vatican

Screenshot via Aiuto alla Chiesa che Soffre Italia / Youtube.com

The Eternal City’s iconic Trevi Fountain was bathed in vivid red light late April 29 to honor the blood shed by Christian martyrs and what organizers said are an estimated 200 million Christians suffering persecution around the world.

Hundreds of people gathered at the historic fountain for the event organized by Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic foundation backed by the Vatican.

Ryan Hammill 04-26-2016

For over 1,500 years, the Catholic Church has promoted “just war theory” as a way to determine in what cases a war can be considered morally justifiable. But all of that may change.

In an interview, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana said that it is “plausible” that Pope Francis may write a new encyclical updating Catholic teaching on war and peace, an update that could include a retreat from just war theory. Francis’ last encyclical, “Laudato Si,” made waves for its condemnation of capitalism and call to address climate change.

Image via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/RNS

The Vatican has put a stop to the work of international auditors just months after they were hired to review the city-state’s bookkeeping — a move said to have surprised Pope Francis’ handpicked financial czar, Cardinal George Pell. The suspension earlier this month of the audit, well underway by the global firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, was also viewed as threatening the pope’s broader efforts to clean up the Vatican’s murky finances.

Image via REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/RNS

In the end, Bernie Sanders got something almost as good as a picture with Pope Francis: blanket international news coverage and a chance to deliver his stump speech wrapped in the words of the pontiff, one of the most popular leaders on the planet.

Oh, and, rumor had it, a sleepover in the pope’s own Vatican guest house.

Image via REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis/RNS

Pope Francis brought 12 Muslim refugees to the Vatican with him aboard the papal plane following a politically-charged one-day visit to the Greek island of Lesbos intended to draw attention to the plight of migrants fleeing to Europe.

“I want to tell you that you are not alone,” Francis told people at Moria refugee camp, urging them to not lose hope.

"The Church’s social teachings, stretching back to the first modern encyclical about the industrial economy, Rerum Novarum in 1891, to Centesimus Annus, to Pope Francis’s inspiring encyclical Laudato Si’ this past year, have grappled with the challenges of the market economy. There are few places in modern thought that rival the depth and insight of the Church’s moral teachings on the market economy."

Pope Francis is not expected to grant an audience to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Rome this week, dashing hopes that the U.S. senator could win the backing of the popular pontiff — or at least the most coveted photo-op on the planet.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre. Image via REUTERS/Henry Romero/RNS

Pope Francis has named the Vatican’s envoy to Mexico as his new ambassador to the U.S., replacing the Vatican diplomat who sparked controversy last September by setting up a secret meeting between the pontiff and Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who briefly went to jail rather than certify same-sex marriages. The appointment to Washington of French-born Archbishop Christophe Pierre, now the Vatican’s representative, or nuncio, in Mexico City, was announced by the Holy See on April 12.

Pope Francis has criticized those who care more about the letter of the law than people’s individual situations, continuing to assert the overarching theme of the landmark apostolic exhortation on the family he issued last week. Speaking during his homily at Mass on April 11, Francis warned Catholics against such behavior by recalling the day’s Scripture reading from Acts, in which Stephen is accused of blasphemy by religious leaders of the day.

the Web Editors 04-08-2016

Thanks to an invite from the Vatican, Bernie Sanders will leave the campaign trail after his April 14 debate with Hillary Clinton, and fly to Rome for an event the next day at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

He will gather with other world leaders to discuss changes in politics, economics, and culture in the light of Pope Francis' new encylical Laudato si', according to a statement released from the Pontifical Academy .

Pope Francis with Lizzy Meyers. Image via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/RNS

Pope Francis blessed the eyes of an American girl who suffers from a genetic condition that will make her blind, in a visit to the Vatican described as a “miracle” by her father.

“We came here hoping for some amazing memories for Lizzy … but what we got, we’ve seen several miracles,” said her father, Steve Myers, after Francis’ blessing with 5-year-old Lizzy on April 6.

The Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), will be the culmination of two synods in which family matters were hotly debated by bishops. Since the second such conference concluded in October, Francis has been charged with producing a defining text to determine the Catholic Church’s way forward on everything from divorce to pornography.

Cardinal Bertone with Pope Francis. Image via Paul Haring / Catholic News Service / RNS

The Vatican has launched an investigation into the funding of its former secretary of state’s apartment restoration.The investigation involves two executives from Rome’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital — former chairman Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer Massimo Spina — on allegations that they misappropriated hospital funds to pay for the restoration of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s apartment while he was Vatican secretary of state.

Image via REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/RNS

As the death toll from the Brussels terror attacks continued to climb March 24, Pope Francis began three days of solemn observances leading to Easter Sunday with a call for mercy and forgiveness. In a morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to mark Holy Thursday, the pontiff said Jesus had fought not for his own glory but to break down walls “to open the flood gates of mercy … he wants to pour out upon our world.”

Image via giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

The headline was eye-catching, and most likely that was the goal:

“Pope fires Vatican ambassador to U.S. over Kim Davis,” shouted the story this week in the left-leaning Daily Kos.

Pretty amazing, if it were true.

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

A Spanish priest has confessed to leaking secret Vatican information to journalists, telling a Holy See court he felt trapped and in danger, especially from an Italian co-worker he had fallen for. Monsignor Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda told the court on March 14 that he passed information to two Italian journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, who in November published books featuring the confidential documents on Vatican financial misfeasance and Pope Francis’ efforts to overhaul the system.

Image via RNS

Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be made a saint on Sept. 4. Pope Francis made the announcement on March 15 during a meeting with Catholic cardinals, which also saw four others approved for sainthood this year.

Image via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/RNS

Pope Francis has approved new rules to tighten financial oversight of the canonization process after leaked documents revealed abuses and high costs in creating saints. The new measures focus on how the Holy See handles applications for sainthood, which can be a lengthy and expensive process that involves examining claims made by supporters of a would-be saint.

Jeff Chu 03-09-2016

Lit candles at Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Image via Jeff Chu

Since I was born Baptist, I think I was taught in utero to be skeptical of all this Roman Catholic stuff. Of Mary. Of popes and princes. Of these incense-tainted, saintward prayers. Of the overreliance on the heritage that traces back to St. Peter (though of course we would never have called him St. Peter). At one point, our guide said, “Upon this rock, I build my church blah blah blah.” She meant no disrespect. Yet it was one of the funniest, most unwittingly perfect things she has said, pithily capturing our sometimes-cavalier attitude toward this church and, for some of us, institutional religion more broadly.

Image via /Shutterstock.com

A series of essays in the semi-official Vatican newspaper is urging the Catholic Church to allow women to preach from the pulpit at Mass, a role reserved almost exclusively to the all-male priesthood for nearly 800 years.

“This topic is a delicate one, but I believe it is urgent that we address it,” Enzo Bianchi, leader of an ecumenical religious community in northern Italy and a popular Catholic commentator, wrote in his article in L’Osservatore Romano.

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