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.
CLEVELAND - The bells were ringing at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Cleveland Wednesday night. The parish had a special mass for the new pope.
"First of all, we want to thank God that we have a leader because we have felt this emptiness," Father Joseph Callahan said, "and also ask for blessings on this new chapter in the history of the church."
Our Lady of Lourdes is about 60 percent Hispanic. Parishioners said they are proud that Pope Francis is from Argentina.
"I think it's really nice that we have an Hispanic pope," Jacqueline Escobar said. "I'm proud."
Father Callahan said he was impressed with the pope's first words when he asked for prayers for both Benedict XVI and for himself.
"He bowed to the people and asked for a moment of silence, which shows a great deal of humbleness and simplicity. Those gestures, I think, are going to mark his ministry as pope," he said.
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.
Pope Francis says he never wanted to be pope and that he lives in the Vatican hotel to avoid becoming isolated.
Benedict XVI has returned to the Vatican for the first time since he resigned Feb. 28 and met with successor Pope Francis.
Pope Francis thrilled tens of thousands of people on Tuesday gathered for his installation Mass, taking a long round-about through St. Peter's Square and getting out of his jeep to bless a disabled man -- a gesture from a man whose papacy is becoming defined by concern for the disadvantaged.
Local religious leaders discuss the election of the first Jesuit pope.
Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and pay the bill himself.
On the streets in Buenos Aires, the stories about the cardinal who has become the first pope from the Americas often include a very ordinary backdrop: The city bus during rush hour.