Survivors of child sexual abuse who have been urging the Roman Catholic Church to start taking real steps to tackle the problem believe that newly elected Pope Francis provides "a glimmer of hope" that things can change for the better.
"Certainly, Francis is a man who loved to teach and was meek and understanding of the plight of the downtrodden and the marginalized in our society," said Mark Crawford, a member of SNAP, a network for survivors of clergy abuse, according to ABC News. "That's why I have this one glimmer of hopeful expectation. But he has to be assertive and aggressive."
But Crawford, 51, remains cautious, knowing any change would not come easy. more >>
Pope Francis, the newly elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has been greeted by a wide array of media responses, and while many have focused on his record with social work, his stance on gay marriage and abortion has divided opinions.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, had served as the cardinal of Buenos Aires, Argentina, since 1998 before he was elected Wednesday to succeed the retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He chose to be named after St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic saint known as an early church reformer.
Many news websites have focused their coverage of Pope Francis on his social work with the poor – NBC News described him as prizing "compassion, humility and simplicity," reminding readers that back home in Buenos Aires he takes the bus to work instead of using the services of a private chauffeur. As a member of the Jesuit Society of Jesus, he has taken a vow of poverty and dedicated his life to working with the poor and suffering. more >>
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina will be the new pope with the name Pope Francis. One hundred and fifteen cardinals locked away in the Sistine Chapel announced to the world Wednesday that a new pope had been selected when thick white smoke could be seen billowing out from the chapel's chimney. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was selected and took the name Francis.
He is the first pope elected from Argentina and was the runner up to Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is revered for being a man of the people and for his continued commitment to social justice. He chose to live in a small apartment, rather than in the luxurious bishop's residence, and is still seen using public transportation.
As the cardinals entered the second night of the conclave, many were not expecting a decision so soon, given that there was no clear front runner going into the papal elections. more >>
A new pope to succeed Pope Benedict XVI has been chosen by Roman Catholic cardinals as white smoke was seen puffing out of the Sistine Chapel chimney on Wednesday.
The name of the new pope has not yet been revealed, but is expected shortly. The decision by the 115 voting cardinals gathered in Vatican City of who will lead the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world was made relatively quickly, with the cardinals only starting to gather yesterday.
The cardinal conclave this week is special in that the former pope is still alive and is the first pope in nearly 600 years to step down from the position of Pontiff. The last Roman Catholic Church head to do so was Pope Gregory XII, who did so to end the Great Schism when several clerics claimed the position. more >>
British atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has emerged as a contender among a leading Irish bookmaker's list of candidates to replace a retired Benedict XVI as pope and leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, which a religion and pop culture expert believes could be a sign of discontent among the Catholic faithful.
Dawkins, philanthropist and Irish singer Bono of U2 (who was raised Catholic) and the Father Dougal McGuire character of the old Irish sitcom "Father Ted" are among the 72 bets for the next pope being offered on PaddyPower.com. On Tuesday evening, after the first meeting of the papal conclave, the odds were Dawkins at 666-1 and both Bono and the decidedly dense Father Maguire at 1000-1 odds.
Among the serious contenders on Paddy Power with the best odds were Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, Archbishop Angelo Scola of Italy and Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Brazil. Benedict XVI, who became the first pope in 600 years to retire, fulfilled his final duties as pontiff on Feb. 28. more >>
In the weeks leading up to Easter, the big story in the United States is the History Channel's miniseries, "The Bible," but across the pond, BBC's Radio 4 series, "Lent Talk," is broadcasting six lectures on abandonment, in which journalist Benjamin Cohen compares the gay community's experience to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Cohen, a former Channel 4 News reporter and founder of the gay news website PinkNews and co-founder of Out4Marriage.org, presented a controversial 14-minute lecture on his experience growing up as an Orthodox Jewish boy who attended Christian prep schools and even performed in nativity plays.
The lecture is honest and introspective, but it's also offensive to Christians who believe that comparing anyone's lot in life to the sacrifice of Jesus, humanity's lord and savior, is blasphemous. more >>