Analysis: The Vatican summit on the challenges of family life wrapped without reaching a consensus on hot-button topics. Where does that leave Francis' papacy and the church?
The Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, are experiencing "terrorism of previously unimaginable proportions" in which the perpetrators seem to have absolutely no regard for the value of human life, Pope Francis said.
"It seems that the awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it seems that the person does not count and can be sacrificed to other interests. And all of this, unfortunately, with the indifference of many," he said during a special meeting at the Vatican on the Middle East.
With Francis, the "somewhat pessimistic basic mood" of the church has given way to a new joy, a spirit of optimism, and a new start, Cardinal Walter Kasper said.
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.
Pope's quotes: Some of our favorite quotes from Pope Francis.
Analysis: The synod was a victory for openness and discussion in the church, and the final document is an invitation for everyone to join that discussion.
Pope Paul VI was best known for reaffirming the church's ban on artificial contraception, but Pope Francis is focusing on Paul's other groundbreaking, though often overlooked, contributions.
Q and A: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz says the synod on the family is starting a process of discernment among the church's prelates.
"Saying that the doctrine will never change is a restrictive view of things. ... The core of the Catholic church remains the Gospel, but have we discovered everything?"