September 16, 2013 |
ROME — Wading into ongoing debates over religion and politics, Pope Francis on Sunday (Sept. 15) gently chided Christians to pray for politicians, saying "a Christian who does not pray for his leaders is not a good Christian. " The pope's remarks during a two-hour closed-door meeting of Roman clergy did not touch on more controversial issues like the separation between church and state, abortion, or refusing Communion to Catholic politicians who are not in sync with church teachings.
September 12, 2013 |
RNS () — Pope Francis' friendly letter to atheists, published this week by Italy's La Repubblica newspaper, has been cheered by Catholics who welcomed another sign of the pontiff's new openness to the world beyond the Vatican walls. But it has also prompted some gnashing of teeth among others, who are reacting to headlines about the pope's letterÂ like this one in the British newspaper The Independent: "Pope Francis assures atheists: You don't...
September 11, 2013 |
VATICAN CITY — Once again breaking with traditional Vatican protocol, Pope Francis on Wednesday (Sept. 11) penned a long letter to the Italian liberal daily La Repubblica to affirm that an "open dialogue free of prejudices" between Christians and atheists is "necessary and precious. " Francis' front-page letter was a response to two open letters published in previous months by Eugenio Scalfari, the founder of La Repubblica and an avowed atheist. The pope's letter is...
August 26, 2013 |
VATICAN CITY — The personal secretary of former Pope Benedict XVI denied that the pontiff resigned as a consequence of a "mystical experience" in which God "told me" to step back from the papacy. The Catholic news agency Zenit published a story on Aug. 19 reportedly based on the account of one of the former pope's few visitors; Benedict is living in a refurbished monastery on the Vatican grounds. According to the report, Benedict said he had decided to resign after what he...
July 30, 2013 |
With five simple words, Pope Francis stopped us in our self-regarding, self-important tracks. "Who am I to judge?" Francis asked, when queried about gay priests. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Um, the pope? The infallible one? To be clear, on the issue of homosexuality, the new pope's stance is more recasting than revelation. The difference between Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, involves their...
July 21, 2013 |
On the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, the Rev. Stefano Nastasi threw the ecclesiastic equivalent of a Hail Mary pass. Legions of largely Muslim refugees looking for a better life in Europe were reaching the island from North Africa only to perish, or to be turned back or sent to languish in camps. Troubled by their plight, the priest dispatched a letter to the Vatican: Would Pope Francis come and highlight the humanitarian crisis in his new back yard? When the answer finally came, Nastasi said he was...