Pope Francis has condemned female mutilation and domestic violence against women,calling them degradations that had to be combated.
"The many forms of slavery, the commercialisation, and mutilation of the bodies of women, call out to us to be committed to defeat these types of degradation that reduce them to mere objects that are bought and sold," he told a meeting on women's issues hosted by the Vatican's Council for Culture.
Pope Francis also denounced domestic violence.He said: "Although it is a symbol of life, the female body is unfortunately attacked and disfigured, even by those who should be its protector and life companion".
Although waving to the crowds from a chopper would increase his cool factor, Pope Francis is sticking with his Popemobile for now.Read the full story ›
Pope Francis has said he would make a one-day trip to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo in June, his latest visit to a country where Islam is the dominant religion amid growing persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
After the weekly Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, the pope told pilgrims he would go to Sarajevo on June 6 to encourage "reconciliation, peace, inter-religious dialogue and friendship".
It will be the first papal trip to Sarajevo in 18 years. Pope John Paul II ignored apparent assassination threats to visit the war-torn city in 1997, when he urged greater dialogue between Bosniak Muslims, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs.
Homeless people in Rome will soon be able to go to St Peter's Square for haircuts, shaves and showers.
The head of Pope Francis' charity office said new facilities will open in mid-February.
It is being reported that barbers and hairdressers will volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy.
They are said to have already donated chairs, mirrors and scissors.
The Pope's almoner Bishop Konrad Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter's Square last year after a homeless person told him that it was harder to find places to wash than to eat in the city.
Pope Francis says Catholics should not feel they have to breed "like rabbits" because of the Church's ban on contraception.
He said there were "many ways that are allowed" to practice natural family planning, adding that the Church promoted "responsible parenthood".
Speaking during his flight back from Manila to Rome following the end of his week-long Asia trip, Pope Francis said: "Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits - but no."
He discussed the case of a woman he met who had already had seven children by caesarean sections and had put her life at risk.
He said he berated her for "tempting God", adding that it was an "irresponsibility".
The Pope hugged a young girl who broke down in tears as she asked why people suffer - a question to which he said there was "no answer".Read the full story ›
Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines culminated in a giant outdoor Mass - the largest-ever crowd for a papal event.Read the full story ›
Pope Francis concluded his trip to Asia on Sunday with an open-air Mass for a rain-drenched crowd in Manila that the Vatican and the government said drew up to seven million people, the largest ever for a papal event.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that if the predicted figure of six-to-seven million attendees was correct, it would be the "largest event in the history of the popes".
Pope John Paul drew some five million in a visit to the same area in 1995.
The 78-year-old current incumbent, wearing a transparent yellow poncho over his white cassock, was driven through the ecstatic crowd in his "popemobile".
In his homily, he attacked the Filipino government's population control efforts, and urged the nation to shun "social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption".
Huge crowds converged on a Manila park to see Pope Francis wrap up his Asian trip with an outdoor Mass expected to draw one of the largest crowds in Philippine history.
Organisers say as many as six million people may attend the afternoon service at Manila's Rizal Park, more than the some five million who flocked to a Mass by Pope John Paul 20 years ago in Asia's largest Catholic country.
Faithful began arriving at the sprawling park on Saturday night to get good places and police expect the crowd to flow over into surrounding areas. About a dozen people were injured in a minor stampede when people rushed to get into the park, Johnny Yu of the Manila city disaster office said in a radio interview.
Pope Francis was forced to end his visit to the Philippines early, after a fierce storm hit the city of Tacloban, just over a year since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the region.
Thousands of people braved the wind and rain to attend a mass, only for it to be cut short.
ITV News correspondent Richard Morgan reports: