Despite the sex abuse scandals, the Church has seen a renewed interest in training for the priesthood. "The more bad publicity we've had, the more students we get," says the head of a leading Melbourne seminary.
In November, 2013, Francis issued his first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel. It outlined his vision for a Church whose “doors should always be open,” and challenged economic injustice, reported Vatican Radio.
Francis burst on to the stage in March, 2013. With an easy charm, and an agenda focussed on the poor, he captured hearts around the world, even winning over a sceptical media. At year's end, TIME named him Person of the Year.
When Francis reached out into the St Peter's Square crowd to embrace Vinicio Riva, who has neurofibromatosis, an iconic image of the message of the Francis Papacy was born. CNN interviewed Riva in November, 2013.
In July, 2013, Pope Francis made his first Papal trip out of Rome, choosing Lampedusa, the Italian island where surviving African asylum-seekers make landfall in Europe. "Who has cried for the people" drowned at sea, the Pope asked.
Three million people attended the Pope's final Mass for World Youth Day 2013, on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, concluding his triumphant first overseas trip. Francis called on young people to revitalise the Church.
Pope Francis surprised many and set the tone for his Papacy with the first of his press conferences on a plane, conducted on his return from World Youth Day in Brazil.
In May, 2014, Francis went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He prayed at the Israeli security wall at Bethlehem and invited the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to the Vatican for a prayer encounter to promote peace. DW has the story.
On Maundy Thursday, 2013, Pope Francis continued the Papal tradition of humbling himself by washing the feet of others, as Christ had done for his disciples. But, wrote the The Telegraph, "never before had a pontiff washed the feet of a woman."
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, leaders of the millennium-long separated Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, have issued resounding and historic calls for the reunification of their global communities.
"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and contraception," Francis declared in August, 2013: "Pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrine."
School reborn as aged-care facility, Queensland laundry helps cyclone victims, Francis to visit Pompeii, and reflects on judging others.
John 2:13-25When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.
Australia's first Scalabrinian Missionary, Fr Dante Orsi, consecrated his life to serving God and his people until his death in January, reports Emily Ng for The Catholic Leader.
Sr Barbara Moore experienced Selma first-hand a half century ago, so when she sat down to watch the film, she wanted to do it alone, reports the Catholic News Service.
James Carroll confronts millennia of undisguised anti-Semitism, scriptural fabrications, and tactical misreadings of history which have prevented an informed understanding of Jesus of Nazareth, posits The Washington Post.
Refreshed by his week on retreat just outside Rome, the Pope came back to the Vatican and had a very busy schedule to fulfil, as the video coverage of his activities indicates.
The Pope's upcoming encyclical on the environment is anticipated with excitement by climate change campaigners and dread by some conservatives. But beyond the immediate political impact, a more enduring implication could lie in the theological shift it might represent, writes Clive Hamilton in ABC Online.
It is easy to mistake piety for the genuine response that God wants of us, that is, to enter into a relationship of intimacy with Him and then try to help others have that same experience, writes Ron Rolheiser.
Digita Vaticana Onlus is a non-profit organisation founded in 2013 to promote the conversion of the Vatican Library manuscripts into digital format.