Almost every papal trip abroad is a complex mix of the religious and political, and that will be especially true of Pope Francis' Nov. 28-30 visit to Turkey.
NCR Today: Streets of Ferguson erupt; Francis discusses reform inside the Curia; new reality TV show to air featuring religious life; Houston Catholic Charities facing lawsuit
NCR Today: The canonization rite reformed by Pope Paul VI but set aside by Pope Benedict XVI has been returned by Pope Francis for the canonization of six saints Sunday.
A Roman Observer: Pope Francis' transfer of Cardinal Raymond Burke has intensified yet more irresponsible talk of schism within the Catholic church.
The move seems to be an attempt by Francis to clear up any ambiguity about the pontiff's power to replace prelates around the world.
Pope Francis on Monday waded into the controversial debate over the origins of human life, saying the big bang theory did not contradict the role of a divine creator, but even required it.
The pope was addressing the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which gathered at the Vatican to discuss "Evolving Concepts of Nature."
"When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so," Francis said.
Retired Pope Benedict XVI is a perfect example of how intellectual knowledge and scientific curiosity do not lead a person further from God, but can strengthen their love for God and for his human creatures, Pope Francis said.
"Benedict XVI was a great pope," he said: "Great for the power and penetration of his intellect, great for his considerable contribution to theology, great for his love for the church and for human beings, great for his virtues and his religiosity."
Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures.
Pope Francis praised Blessed Paul VI as a "humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his church" at Paul's beatification Mass on Sunday.
Making a Difference: True respect for life requires us to get out of our comfort zone. Do you respect life in all arenas, or just one?