Halfway through a two-week assembly on family issues for Catholic bishops, the Vatican has released a report that's unusually conciliatory toward gays and nonmarital unions, both long considered contrary to church doctrine.

It’s a shame that Venezuela just severed diplomatic and economic ties with Panama, because their respective presidents – Nicolás Maduro and Ricardo Martinelli – have a lot in common.

Yes, I know that Maduro is a radical socialist and former bus driver. And that Martinelli is a right-wing supermarket tycoon.

Gross family

Can the Vatican free Alan Gross in Cuba? It helps first to consider how the Roman Catholic Church freed itself in Cuba.

Cuba has seen surprising turns in recent years. Fidel Castro handing the communist dictatorship to his younger brother Raúl. Raúl decreeing capitalist reforms to save the communist dictatorship.

L'Osservatore Romano

They say Americans will do anything for Latin America except read about it. But even gringos couldn’t ignore the noise next door in 2013.

Seemingly overnight, Brazil experienced violent anti-government unrest – then just as quickly it became the spokesnation for a world outraged by the U.S. surveillance overreach exposed by Edward Snowden.

The Vatican said Monday that it has set April 27, 2014, as the date that popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be "raised to sainthood."

Their canonization will come on "the Second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy," the Holy See added.