As the one year anniversary of Pope Francis' installation as the head of the Roman Catholic Church draws near, many Catholics consider his tenure to be "extraordinary."
"Pope Francis has had an extraordinary first year and shown his unique ability to present Catholic teaching in down-to-earth terms and people hear him," Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokesperson for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told The Christian Post. "He has emphasized on numerous occasions his concern for the family, especially in its brokenness. He has said the Church should be a field hospital and he intends to heal. His emphasis on real pastoral needs of the church will be important."
Next week will mark one year since Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio was installed as the Bishop of Rome, being elected after Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement. more >>
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in an interview that he has "no sense of judgment" on NFL prospect Michael Sam who announced in February that he is gay, and also commented on Pope Francis' recent remarks that he could be open to civil unions.
"Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya … Look, the same Bible that … teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, 'Bravo,'" Dolan said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, when asked for his views on the issue.
Megachurch leader Ulf Ekman of the Word of Life ministry in Sweden has announced that he and his wife Birgitta have converted to Roman Catholicism. The announcement, according to reports, has left some in his congregation "partially stunned."
In his explanation onhis website, Ekman says the conversations he and Birgitta had with Catholics challenged their "protestant prejudices" and led them to the realization that they "in many cases did not have any basis for our criticism of them."
"We needed to know the Catholic faith better. This led us to … realize that it was actually Jesus Christ who led us to unite with the Catholic Church," the pastor stated. more >>
While affirming traditional marriage, Pope Francis said the Roman Catholic Church may be open to supporting certain cases of civil unions, particularly when it involves benefits such as healthcare. He made the comments in an extensive new interview with an Italian newspaper on Wednesday.
"Matrimony is between a man and a woman," the pope said in an article by the Corriere della Sera, translated by Catholic News Service, but added that "diverse situations of cohabitation [are] driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care."
"It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety," the Vatican leader added. more >>
A Roman Catholic Church cardinal has criticized the Ugandan anti-gay law that expanded punishment for gay people and threatened life in prison for certain offenders, arguing that gay people "are not criminals."
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, made the comments Tuesday in Bratislava, Slovakia, during a church and human rights conference, according to CatholicHearald.co.uk. He urged the international community, however, to keep sending much needed aid to Uganda, which is now facing cuts and sanctions because of the law.
Uganda's decision to expand the legal punishment for homosexuality has been criticized by some world leaders, though the nation's political and church leaders have insisted that it is their right to manage the country according to their ways. more >>
Newark Archbishop John Myers in New Jersey is reportedly facing the anger of parishioners who are withholding donations to the church after finding out that more than $500,000 is going into expansions for his lavish retirement home.
A detailed report in The Newark Star-Ledger on Sunday stated that parishioners are "infuriated by what they call a tone-deaf show of excess at a time when Catholic schools are closing and when the pope has called on bishops to shed the trappings of luxury."
"If this is the only way I can be heard, so be it," said 70-year-old Joe Ferri, after finding out about the expansion plans. "I'm disgusted. The archdiocese is not going to get another penny out of me." more >>