Speaking to a gathering of tens of thousands of people at the power base of a highly dangerous organized crime group in Italy, Pope Francis Saturday condemned the mafia's "adoration of evil" and declared all mobsters as effectively excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
The pope traveled to, and held a mass in, the southern region of Calabria, the power base of the global drug trafficking syndicate 'Ndrangheta, to comfort the family of a 3-year-old boy who, along with his grandfather, was gunned down in a January shootout involving the mafia.
"Those who in their lives follow this path of evil, as mafiosi do, are not in communion with God. They are excommunicated," Reuters quoted Pope Francis as saying in impromptu comments at the mass. 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 >>
The Catholic nun who wowed audiences with her singing ability on the Italian version of "The Voice," recently won the entire singing competition, immediately offering up praise to God and reciting the Lord's Prayer during her acceptance speech.
Sister Cristina Scuccia was announced the winner of Italy's "The Voice" televised singing competition on Thursday night. Along with winning the competition by 62.3 percent of the vote, Scuccia received a recording contract with Universal Music.
The sister, clad in a habit and crucifix, was quick to thank God for her singing success. "My presence here is not up to me, it's thanks to the man upstairs," she said as she received the award for winning the singing competition. "I'm not here to start a career, but because I want to impart a message." more >>
Pope Francis made a surprising move Thursday when he ousted all five Italian members of the Vatican's financial watchdog agency, replacing them with four new, international board members.
The pope reportedly made the move after internal conflict continued among old board members of the Holy See's Financial Information Authority [FIA]. The five former board members, all male Italians, reportedly clashed with Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who is the head of the FIA and wanted to work with more international professionals experienced in anti-money laundering work.
A group of Italian women who are in love affairs with Roman Catholic Church priests have asked Pope Francis to make the celibacy mandate for clergy optional.
Twenty six women recently wrote to the Pontiff, their letter being published on the website of the Catholic publication the Vatican Insider. "With humility, we place at your feet our suffering so that something can change, not just for us but for the good of the whole Church," reads the letter in part.
The women also stated that the celibacy mandate for priests caused "devastating suffering" within the Church and that married priests would serve "with greater passion." more >>
Pope Francis recently called for a "legitimate redistribution" of wealth when meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying governments should work to end the "economy of exclusion" that plagues the poor and the middle class from rising up the economic ladder.
The pope made his comments while meeting with Ban Ki-moon and other United Nations agency heads meeting in Rome this week. He encouraged the United Nations to help the poor around the world by mobilizing a culture of generosity.
"I do not hesitate to state, as did my predecessors, that equitable economic and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at every level," Francis said. more >>