The pontiff this week will visit New York City, Philadelphia and Washington.
Catholic women denied the right to enter the clergy are taking matters into their own hands.
Meanwhile, Israel debates its response to refugee crisis.
Alex Salinas, a 21-year-old Spanish transgender man, was denied his request to become his nephew's godfather by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Ahead of his announced Holy Year of Mercy, the pope wrote about "the tragedy of abortion."
The Vatican says Jozef Wesolowski's death was due to "natural causes."
Benzi Gopstein, the leader of an extreme Right-wing group, was detained by Israeli police on Tuesday.
Józef Wesołowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to face charges for sex abuse.
17,000 coloured condoms were used to depict the former leader of the Roman Catholic church
Israel, angered, calls the treaty "a hasty step (that) damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement."
The pope puts it very plainly to leaders who might be laggards: It's time to face climate change.
In what Vatican officials are calling "a heinous act," the Italian magazine "L'Espresso" leaked a draft of the hotly anticipated papal encyclical on the environment.
The creation of the tribunal is the biggest step the Vatican ever has taken to hold bishops accountable.
The pontiff has agreed to sign a treaty recognizing the state of Palestine.
The agreement "aims to enhance the life and activities of the Catholic Church and its recognition at the judicial level."
"The threat exists. This is what has emerged from conversations with Italian and foreign colleagues."
"We are ready to bear witness to whom we are and what we do according to the words of Christ."
Mehmet Ali Ağca paid his respects at the place where he attempted to murder the pope 33 years ago.
The Femen women's rights activist was freed after stealing a baby Jesus figurine on Christmas Day bare-breasted.
The Ukrainian woman was arrested on Friday and has been questioned by a judge
"Truly there are so many tears this Christmas," Pope Francis said in his annual address.
The Pope listed 15 "diseases" afflicting the highest-ranking members of the Catholic church.