Pope Francis has made international headlines once again by showing compassion towards a severely disabled man at a mass in St. Peter's Square, Rome, Italy earlier this week.
After addressing the general audience at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Nov. 20, Pope Francis blessed and embraced a middle-aged man with a severely disfigured face that had large portions of his facial features missing, including his nose and forehead. Evidently, the man sustained a serious injury at some point in his life, but beyond that assumption, no other information on the unidentified man has been given to the media.
At one point in his interaction with the man, Pope Francis was seen pointing to the sky after he gave the stranger a strong hug and a pat on the back. This is the second viral photo showing Francis' compassion for the suffering to circulate in recent weeks. Another photo showing Francis embracing and kissing a man with painful tumors covering his neck and face also went viral two weeks ago. more >>
The Vatican and Google are working together to bring to light early-century paintings found in ancient Christian catacombs in northeast Rome, depicting notable biblical events such as Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and also some paintings that raises questions on whether there were women priests in the early Church.
"This is perhaps the sign of the joining of two extremes, remote antiquity and modernity," Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said at a news conference earlier this week at the Catacombs of Priscilla, Catholic News Service reported.
The restoration work inside the tomb used advanced laser techniques to uncover fourth-century paintings of famous scenes, such as Jesus and Lazarus, and St. Peter and Paul escorting Christians into the afterlife. It also contains one of the oldest known frescoes of the Madonna and the Child, dating back to 230 AD. more >>
A college prep high school teacher in Italy is coming under fire from liberal activist groups for asking students in a Catholicism class to rank the severity of sin on a list that includes homosexual behavior.
According to the U.S.-based Alliance Defending Freedom legal group, during the optional hour on Catholicism at Liceo Classico Mariotti, a university preparatory high school in Perugia, the teacher distributed a questionnaire to students asking them to rank from 0 to 10 the gravity of sinfulness of a list of activities, including selling drugs, war, terrorism, murder, contraception, abortion, premarital sex, and homosexual behavior.
Two groups, Arcigay and Omphalos Association, learned of the assignment and filed a complaint with the National Anti-Discrimination Office, claiming that the questionnaire provoked discriminatory arguments among the students, ADF said in a statement released Tuesday. more >>
Pope Francis is making headlines again for recently sending out a "modern family" survey to bishops around the world to ask what church leaders think about hot button issues such as gay marriage and surrogate mothers, among other topics relating to family life.
The survey has been sent to every nation's conference of bishops and asks questions on topics ranging from birth control and surrogate motherhood to gay marriage and inter-religious unions, as well as divorce, premarital cohabitation, and single-parent families. The questionnaire states that it is addressing "many new situations requiring the Church's attention and pastoral care," including some "concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago have arisen today as a result of different situations, from the widespread practice of cohabitation [...] to same-sex unions."
"The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today's world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church's evangelizing mission concerning the family," the Vatican survey reads, according to BBC News. more >>
Gay and lesbian groups are calling for consumer boycott of Barilla Group, world's leading pasta manufacturer, even after its chairman offered an apology for his remarks on Italian radio that they believe in traditional family and would never use a gay family in advertising.
The Italian pasta firm's website carries an apology by its chairman Guido Barilla. "To all those who have been offended, including the thousands of employees and partners who work with Barilla around the world, I apologize for and regret my insensitive comments," says Barilla. "I understand that they were hurtful and they are not a genuine view of my opinion."
On Wednesday, the 55-year-old chairman said in an interview with Radio 24, "I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don't agree with them," according to Reuters. "Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role." more >>
A convicted pedophile priest, who named 20 other Catholic priests saying they used underage rent-boys for sex and pointed to an underage gay prostitution ring inside the Holy Roman Church, has been arrested for "making up" the allegations.
Don Patrizio Poggi, who spent five years in prison for sexually abusing underage boys at his parish on the outskirts of Rome, was arrested Friday, The Telegraph reported.
Italian prosecutors said the claims of the 46-year-old priest were "untrue or based on mere hearsay," and that he had personal enmity with some of the clerics he named. They also charged him with an attempt to coach possible victims to support his claims. more >>