Pope Francis

POPE'S MESSAGE | God awaits our return to Him up to the last moment

Pope Francis shook hands with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem during a private audience at the Vatican Oct. 23. At the patriarch’s official visit, Pope Francis said Christian communities in the Holy Land also must stand together to affirm their right to remain in the region, to profess their faith, to be safe and to contribute to society.

VATICAN CITY — God waits for everyone, even the worst sinner who repents only with his dying breath, Pope Francis said.

"Before God, we present ourselves with empty hands," he said, meaning that all the good works people have or haven't done throughout their lives aren't measured to determine entry into heaven.

"A word of humble repentance was enough to touch Jesus' heart" and to make Him promise eternal life in heaven even to a poor criminal, he said Oct. 25 at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

Christian life is a love story with God, pope says at canonization

Pope Francis used incense to venerate an image of Mary during the canonization Mass of new saints in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 15. The pope canonized groups of martyrs from Mexico and Brazil, an Italian Capuchin priest and a Spanish priest.

VATICAN CITY — Like the Catholic Church's newest saints, Christians are called to live their faith as a love story with God who wants a relationship that is "more than that of devoted subjects with their king," Pope Francis said.

Without a loving relationship with God, Christian life can become empty and "an impossible ethic, a collection of rules and laws to obey for no good reason," the pope said during Mass Oct. 15 in St. Peter's Square.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Faith brings hope even at moment of death

Pope Francis greeted visually impaired people, accompanied by their dogs, at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 18.

VATICAN CITY — Christians can find hope even at the hour of death, which faith teaches is not a closed door but a wide-open passage to a new life with Christ, Pope Francis said.

While all men and women are "small and helpless in front of the mystery of death," Jesus' victory over death assures Christians of the joy of the resurrection, the pope said Oct. 18 at his weekly general audience.

Death penalty is ‘contrary to the Gospel,’ pope says

The death penalty, no matter how it is carried out, "is, in itself, contrary to the Gospel," Pope Francis said.

Marking the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church at the Vatican Oct. 11, Pope Francis said the catechism's discussion of the death penalty, already formally amended by St. John Paul II, needs to be even more explicitly against capital punishment.

Capital punishment, he said, "heavily wounds human dignity" and is an "inhuman measure."

POPE’S MESSAGE | Nothing is in vain, nothing is resistant to love

Pope Francis gestured as he left his general audience Oct. 11 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Continuing his series of audience talks on Christian hope, the pope reflected on a reading from the Gospel of St. Luke, in which the disciples are asked to be like faithful and vigilant servants.

VATICAN CITY — Christians are never pessimistic, resigned or weak, thinking life is an unstoppable train careening out of control, Pope Francis said.

Pope’s communications day theme: Truth in age of ‘fake news’

Pope Francis gestured as he talked Oct. 1 on a pastoral visit in Cesena, Italy. In his message for World Communications Day in May 2018, the pope will highlight the importance of truth.

VATICAN CITY — Given the strong divisions sparked and fueled by "fake news," Pope Francis is highlighting the importance of truth in his message for World Communications Day.

The message will call for studying the causes and consequences of baseless information and will promote "professional journalism," which always seeks the truth and therefore peace and understanding in the world, the Vatican Secretariat for Communication said, announcing the theme.

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