The October extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was not the scene of "a clash between factions, but of a debate among bishops," a work that will continue with the 2015 general synod "for the good of families, the church and society," Pope Francis said.
The Catholic church is well-known for its opposition to many important "-isms" over the years: It has railed against secularism, materialism, communism, and modernism with vigor and determination. Now it appears Pope Francis has decided to argue against an "-ism" of a different sort.
For more than a year now, Francis has repeatedly returned to the issue of religious fundamentalism and has condemned it, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish fundamentalism.
Pope Francis urged people worldwide "not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity."
Pope's quotes: Some of our favorite quotes from Pope Francis.
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn also said open controversy is "absolutely essential" when discussing the future of the Catholic church.
As his international Council of Cardinals began a three-day meeting to discuss the reform of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis said having a perfect organizational chart for the church won't guarantee that the church fulfills its mission of bringing people to Christ.
Pope Francis did not travel to Vienna for two high-profile nuclear disarmament conferences, but his name was called out frequently during the events.
In the heart of Rome's high-end shopping district, sparkling with Christmas lights and shiny baubles in the windows of famous designers, Pope Francis prayed that people would spend time in silence and in service as they prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.
Celebrating the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Monday, Pope Francis prayed for Mary's intercession so that, "in us, your children, grace also will prevail over pride, and we can become merciful like our heavenly Father is merciful."
A Roman Observer: Australian Cardinal George Pell has always been a controversial figure. So why did Pope Francis bring him to the Vatican and place him in positions of power?
Pope Francis called on world leaders, activists and people of faith to pull together to rid the world of the threat of nuclear weapons.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva, read the pope's statement Monday in Vienna at the opening of Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.
In his message, Pope Francis restated the Vatican's long-standing advocacy for the global elimination of nuclear weapons and said peace is not just a balance of power, "but true justice."