Opinion: Young Catholics are increasingly turned off by the attitudes of some American bishops, including the opposition to civil gay marriage and refusal to consider female priests.
Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See said the pope could be a target for the Islamic State, but the Vatican says Francis faces no specific threat.
Francis Chronicles: "The love of Christ ... is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out."
Pope's quotes: Some of our favorite quotes from Pope Francis
The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis is planning to visit Turkey "in the last days of November," but said the length of his trip and his agenda in the country have yet to be determined.
Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, made the announcement to reporters Friday, noting that a formal invitation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had arrived at the Vatican earlier in the day.
Pope's quotes: Some of our favorite quotes from Pope Francis.
In light of "countless requests from every part of the world," Pope Francis has approved putting Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII on the church's universal calendar of feast days.
Called the General Roman Calendar, it is the universal schedule of holy days and feast days for the Latin rite of the Catholic church.
The two saints' feast days, both of which have the ranking of an optional -- not obligatory -- memorial, are Oct. 11 for St. John XXIII and Oct. 22 for St. John Paul II.
In a long and complex article in the Sept. 15 issue of America magazine, Cardinal Walter Kasper discusses how mercy is understood in the Gospel and in the teaching of Pope Francis. He applies this to the possibility of permitting those in second marriages to be absolved and returned to the church in good standing. This issue is now under discussion in preparation for the upcoming synod, Kasper says, and it is clear he will be one of those pushing enthusiastically for change in the near future.
Among the men and women Pope Francis is set to unite in marriage are Catholics who have been living together as well as couples who already have children.
The pope will preside over his first wedding ceremony as pontiff during a nuptial Mass on Sunday in St. Peter's Basilica.
The event, which will see 20 couples from the Rome diocese celebrate the sacrament of marriage, was organized by the vicariate of Rome.
"Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others," the diocese said in a press release Wednesday.
News reports on Wednesday suggest that President Barack Obama is readying to take U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State -- the Sunni militant group rampaging through northern Iraq in an effort to establish an Islamic caliphate -- into Syria, where the group is headquartered.