Pope Francis' devotion is profound but simple: Mary is a mother to every believer; Jesus would not leave his followers orphans.
Pope Francis' July 5-12 visit to Latin America will not take him to his native Argentina, but it will put him closely in touch with his Jesuit roots and with one of the main characteristics of his ministry as archbishop of Buenos Aires: direct contact with the poor, the sick and those striving to bring the Gospel to bear on social inequalities.
The pope will begin his three-nation South America tour in Ecuador before moving on to Bolivia and Paraguay, the Vatican announced Friday when it published a detailed itinerary for the visit.
Never let practice and competition get in the way of going to Mass, studying for school, being with friends and helping the poor, Pope Francis told an Italian sports association.
And never let Italy's infatuation with soccer -- like in the pope's native Argentina -- crowd out all the other sports, which are just as important for teaching kids the benefits of teamwork and sacrifice, he said Thursday.
Distinctly Catholic: The Vatican published the statutes for the Commission for the Protection of Minors, giving that body canonical and juridical status within the Roman Curia.
It used to be that just saying the words "liberation theology" around Catholics was enough to start a schism-level fight, or at least raise a red flag in Rome.
The theological movement that focused on the poor emerged out of the church's social justice ferment in the 1960s, but it was always viewed by conservatives as an irredeemably Marxist version of the Gospel.
Worse, they said it was a tool of Soviet communists who were using the Roman Catholic church to foment revolution in Latin America and beyond, and at the very height of the Cold War.
As I was reflecting on these Scripture lessons during this past week, I was reminded of a book that I had read quite a long time ago that had left a great impact on me. It's called Jesus Before Christianity. In other words, before there was a structured, organized, institutional church, in the very beginning -- Jesus before all that organization took place. It's written by a Dominican theologian priest, Fr. Albert Nolan.
Simply Spirit: The Vatican's former hard-line freeze on discussing women's roles may at last be thawing out.
Real love is constant, concrete and communicates -- it is action over words and it obeys the Beatitudes, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.
True love is not "soap-opera love," or "a whim" or something that "makes our heart beat a little faster," and then nothing more, the pope said Thursday during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Love is found "in concrete actions," he said, which is why Jesus told his disciples that only those who do the Father's will would enter into the kingdom of heaven, not those who just call out, "Lord, Lord."
Commentary: In the era of Pope Francis, the whole event has the taste of rotten eggs that should have been thrown out long ago.
A group of Catholic sisters, brothers and priests are spending five days focusing specifically on Francis' call to go to the peripheries and serve those most in need.