Pope Francis prayed that Catholics throughout the Americas would open their arms to the poor, to immigrants, to the unborn and to the aged just as Mary opens her arms to all.
Purported visions of Mary, if taken in the wrong spirit, can sow confusion and distance people from the Gospel, Pope Francis said.
With baptism, Christians are cleansed of sin, but the sacrament doesn’t wash away human weakness nor the obligation to ask forgiveness when they make mistakes, Pope Francis said.
Saints aren’t superheroes, they are regular people who just never left God’s side after encountering him and his love, Pope Francis said on the feast of All Saints.
Trials and doubts are part of everyone’s faith journey, “even mine,” Pope Francis said, but Christians know they can get through the hard times with help from God, other Christians and those in heaven.
Christian hope is not mere optimism or a “positive attitude” toward the world but a vital link to eternal salvation, Pope Francis said.
The predicament of divorced and remarried Catholics will be a major topic of discussion when bishops from around the world meet at the Vatican in October 2014.
If the church excluded sinners, it would pretty much be empty, Pope Francis told thousands of people gathered for his weekly general audience.
Pope Francis said the church should approach its members with the face of a patient, merciful and understanding mother, who always forgives her erring children and never ceases to pray that they resume the path of Christian living.
The Catholic Church closely safeguards the sanctity of marriage because it is a reflection of Christ’s union with his bride, the church, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis recalled his July 22-28 visit to Rio de Janeiro, thanking his Brazilian hosts for their warm welcome, and describing World Youth Day celebrations there as a great party of faith.