Ernst von Freyberg, president of the Vatican bank, poses for a photo in his office at the Vatican June 10. Von Freyberg, a German industrialist, was appointed to head the beleaguered bank in 2013 after his predecessor, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was ousted b y the bank's board for "failure to carry out basic duties."
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican Bank is preparing for big changes in its governance and structure. Tuesday, July 8, 2014
VATICAN CITY -- Seven months after hiring a consulting firm to study the Vatican's communications structures, the Vatican has set up an 11-member committee -- which includes Our Sunday Visitor's Greg Erlandson -- to suggest ways to increase collaboration and cut costs. Wednesday, July 9, 2014
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's final budget figures for 2013 shows a deficit on the part of the Roman Curia, but a strong performance by entities falling under the separate Vatican City State budget covered the deficit and helped the Vatican end the year 8.5 million euros ($11.6 million) in the black. Tuesday, July 8, 2014
VATICAN CITY — When the 30 men carrying a large statue of Mary and the hundreds of people accompanying the statue in southern Italy paused and bowed in front of the house of a presumed mafia boss, the local bishop denounced them as blasphemous. Tuesday, July 8, 2014
ROME — The crisis of child abuse by clergy is not a thing of the past — it will linger until the church humbly and courageously reaches out to all people still suffering in silence, says Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin. Tuesday, July 8, 2014
MANILA, Philippines — The head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines reiterated a call to be more like Pope Francis as the Asian country prepares for the pontiff's upcoming visit. Monday, July 7, 2014
VATICAN CITY -- Consultations and assessments concerning the overhaul of the Vatican bureaucracy and its finances continued as Pope Francis met for a fifth series of meetings with his international Council of Cardinals. Monday, July 7, 2014
VATICAN CITY -- Although the Legionaries of Christ have returned to a normal form of self-governance, the Vatican named a top canon lawyer as a special adviser to the Religious community. Monday, July 7, 2014
VATICAN CITY — The tragic deaths of thousands of men, women and children who die while searching for a better future should trigger compassion and action, not indifference, Pope Francis said. Monday, July 7, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Asking for forgiveness, Pope Francis told abuse survivors that "despicable actions" caused by clergy have been hidden for too long and had been "camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained." Monday, July 7, 2014
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican formally recognized an international association of exorcists founded by Pauline Father Gabriele Amorth, an Italian priest renowned for his work in dispelling demons. Monday, July 7, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Sympathizing with all the unknowns facing young people today, Pope Francis — half joking — said it is easier for a pope because he knows where his earthly life will end. Thursday, July 3, 2014
VATICAN CITY — The official logo and prayer for World Youth Day 2016 were unveiled in the event's host city — Krakow, Poland — by the city's archbishop, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. Thursday, July 3, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Landmines wound innocent civilians, "prolong war and nurture fear" long after conflicts have ended, Pope Francis told delegates working on the full implementation of an international treaty banning the production and use of anti-personnel mines. Thursday, July 3, 2014
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop George W. Coleman of Fall River, Massachusetts, and appointed Auxiliary Bishop Edgar da Cunha of Newark, New Jersey, as his successor. Thursday, July 3, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Consultations and assessments concerning the overhaul of the Vatican bureaucracy and its finances continued as Pope Francis met for a fifth series of meetings with his international Council of Cardinals. Wednesday, July 2, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis telephoned Rome's chief rabbi to personally express his sadness over the murder of three kidnapped Israeli teens whose bodies were found June 30 in Hebron, West Bank. Wednesday, July 2, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named a Filipino archbishop, who helped lead and rebuild the church in Haiti after its devastating earthquake, as the Vatican representative at the United Nations in New York. Wednesday, July 2, 2014
VATICAN CITY — After placing woolen bands, called palliums, over the shoulders of 24 archbishops from around the world, Pope Francis urged them to trust in God and not seek refuge in power or prestige. Monday, June 30, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Representatives of the world's Catholic bishops, meeting together in a synod, are not expected to make any formal proposals about the church's pastoral care of families until after a second, larger gathering in 2015. Friday, June 27, 2014
VATICAN CITY — The working document for the October 2014 extraordinary Synod of Bishops offers a picture of the Catholic Church today struggling to preach the Gospel and transmit moral teachings amid a "widespread cultural, social and spiritual crisis" of the family.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis met privately in early June with seminarians belonging to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate Conception, a religious order placed under the direction of an apostolic commissioner a year earlier.
WASHINGTON — Parishioners who have occupied a closed Massachusetts Catholic church for nearly a decade said they plan one final petition to Pope Francis to prevent the building from being sold by the Boston Archdiocese.
VATICAN CITY — In the stronghold of an Italian crime syndicate believed to be richer and more powerful than the Sicilian Mafia, Pope Francis said, "Those who follow the path of evil, like the mafiosi do, are not in communion with God; they are excommunicated!"
VATICAN CITY -- In the stronghold of an Italian crime syndicate believed to be richer and more powerful than the Sicilian Mafia, Pope Francis said, "Those who follow the path of evil, like the mafiosi do, are not in communion with God; they are excommunicated!"
SANTIAGO, Chile — After almost a year of investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith concluded that Bishop Cristian Contreras Molina of San Felipe was innocent of the child abuse accusations made against him.
VATICAN CITY — When a significant portion of the Catholic faithful ignore or reject a church teaching, it is often — but not always — a sign that social and cultural pressures are weakening their faith or that church leaders simply have not found a way to explain the teaching, said members of the International Theological Commission.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Pope Francis' dream for the Catholic Church is to not only be a teacher but also a mother "caressing her children with compassion," the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications told members of the Catholic media.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis says legalizing marijuana and other so-called "recreational drugs" has never curbed drug addiction rates and has little impact on the criminal organizations trafficking drugs around the world.
ROME — Saying they wanted to "look forward with renewed commitment," the Camillian Fathers and Brothers elected a 59-year-old Brazilian as superior general seven months after the previous superior was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping.
VATICAN CITY — Because he is experiencing some trouble walking long distances, Pope Francis decided not to join the Corpus Christi procession after the Mass he celebrate the evening of June 19, the Vatican spokesman said.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis' schedule for summer 2014 is almost an exact duplicate of the schedule he kept in 2013, except he will be making an August trip to South Korea for Asian Youth Day. Last year, he traveled to Brazil in July for World Youth Day.
VATICAN CITY — The Korean martyrs who gave their lives for the faith, the young people who will be the leaders of the church across Asia and people with disabilities are the key features of the schedule prepared for Pope Francis when he visits South Korea in mid-August.
VATICAN CITY — Addressing Mary as "mother of refugees," Pope Francis offered prayers for the millions of people in the world forced to flee their homelands, and he asked Catholics to reach out to them with assistance and a real welcome.
VATICAN CITY — Beginning a series of audience talks about the church, its identity and mission, Pope Francis said it would be "a bit like a son talking about his mother, his own family," because the church is the mother of Christ's disciples and is called to be united as a family.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis formally announced six men and women would be made saints Nov. 23, the feast of Christ the King. He made the announcement during a morning "ordinary public consistory," a meeting of cardinals and promoters of the sainthood causes that formally ends the sainthood process.
VATICAN CITY -- On rickety boats crossing the Mediterranean Sea or on trains through Mexico or desert paths crossing the U.S.-Mexican border, a huge increase in the number of children traveling alone to flee war or violence calls for urgent action by the international community, a Vatican official says.
VATICAN CITY — Although they have not yet reached full unity, Roman Catholics and Anglicans continue their dialogue, come together in prayer and work side by side, including on a new project to combat human trafficking around the world.
ROME — In a historic square in the center of Rome, Pope Francis urged Catholics to gather strength in prayer and then set out for the margins of society, bringing the Gospel and material aid to the poor, the elderly, the young and the excluded.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has reconfirmed most members of the Congregation for Clergy and named three new members. The new members named June 9 were U.S.-born Archbishop Gintaras Grusas of Vilnius, Lithuania; Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Betori of Florence, Italy; and German Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Berlin.
VATICAN CITY — Being a good Christian demands concrete action and deeds, Pope Francis said. And, he said, the "how-to" manual is found in the beatitudes and the Last Judgment, which spells out the consequences awaiting those who fail to help others in need.
VATICAN CITY — Praying for peace in the Holy Land alongside leaders of long-antagonistic nations, Pope Francis called on God to act where human efforts had failed, to end what he described as violence inspired by the devil. Monday, June 9, 2014
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named a slate of new members to the Vatican's financial watchdog agency, replacing an all-Italian panel with members from Italy, Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.
VATICAN CITY — Popes pray for peace; it is part of their ministry. And when war is raging or peace negotiations seem hopelessly bogged down, recent popes have invited leaders of other Christian traditions and other faiths to join them in prayer.
VATICAN CITY — Members of Gypsy communities around the world are among the poorest, most marginalized people in society, which makes them particularly vulnerable to discrimination, oppression and exploitation, Pope Francis said.
VATICAN CITY — Those who insist others pray and believe exactly like they do, those who have alternatives to every church teaching and benefactors who use the church as a cover for business connections may call themselves Catholics, but they have one foot out the door, Pope Francis said.
VATICAN CITY — From Cameroon to northern Italy and from Montreal to the Vatican, statements expressing "great joy" accompanied the news that a Canadian sister of Notre-Dame and two Italian missionary priests were released unharmed almost two months after being kidnapped in northern Cameroon.
ROME — Meeting more than 50,000 Catholic charismatics in Rome's Olympic Stadium, Pope Francis admitted he was not always comfortable with the way they prayed, but he knelt onstage as they prayed for him and over him by singing and speaking in tongues.
VATICAN CITY — An Indian cardinal who had been the editor of a Catholic weekly newspaper before coming to Rome to serve as head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches died in Rome at the age of 90.
VATICAN CITY — Although Christ ascended into heaven, he remains present in a new form through the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit in order to accompany and guide people in their daily lives, Pope Francis said.
VATICAN CITY — Standing before a replica of the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes from France, Pope Francis told Vatican employees and other guests that Mary is a mother who never makes her children wait for a response to their prayers.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Catholic Church must establish a presence in the digital world of communications or risk being at the margins of people's lives, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
VATICAN CITY — A "globalization of indifference" has taken hold of too many of the world's people, numbing them to the horrifying reality faced by the people of Syria and other innocent victims of war and violence around the world, Pope Francis said.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis told reporters May 26 that "three bishops are under investigation" for misdeeds related to the sexual abuse of minors and that "one has already been condemned and his penalty is being studied."
VATICAN CITY -- Given the Holy Land's long and complex history of military, religious and cultural conflict, the run-up to Pope Francis' May 24-26 pilgrimage was inevitably marked by fears it would be marred by controversy -- or worse.
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM TEL AVIV -- During an inflight news conference May 26 on his return to Rome from the Holy Land, Pope Francis answered several questions about his just-ended three-day visit, giving reporters insights into his thinking and glimpses behind the scenes of the high-profile events.
JERUSALEM — Pope Francis spent the last morning of his three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land meeting with Muslims and Jews and calling for closer relations among the three major monotheistic religions as the basis for peace in the region.
JERUSALEM — Half a century after a historic encounter between their predecessors, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met in the same place to seek inspiration for Christian unity at the site of Christ's death and resurrection.
BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- A long line of cars trailed down the road next to the Church of the Nativity as Franciscan Father Ibrahim Faltas helped coordinate the placement of the electricity generator for the May 25 papal Mass.
VATICAN CITY — World leaders and policy makers need to look beyond the scientific and economic consequences of climate change and direct their attention to the human beings who will be most affected by rising global temperatures, a Vatican official said.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican spokesman denied a German newspaper report that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, retired Vatican secretary of state, was under criminal investigation for misappropriating funds from the so-called Vatican bank.
VATICAN CITY — The U.N. Committee Against Torture urged the Vatican to impose "meaningful sanctions" on any church authority who fails to follow church law in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and asked that church officials worldwide be required to report abuse allegations to local police.
VATICAN CITY — Anytime there are misunderstandings, errors or problems concerning religious orders, dialogue is the best way to deal with the situation, said the head of the Vatican office that oversees the world's religious orders.
WASHINGTON — Initial reviews of responses from around the world on questionnaires about church teaching on the family in advance of this fall's extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family show that the teaching is misunderstood, said a cardinal who will run one the synod's sessions.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is establishing a commission under the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to examine the appeals of priests punished for sexual abuse of minors and other very serious crimes.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis underscored migration and the narcotics trade as among the gravest ills plaguing the Catholic Church in Mexico and called on the country's bishops to help their flocks through solidarity and prayer.
VATICAN CITY — When Catholics engage in interreligious dialogue, their aim is not to convert their dialogue partners, but they should not exclude that possibility, say new Vatican guidelines on interreligious dialogue.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Pope Francis assured the bishops of El Salvador that the sainthood cause of slain Archbishop Oscar Romero was proceeding well, and the bishops asked him to come to El Salvador to preside personally over the archbishop's hoped-for beatification.
BOSTON — Father Joseph Muzquiz, an Opus Dei priest who is a candidate for sainthood, "helped countless people discover that we can encounter Jesus in the midst of our work and everyday lives," said the author of a book about the priest's life.
VATICAN CITY — On Pope Francis' first trip to the Holy Land, May 24-26, his agenda will focus on the search for Christian unity, particularly between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. But inevitably, in a region so rich in history and so fraught with conflict, he will address other urgent issues, including dialogue with Jews and Muslims, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the plight of the Middle East's shrinking Christian population.
VATICAN CITY — If individuals and nations are serious about protecting human rights and promoting peace, they must do much more to curb the global arms trade and assist immigrants, Pope Francis told seven new ambassadors to the Vatican.
VATICAN CITY — A leading Indian Jesuit theologian specializing in mission, dialogue and inculturation, has been engaged in a dialogue with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but has not been censured or silenced by the Vatican.
VATICAN CITY — No matter how sophisticated and how many algorithms are programmed to help a drone or other machine make calculations before firing on a target, autonomous weapons systems could never comply with international human rights law, a Vatican official said.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis praised the generosity and tireless dedication of the retired patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Marco Ce, who died at age 88 May 12 in a hospital in Venice. He had been recovering from a fractured femur after a fall a month earlier.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis told about 300,000 Italian students that he loved school as a boy, as a teacher and as a bishop because it was a place where he met different people and where he was challenged to try to understand reality.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis told seminarians not to become "orphan priests," who are motherless without Mary; "businessman priests," who are after money; or "prince priests," who are aloof from the people.
VATICAN CITY -- Christian business leaders have felt the weight of the global economic crisis just like most workers have, but they must hold on to hope, increase their prayers and ask God's grace so their decisions may benefit as many people as possible, Pope Francis said.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis told about 300,000 Italian students that he loved school as a boy, as a teacher and as a bishop because it was a place where he met different people and where he was challenged to try to understand reality.
WASHINGTON -- The recent rebuke of the officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious by the head of the Vatican's doctrinal office should be viewed as one part of his entire remarks and one aspect of the group's visits and ongoing dialogue with Vatican officials, according to a statement by LCWR officers.
VATICAN CITY -- Bringing the Gospel to people of different cultures and viewpoints requires discernment, but most of all it requires evangelizers who have encountered Christ and want to share his love with all, Pope Francis said.
VATICAN CITY — Meeting top officials of the United Nations, Pope Francis called for a "worldwide ethical mobilization" that would push technical programs for justice, peace and development further by promoting respect for human life, "fraternity and solidarity."
VATICAN CITY -- The issues dividing Christian communities have changed over the past 50 years, but a Philadelphia archdiocesan priest working in ecumenical dialogue at the Vatican is confident that Christian unity is possible.
VATICAN CITY -- Too often Catholics turn the church into "a company that manufactures impediments" to faith, rather than a community that patiently helps people come to believe in Jesus, Pope Francis said.
BETHANY BEYOND THE JORDAN, Jordan — When Pope Francis visits the site on the Jordan River where St. John the Baptist baptized Jesus, he will meet with people suffering, spiritually as well as physically.
NEW YORK — Mercy, the "most central attribute of God," has been criminally neglected as a topic in the church. And mercy without justice is "cheap grace," according to German Cardinal Walter Kasper, a theologian and retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
VATICAN CITY — Using what he acknowledged was unusually "blunt" language, the head of the Vatican's doctrinal office rebuked officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for honoring a Catholic theologian whose work was judged "seriously inadequate" and for promoting futuristic ideas he described as "opposed to Christian revelation."
ROME — The Orthodox bishop who is coordinating the upcoming pilgrimage to Jerusalem by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said he hopes the patriarch's May 25 meeting with Pope Francis will give new impetus to efforts for Christian unity.
VATICAN CITY — The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests, permanent deacons and Religious men all increased in 2012, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics.
ROME — Catholic politicians and judges who support laws in conflict with church teaching on abortion, euthanasia, marriage and related issues commit "sacrilege" and cause "grave scandal" if they receive Communion, said the U.S. cardinal who heads the Vatican's highest court.
VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church is no place for "climbers," who want to reach the heights of prestige, power and profit, Pope Francis said. Instead of putting their sights on the church, such people should set off for the Alps for a healthier way to get to the top, the pope said May 5 during his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives.
VATICAN CITY — The new papal commission for protecting minors from clerical sex abuse will recommend stricter standards for accountability of abusers and those who fail to protect children, and will fight widespread denial of the problem within the church, said Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston.
VATICAN CITY — Appearing before a U.N. committee monitoring adherence to an international treaty designed to fight torture, Vatican officials repeatedly were asked about efforts to investigate allegations of clerical sexual abuse, punish offenders and cooperate with civil authorities in prosecuting the perpetrators.
Pope Francis told his new economic oversight council that it must be "courageous and determined" in its critical role of helping the church not waver from its real mission of bringing the Gospel to the world and helping those most in need. Friday, May 2, 2014
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis told his new economic oversight council that it must be "courageous and determined" in its critical role of helping the church not waver from its real mission of bringing the Gospel to the world and helping those most in need.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has appointed three cardinals, including Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec, to try to resolve a long-standing dispute with a Peruvian university and see if it would be possible to restore the university's designation as "pontifical" and "Catholic."
VATICAN CITY — Canonizing two recent popes in the presence of his immediate predecessor, Pope Francis praised the new Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II as men of courage and mercy, who responded to challenges of their time by modernizing the Catholic Church in fidelity to its ancient traditions.
VATICAN CITY -- Declining birth rates, abortion, leaving the Catholic Church for "other groups who seem to promise something better," divorce and "violence against women and children" all "threaten the sanctity of marriage, the stability of life in the home and consequently the life of society as a whole," the pope said in a message to bishops.
VATICAN CITY — The man who served as Blessed John Paul's spokesman and media adviser told reporters that the late pope did not initially understand the gravity of the clerical sexual abuse crisis, but once he did he immediately took strong steps to deal with it.
VATICAN CITY — People said Floribeth Mora Diaz was crazy to think Blessed John Paul II interceded with God to heal her brain aneurysm, but if so, "then it is a blessed craziness, because I'm healthy," she told reporters at the Vatican.
VATICAN CITY — Reports that Pope Francis told an Argentine woman civilly married to a divorced man that she can receive Communion "cannot be confirmed as reliable," said Jesuit Father Federico, the Vatican spokesman.
VATICAN CITY — When Christians pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," it is a genuine plea reflecting their needs — needs that Jesus took seriously, even to the point of cooking for his disciples, says Father Giovanni Cesare Pagazzi, an Italian theologian.
VATICAN CITY — Despite the risk that Pope Francis' upcoming trip to the Holy Land may be politicized, people shouldn't fear any distorted readings or manipulation of the journey, which is a gesture of peace, said the Vatican secretary of state.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis' morning homilies represent a rallying cry and "road map" for today's Christians in their daily journey to grow closer to God, said the Jesuit editor of a new collection of the homilies from the pope's early morning Masses.
VATICAN CITY — Ensuring small patients at a Vatican-owned hospital could keep an Italian Easter tradition, Pope Francis donated 150 brightly wrapped chocolate Easter eggs to children, including those undergoing cancer treatment, at the Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital near the Vatican.
VATICAN CITY — Trusting that people took his Lenten advice and either downloaded a Bible app or bought a pocket-sized edition of the Gospels, Pope Francis encouraged Christians to re-read the accounts of the Resurrection during Easter week.
ROME —Standing in the midst of a giant cross outlined with small torches, Pope Francis said the cross is a reminder of how much evil people are capable of and how much love Jesus had for a sinful humanity.
VATICAN CITY — After nearly half a century, the Vatican has dropped its veto on the writings of a popular Italian priest, and his role in the church is being re-evaluated, said the archbishop of Florence.
SAO PAULO — With fire still raging in parts of the historic city of Valparaiso, Chile, Caritas Chile and the Diocese of Valparaiso opened a bank account to help more than 10,000 people forced from their homes.