In an extraordinary gesture for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has extended to priests worldwide the authority to absolve women for the sin of abortion.
A Vatican official has ordered an autopsy on the body of former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who was found dead Aug. 28.
"Today's like the best day ever," said fourth-grader Farida Mintoumba upon the news that she's been chosen to meet the pope.
"Bowing one's head or 'blowing a kiss' when one passes a church or a crucifix or an image of Mary are small signs of that love," said Pope Francis. "They are prayers".
Vatican officials are adopting a reservation system for pilgrims who want to cross the threshold of the Holy Door at St. Peter's Basilica during the Year of Mercy.
Pope Francis will need a popemobile in Washington, New York and Philadelphia, and besides, "there is always a reserve" in case of malfunction.
"I don't think he's coming to the United States to antagonize, to criticize, to call out people," said ambassador Ken Hackett Aug. 4. "I think he's coming to shore up."
Catholics who have divorced and are civilly remarried "are not, in fact, excommunicated . . . and they absolutely must not be treated as if they were," Pope Francis said.
Trusting in God's infinite mercy, people should not be afraid or embarrassed to go to confession, Pope Francis said.
August is the heart of vacation time in Italy and at the Vatican, so the pope's schedule will continue to be lighter than normal.