Pope Benedict surprised the world on Monday by announcing he will resign at the end of the month. The pontiff said he was too infirm to carry on.
The pope will be stopping by Cuba en route to the United States, where he will address Congress and the United Nations. The pontiff's visit may serve as a diplomatic push for progress between Washington and Havana.
Francis says he could leave his job as pope after about three more years. The bombshell came in an interview with Mexico's Televisa broadcast Friday, the second anniversary of his election as pope.
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 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.