Pope Benedict has promised "unconditional obedience" to his successor. He was speaking during his final hours as pontiff. Benedict greeted cardinals for the last time before officially stepping down at 8pm
Pope Francis has appointed 20 new cardinals, 15 of whom will be eligible to elect the next pope. Once again his choices lent greater geographic representation to the Europe-centric College of Cardinals.
The head of the Catholic Church has issued very strong words against the Vatican's bureaucracy. At a Christmas meeting, he said members of the clergy were "amassing material goods, not out of need, but to feel safe."
Pope Paul VI has been beatified at a Mass in the Vatican. Although remembered widely for reaffirming the Catholic Church's ban on artificial contraception, he also left a legacy of reform.
Pope Francis has named 15 new "cardinal electors" from 14 nations in a move that further shifts the Catholic power center away from the developed world. Only three come from European nations. None come from the US.
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