President Barack Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican Thursday.
MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio - Pope Benedict XVI's retirement came as a surprise to many Catholics, including one northeast Ohio man with a special connection to the Vatican.
Ignatius Lovano of Maple Heights was a police officer in Italy in 1954, and was chosen to guard the future Pope John XXIII at a religious festival. Lovano remembers spending the entire day with him.
"He said to me, 'Are your legs made of steel?' because he saw me standing without movement," Lovano recalled. "I said 'Holy Father, I am only 24.'"
After he was elected Pope, Lovano sent a picture of that day to the Vatican. Pope John autographed the photo and sent it back to Lovano along with his papal photo and a note.
"He sent the blessing to me and my family," he said. "He was very happy to sign the picture for me."
Five decades later and Lovano still beams with pride when he speaks of the picture with Pope John. He displays the photo at the Northfield Plaza Barber Shop where, at age 83, he still cuts hair one day a week.
Pope Francis' pared down papal wardrobe of sensible black shoes and a white cassock so thin you can see his black trousers.
New surveys commissioned by the Vatican show that the vast majority of Catholics in Germany and Switzerland reject church teaching on contraception, sexual morality, gay unions and divorce, findings remarkable both in their similarity and in the fact that they were even publicized.
Two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds.
A document obtained by The Associated Press on Friday shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children.
Benedict XVI has returned to the Vatican for the first time since he resigned Feb. 28 and met with successor Pope Francis.
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.
Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon and other area leaders react to the election of Pope Francis I.
Latin Americans are reacting with joy to news of the first pope from the hemisphere, bursting into tears and cheers.
Pope Francis is the first ever from the Americas, an austere Jesuit intellectual who modernized Argentina's conservative Catholic church.