President Barack Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican Thursday.
VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has recalled moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty in an emotional, final general audience in St. Peter's Square before retiring.
Benedict thanked his cardinals, colleagues and ordinary faithful for their support and for respecting his decision to become the first pope in 600 years to resign. He said that "to love the church means also to have the courage to take difficult, painful decisions, always keeping the good of the church in mind, not oneself."
Tens of thousands of people toting banners saying "Grazie!" -- "thank you" -- jammed the piazza to bid Benedict farewell during his last audience -- the appointment he has kept each week to teach the world about the Catholic faith.
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.