Here's a snapshot of some of the top stories we're following Thursday evening:
Pope Francis says church cannot focus only on abortion and gay marriage
Pope Francis said in an interview published Thursday that the Catholic Church cannot focus only on abortion, contraception and gay marriage, and that the moral structure of the church will “fall like a house of cards” if it does not find better balance. Read more at NBC News.
Navy Yard gunman was 'wandering halls, hunting people to shoot'
As authorities learn more about the movements of gunman Aaron Alexis, a clearer picture and timeline of Monday's Washington Navy Yard shooting, in which 12 people lost their lives, is beginning to emerge. Read more at NBC News.
USIS, security firm that backgrounded Snowden, also checked Navy Yard shooter
USIS, a private security firm that conducted the background check of ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, acknowledged Thursday that it also conducted the 2007 background check of Aaron Alexis that allowed the Washington Navy Yard shooter to get a security clearance. Read more at NBC News.
Washington still in gridlock 11 days before shutdown deadline
Washington is engrossed in a familiar fiscal standoff that threatens a slowly-improving economy, with no solution on the horizon just 11 days before the government runs out of money and all but the most essential services are shuttered. Read more at NBC News.
Tourists trapped in Acapulco amid looting; dozens 'likely' dead after landslide
Scores of people are dead and tens of thousands of tourists — including many Americans — were stranded Thursday after storm-whipped flooding and a massive landslide turned the tourist destination of Acapulco into a veritable swamp plagued by looters and even a crocodile. Read more at NBC News.
Kerry: Rouhani's words need 'to be put to the test'
Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's overtures to the West have been "very positive" but sounded a note of caution. Read more at NBC News.
Supreme Court is asked to review 'contraception mandate' ruling
The Obama administration on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the legality of a politically volatile provision of the 2010 federal health care law requiring employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control. Read more at NBC News.