Josephine McKenna writes for Religion News Service.
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Pope Francis Defrocks Italian Priest Convicted of Child Sex Abuse
Pope Francis has defrocked an Italian priest who was found guilty of child sex abuse, three years after overturning predecessor Benedict XVI’s decision to do the same after allegations against the priest first came to light.
Mauro Inzoli, 67, was initially defrocked in 2012, after he was first accused of abusing minors, but Francis reversed that decision in 2014, ordering the priest to stay away from children and retire to “a life of prayer and humble discretion.”
Cardinal George Pell Takes a Leave of Absence Following Sex Assault Charges
One of the most senior officials in the Vatican took a leave of absence and pledged to defend his name after being charged with multiple historical sex crimes in Australia.
Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis’ most trusted advisors and head of the Holy See’s finance department, is the highest ranking official in the Catholic Church to face abuse charges.
Pope Francis’ Picks for Bioethics Advisory Board Include Prominent U.S. Ethicists
Prominent U.S. ethicists are among a number of international experts chosen by Pope Francis for his bioethics advisory board — a move that might temper the group’s conservative views on sexual morality and life issues.
Catholic Priests Find Science Behind the Stars at the Vatican Observatory
Twelve Catholic priests and brothers live, work, and pray at the Vatican Observatory as they explore some of the universe’s biggest scientific questions, from the Big Bang theory to the structure of meteorites and stars.
“The observatory exists to show the world that the Catholic Church supports science,” says Brother Guy Consolmagno, an astronomer from Detroit who is also the observatory’s director.
Callista Gingrich Will Soon Be Named U.S. Ambassador to Vatican
According to CNN, the decision to nominate Gingrich has already been made, but the announcement is pending approval from the Office of Government Ethics. Earlier this year, Newt Gingrich confirmed his wife was in the running for the job. The White House declined comment on May 15.
9 Catholic Groups to Divest from Coal, Oil, and Gas to Fight Climate Change
Nine Catholic organizations from around the world have announced they are divesting their savings from coal, oil, and gas companies, in a joint bid to fight climate change.
Religious orders and dioceses from the U.S. and Italy made the announcement on May 10, ahead of international negotiations due this month on implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Trump to Meet Pope Francis at Vatican
During his early morning visit to the Vatican, Trump will also meet the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who is responsible for the Holy See’s relations with states.
In Easter Message, Pope Warns Against the Spread of Conflict
Pope Francis used his traditional Easter Sunday message to call the bombing of a refugee convoy near Aleppo, Syria, a “despicable attack”, and urged world leaders to “prevent the spread of conflicts” despite mounting tensions in Syria and North Korea.
In his Easter blessing, known as “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”), the pope urged the faithful to remember “all those forced to leave their homelands as a result of armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, famine, and oppressive regimes.”
Pope Opens Free Laundromats for Homeless
First came the showers and the haircuts. Now the washing machines.
In his latest bid to help the poor with practical actions, Pope Francis has opened a free laundromat for the homeless in the heart of Rome.
Since he became pope four years ago, Francis has made it a personal priority to provide them with showers, housing, medical care, and other services to help restore their dignity.
After Syrian Gas Attack, Pope Francis Calls on World Leaders: ‘End This Tragedy’
Pope Francis condemned the suspected chemical weapons attack that killed over 100 people in Syria and renewed his call for an urgent political solution to end the war. Speaking at his weekly audience at the Vatican on April 5, the pope said he was horrified by the “unacceptable” massacre of civilians, including at least 20 children, on April 4.
Jewish Graves Unearthed in Rome Testify to Community’s Persecution
Italian archaeologists have discovered the remains of 38 skeletons buried in a Jewish cemetery in Rome more than 500 years ago, offering further evidence of their ubiquity and persecution under papal rule.
The well-preserved skeletons were found during excavations beneath a building, in an area identified on ancient maps as “Campus Iudeorum” — Latin for “Field of Jews” — in the Trastevere quarter of Rome, just across the Tiber River from the Italian capital.
Abuse Survivors Resign from Pope’s Sex Abuse Panel
Collins, who was sexually abused by a priest at age 13, resigned on March 1, citing what she called “shameful” resistance to commission proposals from the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office, which is responsible for pursuing cases against abusive priests and bishops.
Saunders stepped aside after publicly calling for Australian Cardinal George Pell to be dismissed, after news reports surfaced that he had protected pedophile priests in Australia. Pell serves as the Vatican’s finance chief.
U.S. Cardinal: Pope Committed to Ending ‘Scourge of Sex Abuse’ Despite Setbacks
“There is simply no justification in our day for failures to enact concrete safeguarding standards for our children, young men and women, and vulnerable adults,” O’Malley said.
“We are called to reform and renew all the institutions of our church. … And we certainly must address the evil of sexual abuse by priests.”
Pope Francis: ‘One Cannot Grow Without Crisis’
Despite criticism from conservative opponents who question his approach to church doctrine and his reform of the Vatican Curia, the pope said he had never lost his peace of mind.
Sister Simone Campbell Blasts ‘Male Power and Image’ at Vatican
“The effort to keep the church from stopping this sort of thing is shocking,” she added. “It is about male power and male image, not people’s stories. The real trouble is they have defined their power as spiritual leadership and they don’t have a clue about spiritual life.”
Irish Abuse Victim Lashes Out at Vatican Bureaucracy As She Quits Panel
In a major setback for the pope, Collins on Mar. 1 announced that she had resigned from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, established by the pontiff in 2013 to counter abuse in the church.
She said the pope’s decision to create the commission was a “sincere move,” but there had been “constant setbacks” from officials within the Vatican.
“There are people in the Vatican who do not want to change, or understand the need to change,” Collins said in a telephone interview from Dublin.
Pope Francis Seeks Forgiveness From Clergy Abuse Victims
Pope Francis has condemned clerical sex abuse as an “absolute monstrosity,” and asked victims and their families for forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church.
In an unusual move, the pontiff’s comments were published as a preface to a new book by Daniel Pittet, a Swiss victim who was sexually abused for four years by a priest when he was a child.
Pope Decries Treatment of Rohingya Muslims
Pope Francis has called for prayers for the Rohingya, the Muslim minority group forced to flee violence and persecution in Myanmar.
Catholic Professor Says Trump's Border Wall Challenges America's Moral Values
President Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico raises serious questions about America’s moral standing, as the poor would bear the brunt of the suffering, a leading Catholic theologian says.
The Rev. Daniel G. Groody, an associate professor of theology at Notre Dame University in Indiana, said the wall would lead to a loss of life, as migrants are forced to find other ways to escape poverty across the border.
“What Trump fails to see is that state sovereignty is not an absolute privilege, but a moral responsibility,” said Groody.
Pope Francis on Refugees: 'Don't Abandon Them'
Pope Francis called for greater compassion for refugees and marginalized people less than a week after President Trump ordered a temporary immigration ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries.