Pope Francis has spoken out against human traffickers, warning them that they will be held accountable for their crimes. He also pleaded on behalf of the tens of thousands of children around the world forced to work in degrading conditions on the eve of World Day Against Child Labor on Thursday.
"One day everything comes to an end and they will be held accountable to God," the pope said about those responsible for human trafficking, slave labor and arms manufacturing during a general audience at the Vatican on Wednesdays, also calling them "merchants of death."
The Roman Catholic Church leader pleaded for the "tens of thousands of children who are forced to work in degrading conditions, exposed to forms of slavery and exploitation, as well as abuse, mistreatment and discrimination." He also called on the international community to "extend social protection for minors in order to weaken this scourge." more >>
The government of Ireland has launched an investigation into abuse and the deaths of nearly 800 infants from unmarried mothers decades ago at "mother and baby" homes run by the Roman Catholic Church, uncovering what has been called a "dark history" of how such children where treated.
Hundreds of people attended a vigil on Wednesday organized by Justice for the Tuam Babies outside the House of Representatives, leaving teddy bears and children's shoes in memories of the victims, the Irish Times reported.
Researchers discovered records last week that showed that 796 children, mostly infants, died at a "mother and baby" home in Tuam, County Galway, which operated between 1925 and 1962. more >>
Poland's prime minister spoke out Tuesday regarding a nationwide abortion debate after a Catholic doctor refused to perform the life-ending procedure on a patient, even though the fetus had severe abnormalities.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in a statement Tuesday that the well-known Warsaw obstetrician Bogdan Chazan must choose the law over his faith after the doctor refused to perform an abortion on a fetus who reportedly had severe physical and brain abnormalities.
"Regardless of what his conscience is telling him, [a doctor] must carry out the law," Tusk said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. "Every patient must be sure that […] the doctor will perform all procedures in accordance with the law and in accordance with his duties." more >>
Pope Francis has canceled his second day of private appointments and his morning mass, with a Vatican spokesperson citing a "minor indisposition" as the reason for the pope's absence. Francis is expected to return to his regular commitments tomorrow.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for Francis, as the 77-year-old pope recently went on an activity-packed tour of the Middle East, as well as hosted an Invocation for Peace at the Vatican with Israeli and Palestinian presidents this past Sunday. A Vatican spokesperson told the Catholic News Agency that following Sunday's event in the Vatican Gardens, the pope was "very tired."
"He is not sick, and there is nothing serious; but he had a minor indisposition, and because of this, he felt that it was better to give up some commitments yesterday and the celebration of the Mass with the general public this morning in Santa Marta," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the Catholic News Agency on Tuesday. more >>
At a ceremony attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Vatican Gardens at the Vatican on Sunday evening, Pope Francis said God alone can bring peace to the Holy Land and that it is the "evil one" who is blocking it.
"More than once we have been on the verge of peace, but the evil one, employing a variety of means, has succeeded in blocking it," the pope said Sunday at an evening ceremony, according to Catholic News Service. "That is why we are here, because we know and we believe that we need the help of God."
"Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict; yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities," Francis added, according to Reuters. more >>
Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie responded to British atheist professor Richard Dawkins' comments that fairy tales and belief in Father Christmas may harm a child's development, saying "a little magic" helps impart important moral lessons.
"There are morals in these stories and you want a little magic – it's important to have something that we're a little bit in awe of," Jolie, 39, told the Psychologies magazine. "Kids grow up fast enough these days, so let's allow them to have a little bit of childhood for as long as they can."
Jolie, who is raising her six children, was responding to the 73-year-old evolutionary biologist's talk at the Cheltenham Science Festival earlier this week where he said it is "rather pernicious to instill in a child the view that the world is shaped by supernaturalism." more >>