Pope Francis has spoken out against what he called a global "cult of money," including the free market system, and urged the world's leaders to come together and adopt ethics to help the poor.
"While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling. This imbalance results from ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and thus deny the right of control to States, which are themselves charged with providing for the common good. A new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules," Francis told foreign diplomats at the Vatican in a speech focused on the economic crisis.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church also criticized the "heartless cult of money" that many around the world have embraced, and compared it to the worship of the golden calf a found in Exodus 32:15-34. more >>
One of the former prime candidates to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, the Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, has revealed that two divinely inspired signs led the Roman Catholic Conclave in March to elect Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina as the new pope.
Bergoglio, who chose the name Francis when he was elected by his fellow cardinals on March 13, made history when he became the first Latin American to serve as pope.
Although the decision process and the going-ons within Conclave in the days leading up to the vote has been kept a secret, Schönborn recently shared that some "strong signs" made it clear that the former Archbishop of Buenos Aries was the "the chosen one" for the position, The Telegraph reported. more >>
Pope Francis celebrated his first canonizations in the course of his Mass in St. Peter's Square last Sunday, giving the Catholic Church over 800 new saints. All but two (a Colombian nun and a Mexican nun) were the "martyrs of Otranto," who were beheaded for their faith after Turkish Muslims invaded their southern-Italian port city in 1480. In the pope's words, "They had refused to renounce their faith and died confessing the risen Christ." According to some historical records, while the 800 were being executed, a Turk by the name of Bersabei was inspired to convert. He too suffered martyrdom, impaled by his own comrades-in-arms.
Christians of all faith traditions have long been persecuted in many countries, but today in the Muslim world, where Christians are often the largest non-Muslim minority, the persecution is accelerating and spreading.
Pope Francis had met with the Coptic pope, Tawadros II of Alexandria, just two days before, and no doubt he was praying for the mounting number of Coptic martyrs in Egypt, with whom, he had said, Catholics are united in the "ecumenism of suffering." This would include the two killed and seven dozen wounded as they were leaving St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria on April 7 and also the four whose funeral had just taken place inside the cathedral, who had been murdered in a Muslim pogrom the previous day. It would also include those languishing in prison for their faith, such as Nadia Mohamed Ali and her seven children, all of whom were sentenced by an Egyptian court to 15 years' imprisonment earlier this year for converting to Christianity. Another Christian woman, Demyana Emad, a 23-year-old primary-school teacher, was jailed last week for "insulting Islam" in her classroom -- only the latest example of the Islamist government's blasphemy prosecutions, typically of Christians. more >>
Pope Francis greeted more than 40,000 people from Italy and other countries who had gathered for a pro-life event at Saint Peter's Square after marching against abortion on Sunday, and praised their efforts to highlight the importance of respect for human life.
"I greet the participants of the March for Life which took place this morning in Rome and invite everyone to stay focused on the important issue of respect for human life, from the moment of conception," Catholic News Agency quoted the pope as saying at St. Peter's Basilica.
There were about 80,000 people, half of whom were there for the Regina Coeli prayer, an ancient Latin Marian Hymn, led by the pope after he canonized some 800 new saints. more >>
Reported cases of priest abuse from last year have been the lowest since 2004, according to an annual compliance audit of Roman Catholic Church dioceses in the United States.
In 2012, there were six credible cases of abuse found of 34 claims, with 15 of those allegations still under investigation, reported the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).
The audit itself was performed by StoneBridge Business Partners, a multinational organization founded in 1994, on behalf of CARA. more >>
In an unprecedented move, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who became the first pope in almost 600 years to retire when he stepped down at the end of February due to health reasons, has returned to the Vatican to live next to Pope Francis.
"He is a man who is not young: He is old and his strength is slowly ebbing," said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi, according to the Associated Press. "However, there is no special illness. He is an old man who is healthy."
Benedict will now live in a converted monastery right behind St. Peter's Basilica, where Pope Francis lives. It was previously believed that he would live out the rest of his days "hidden in the world" in a papal residence in the hill south of Rome, but now he will share the famous Vatican gardens with the newly elected Roman Catholic Church leader. more >>