Philip Pullella writes for Reuters

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Pope Asks Trump to Be Peacemaker, Gives Him Copies of Nonviolence Message and ‘Laudato Si’

Pope Francis meets U.S. President Donald Trump during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandra Tarantino/Pool

Pope Francis urged U.S. President Donald Trump to be a peacemaker at their highly anticipated first meeting on Wednesday, and Trump promised he would not forget the pontiff's message. Under clear blue skies, Trump, who exchanged sharp words with the pope during the U.S. election campaign last year, received a tribute from the Swiss Guard in a Vatican courtyard when he arrived.

Pope Names Five New Cardinals, All From Outside Italy and the Vatican

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 05-22-2017

Image via Reuters/Gregorio Borgia/Pool

The fact that none of the five are Italian, and none hold Vatican positions, underscores Francis' conviction that the Church is a global institution that should become increasingly less Italian-centric.

 

Pope Francis on U.S.-North Korea Escalation: ‘We Are Talking About the Future of Humanity’

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 04-29-2017

Pope Francis talks to journalists during a press conference on his return flight from Cairo to Rome April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Gregorio Borgia/Pool

Pope Francis said on Saturday a third country, such as Norway, should try to mediate the dispute between North Korea and Washington, to cool a situation that had become "too hot" and posed the risk of nuclear devastation. Francis said he believed "a good part of humanity" would be destroyed in any widespread war.

Pope Francis in Egypt: Say No to Hatred in ‘the Name of Religion or in the Name of God’

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 04-28-2017

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets Pope Francis upon his arrival to Cairo, Egypt April 28, 2017. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

Pope Francis, starting a two-day visit to Egypt, urged Muslim leaders on Friday to unite in renouncing religious extremism at a time when Islamist militants are targeting ancient Christian communities across the Middle East. Francis's trip, aimed at improving Christian-Muslim ties, comes just three weeks after Islamic State suicide bombers killed at least 45 people in two Egyptian churches.

On Maundy Thursday, Pope Washes 12 Prisoners’ Feet, Including Women and Muslim Man

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 04-13-2017

Pope Francis washes the feet of some inmates at the Paliano prison, south of Rome, Italy April 13, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via REUTERS

"We are all sinners. We all have defects," the pope told the inmates, in an improvised sermon broadcast by Vatican Radio.

By washing their feet, Francis told them, he was willing to do "the work of a slave in order to sow love among us". He urged them to help each other.

Two of the 12 are serving life sentences, and the others are due to be released between 2019 and 2073.

In Unusual Omission, No Trump-Pope Meeting Planned During Italy G7

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 04-12-2017
Pope Francis blesses with holy water as he leads the Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 9, 2017. Image via REUTERS/Tony Gentile.
 
 

As a matter of policy, popes meet with any head of state who requests an audience, regardless of any differences they have.

Besides being leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, the pope is a head of state. Such meetings allow for an exchange of views on world affairs and a chance for the pope to encourage ethical solutions to world problems.

Pope Francis Set to Visit Egypt Despite Palm Sunday Attacks

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 04-10-2017

Image via wlablack / Shutterstock

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican deputy secretary of state, told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper that the events on Sunday, however tragic, "could not impede the pope from carrying out his mission of peace."

Pope Francis: Protecting Civilians in Mosul ‘Imperative and Urgent Obligation’

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 03-29-2017

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis on Wednesday said it was "imperative and urgent" to protect civilians in Iraq, speaking as U.S. investigators looked into who caused an explosion in Mosul that killed scores of non-combatants. Addressing tens of thousands of people at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Francis said he was "concerned about civilian populations trapped in the neighborhoods of western Mosul."

Pope Backs Global Nuclear Arms Ban as U.N. Conference Sputters

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 03-28-2017

Image via Reuters/Max Rossi

Pope Francis urged the United Nations on March 28 to seek the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons, speaking as the United States and some other major powers boycotted a conference considering a global ban.

In a message to the conference that started in New York on March 27, Francis called on nations to "go beyond nuclear deterrence" and have the courage to overcome the "fear and isolationism" he said was prevalent in many countries today.

Pope Francis Visits Muslim Immigrant Family in Milan

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 03-25-2017

Pope Francis embraces a girl while meeting families outside the 'White Houses' in the Forlanini district of Milan, Italy, March 25, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

He stopped at three small apartments, one of them home to Mihoual Abdel Karim, a Muslim immigrant from Morocco who lives there with his wife and three children. "It was very emotional. It was like having a friend in the house," said Karim, who works at a pharmaceutical factory and whose wife wears the veil.

Cardinal O’Malley: The Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal Is Far from Over

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 02-18-2015
Photo via REUTERS / Alessandro Bianchi / RNS

Irish abuse victim Marie Collins, left, looks at Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley. Photo via REUTERS / Alessandro Bianchi / RNS

The U.S. cardinal who heads the Vatican’s commission on sexual abuse of children by clergy warned his fellow Roman Catholic bishops on Feb. 16 not to behave as if the problem had passed.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston told a conference at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University that some prelates were still reluctant to deal with the problem openly.

“It would be perilous for us, as leaders of the Church, to consider that the scandal of clergy sexual abuse is for the most part a matter of history and not a pressing concern here and now,” said O’Malley, whose commission advises Pope Francis on how to root out the abuse that has shamed the Church.

“Its not a pleasant topic. It’s easier just to ignore it and hope it will go away (but) when we are defensive and secretive, the results are disastrous,” he said in his speech.

Vatican to Offer Haircuts, Shaves as well as Showers to Rome’s Homeless

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 01-30-2015
Photo via Josephine McKenna / RNS

A homeless man sits in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican. Photo via Josephine McKenna / RNS

The Vatican will offer homeless people in Rome not only showers but also haircuts and shaves when new facilities open next month, the head of Pope Francis’ charity office said.

The Vatican announced last year that it would provide shower facilities in St Peter’s Square for homeless people.

Bishop Konrad Krajewski told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire on Jan. 29 that it would also offer haircuts and shaves when the services start on Feb. 16 in an area under the colonnade of the square.

Krajewski, whose official title is the pope’s almoner, said barbers and hairdressers would volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy.