The issue is especially pressing in Africa, where Nigeria recently adopted harsh prison terms for people in same-sex relationships.
The Peace Pulpit: The challenge to us today is to be the salt of the earth, to be the light that shines in the darkness. Listen to Bishop Gumbleton's homily.
Going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist should make a difference in the way Catholics live, Pope Francis said; they should be more accepting of others and more aware of their sinfulness.
"If we don't feel in need of God's mercy and don't think we are sinners, it's better not to go to Mass," Pope Francis said Wednesday at his weekly general audience. The Eucharist is a celebration of Christ's gift of himself for the salvation of sinners, which is why the Mass begins with people confessing they are sinners and begging for the Lord's mercy.
More than 10,000 people in 49 states gathered in vigils in early February to protest the expansion of the Keystone XL transnational pipeline because of its impact on wildlife and their habitats.
Analysis: The prospect of a weakened papacy seemed plausible in the wake of Pope Benedict's announcement, but the world has watched his successor make the office stronger.
What is a pope to do? That's the question raised by a story Monday in The Washington Post that highlighted a worldwide poll of Catholics. It shows that the faithful around the world (in general -- not everywhere on all issues) are much more progressive than the Vatican on selected issues.
NCR Today: It's been one year since Benedict's resignation; Shirley Temple dies; same-sex couples extended more federal privileges.
Distinctly Catholic: History will be kinder to Pope Benedict than most contemporary assessments. He was like a man from a different place and time.
Since his election, Pope Francis has made millions of friends and admirers. But he has acquired some critics, too. Then there are the extremely hostile, outspoken opponents who see him as a heretic or deceiver and speak with shrill and caustic voices. Not surprisingly, many of these come from the extremes of the religious traditions that Pope Francis talks a lot about -- Catholics and Jews.
Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of 124 Catholics who were killed during widespread persecution in Korea in the 18th through 19th centuries.
He also approved a decree recognizing the martyrdom of Conventual Franciscan Fr. Francesco Zirano, an Italian priest killed in Algeria in 1603.
The pope's approval of the martyrdom decrees Friday opened the way for the martyrs' beatifications on a date yet to be announced. A miracle is required before any blessed may be canonized.