The newly installed Bishop of Rome has called upon Christians and non-Christians alike to be "protectors" of the environment, the poor, and their families. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was formally installed as Pope Francis Tuesday morning. He is the 266th pope and the first from Latin America.
According to the Catholic liturgical calendar, the date for which Pope Francis was formally installed was the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As such, Francis focused on Joseph's role as protector for Jesus and Mary.
"How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand," said Pope Francis in his homily. more >>
For the first time in history, the leader of the Orthodox Church will be attending the installation of a pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will be present for the installation mass for Pope Francis on Tuesday. This is the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch has been present for this Catholic mass since the Great Schism of 1054, when the Eastern and Western Church cut ties with one another.
In an interview with a television network in Istanbul, Turkey, Bartholomew explained that the decision to attend was a gesture to showcase improving relations between the two Ancient Churches. more >>
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires who became the first Latin American pope in Catholic history, told the media late last week that he chose the name "Francis" after St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Order of Franciscans, a rich man who took an oath to poverty and became a voice for the poor.
According to the 266th Bishop of Rome, changing his name to "Francis" came as a way to symbolize the need for the Church to be "of the poor, for the poor."
Pope Francis spoke about the election process last week and that a Brazilian cardinal who was a friend of his inspired his decision. more >>
The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches has voted to accept the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land as a full member of their organization.
Concluding a two-year process wherein the WCC leadership considered the application of the ELCJHL, the committee voted unanimously earlier this month to accept the church.
In a speech given to the WCC after their vote, ELCJHL Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan pointed to the longstanding cooperation his church has had with the WCC. more >>
The election of Pope Francis as the 266th bishop of Rome held many milestones. Francis is the first Latin American pope in history and the first non-European pontiff in about 1,200 years.
However, some have claimed that a Medieval pope might have reached a milestone considered impossible given the standards and rules of Vatican City for ordained clergy. more >>
By means of the decision to elect a non-European, the Catholic Church has clearly accepted and given prominence to the fact that the center of gravity of world Christianity has shifted to the global south. Although popes from Poland and Germany were already a step away from Italy, the new step is away from Europe entirely, to the regions where the masses of Christians live.
It is astonishing that a bishop of the poor has been selected, who as a Jesuit would have been expected to be a closet liberal among the cardinals but by means of the selection of his papal name has indicated that his vow of poverty has programmatic significance. At the Catholic synod meetings last year I got to know him as a modest, humble, and friendly man who uses public transportation and goes without a palace or chauffeur. These are difficult times for all those in the Curia who have tolerated dirty church finances.
We have to expect that the new Pope, perhaps along with Cardinal Turkson from Ghana, who leads the Vatican Commission "Justitia et Pax" (Justice and Peace), will get more strongly involved in social questions. The election of a relatively old man, who is only a little younger than Cardinal Ratzinger was at the time of his election, may mean that he is a transitional figure, though he seems to be healthier than Benedict XVI was at the time of his election. more >>