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.
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 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.
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.