Catholics around the globe are reacting mostly positively to Pope Francis' recent remarks that the church has become too focused on "small-minded rules" on hot-button issues like homosexuality, abortion and contraceptives.
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis says he never wanted to be pope and that he lives in the Vatican hotel to avoid becoming isolated.
Francis showed a personal and spontaneous side as he met with thousands of children from Jesuit schools across Italy and Albania. Tossing aside his prepared remarks, he invited their questions instead. Answering them one by one, Francis said the decision to become a priest had been difficult and that he had suffered "moments of interior darkness." But he said he went ahead because he loved Christ.
When a little girl asked Francis if he had wanted to be pope, Francis joked that only someone who hated himself would want to be pope. But then he became serious, saying: "I didn't want to be pope."
This week, the Vatican confirmed that Francis won't vacation at the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolofo, and would instead remain in the Santa Marta hotel with a reduced work schedule.
Pope Francis is warning that the Catholic Church's moral edifice might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception.
Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn't judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.
Pope Francis on Friday cleared Pope John Paul II for sainthood, approving a miracle attributed to his intercession and setting up a remarkable dual canonization along with another beloved pope, John XXIII.