pope francis

the Web Editors 06-14-2016

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After Native American delegates met with Pope Francis and other Vatican representatives requesting an end to the Doctrine of Discovery, the Vatican said that it would consider rescinding the 500-year-old Catholic policy, reports APTN.

The Doctrine of Discovery is the name for a body of Catholic law that granted land rights to whichever European Christian nation settled territory in the New World. It considered as terra nullius (“nobody’s land”) any territory occupied by “heathens, pagans, and infidels” — in other words, the original inhabitants of the Americas.

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Pope Francis has called on Catholics to adopt a “healthy realism” in their approach to their faith, and he decried rigid idealists as heretics.

Speaking during morning Mass on June 9, Francis told congregants at the chapel in the Vatican guesthouse to try their best to seek reconciliation with others rather than pushing strict rules and a “take-it-or-leave-it” style of evangelism.

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Pope Francis has upended many traditions during his extraordinary pontificate, to the point that some have wondered whether he is really Catholic.

But the pope has now made one thing clear: He’s sure not a Baptist.

Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron. Image via Paul Haring / Catholic News Service / RNS

Mounting accusations of sexual abuse against the archbishop of Guam have prompted Pope Francis to name a Vatican official to oversee the Catholic Church on the Pacific island territory while the charges are investigated.

The decision announced June 6 to force Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, who has led the Agana Archdiocese for 30 years, to yield his authority, at least temporarily, is the latest sign that Francis is taking tougher steps to tackle the sexual abuse crisis.

Charles Camosy 06-06-2016
Ulrich Mueller / Shutterstock

Ulrich Mueller / Shutterstock

AT THE HEIGHT of the culture wars in the 1980s, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago gave a lecture at Fordham University on something he called “the consistent ethic of life.” Fortunately for those of us captured by this vision, a New York Times reporter happened to be in the audience. The next day’s headline read: “Bernardin Asks Catholics to Fight Both Nuclear Arms and Abortion.”

It got a lot of people talking. Then, as now, it was an incredibly countercultural message that disrupted the liberal/conservative binary of secular political imagination. But Bernardin’s views, though novel in a U.S. context, were articulating the principles of an ancient faith: consistent nonviolent protection and support for life in every circumstance. Within the politics of U.S. culture wars, this means refusing to make distinctions between a child dying of a treatable disease and a child killed by abortion. Instead, we insist that Christ is always with the least among us and that we must let these little children come to him. Every last one.

The most famous animal-lover

As a Catholic professor of ethics, I’ve spent most of my career thinking about what this consistent protection of life means for bioethics. As a result of my research, I’ve come to believe that the “bio” in bioethics must include how we treat the lives of animals. Or as I prefer to say: how we human animals should protect and care for nonhuman animals. After all, humans are animals too.

I’m not the only one who’s arrived at this conclusion: In his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis appealed to a consistent life ethic to underline the urgency of addressing the global climate crisis, which threatens the lives of so many. As you might expect from a pope who named himself after the most famous animal-lover in the church, Pope Francis explicitly included nonhuman animals as intrinsically valuable parts of God’s creation in need of protection and care. “It is not enough,” he says, “to think of different species merely as potential ‘resources’ to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves.” Several chapters later, Pope Francis calls on Christians to “forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”

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The Vatican has always been a hothouse for conspiracy theories, and a new controversy over the so-called Third Secret of Fatima is showing just how persistent such fixations can be — to the extent that the latest episode even forced Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI out of seclusion to refute claims that he once shaded the truth about the mysterious prophecy.

Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb with Pope Francis. Image via REUTERS / Max Rossi / RNS

Pope Francis has welcomed the highest authority in Sunni Islam to the Vatican in a significant step forward in relations between the two largest blocs in Christianity and Islam.

“The meeting is the message,” Francis said on May 23 upon greeting Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, a mosque and university complex in Cairo that is viewed as the heart of Sunni Islam, which accounts for about 85 percent, or 1.3 billion, of the world’s Muslims.

Stephen Seufert 05-23-2016

If House Speaker Paul Ryan truly wants to promote a “compassionate conservative” agenda that counters the divisive rhetoric of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Ryan should follow the example of one man: Pope Francis.

Gina Ciliberto 05-20-2016

Sister Lorelle Elcock, OP

For the past week, news sources have been abuzz about Pope Francis’s announcement to create a commission to study women deacons. It’s an initiative worthy of talk, but there’s more to the story.

Pope Francis has blasted employers who do not provide health care as bloodsucking leeches and he also took aim at the popular “theology of prosperity” in a pointed sermon on the dangers of wealth.

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What do the tango, Islam and conscientious objection have in common? They are just three of the references that Pope Francis made in his latest blockbuster interview.

Speaking to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, Francis reflected on issues affecting the church and society as a whole.

Sr. Carmen Sammut. Image via Rosie Scammell / RNS

Catholic sisters globally would be better equipped to carry out their work if they could become deacons, the head of a global network of nuns has said, an important marker in the sharp debate over women deacons that Pope Francis opened last week.

“We are already doing so many things that resemble what a deacon would do, although it would help us to do a bit more service if we were ordained deacons,” Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General, or UISG, told RNS.

the Web Editors 05-17-2016

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These accusations suggest evidence of a coverup on the part of the Seattle Archdiocese, wrote KIRO7 reporter Dave Wagner, who first broke the story on his Facebook page

But "the Seattle Archdiocese maintains it is trying to atone for the sins of the past."

Francis’ trip to the site carries huge significance, following the pontiff’s description of the killings as “the first genocide of the 20th century.”


Both politicians spoke of how their families and their Catholic faith, in small personal moments, in joy and in tragedy, had inspired and informed their decades of political service.

John Gehring 05-13-2016

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When Pope Francis became the first pontiff in history to address Congress last fall, two of the most powerful Catholics in Washington sat behind him.

In an opening with historic import, Pope Francis has said he wants to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons, a step that could for the first time open the ranks of the Catholic Church’s all-male clergy to women.


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Pope Francis is calling on Catholics to play a part in the “rebirth” of a united Europe that opens its doors to refugees.

The Argentine pontiff, who has been critical of European countries’ handling of the migrant crisis, made the comments as he picked up the prestigious Charlemagne Prize. The award, named after the founder of the medieval Holy Roman Empire, is given for work done in the service of European integration.

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Police raided a storeroom near St. Peter’s Square and seized a cache of Vatican souvenirs and trinkets including flags, bracelets, and key rings bearing Pope Francis’ image. The souvenirs, numbering some 340,000, were confiscated because they were counterfeit, Rome’s financial police said in a statement May 2.

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It may be a sign of the shifting dynamics in the Catholic Church that Biden was welcomed on April 29 to the Vatican to address a church-sponsored conference on cutting-edge therapies to treat diseases such as cancer, and he was warmly greeted by the local bishop of Rome — aka Pope Francis.

Biden in turn praised the pontiff, and noted that the pope met with him and his family during Francis’ visit to the U.S. last September and “provided us with more comfort” after the death of Biden’s son Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer nearly a year ago.