
Even Jesus knocks at the door of a person's heart awaiting permission to enter, he said Wednesday at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
"Intimacy does not authorize you to take everything for granted," he said, starting a series of audience talks he said would look at the "real life" of families today.