PHILADELPHIA — The eyes of the world will be on Pope Francis when he makes a visit to the western hemisphere next month, stopping first in Cuba before heading north to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. But his stop at the Ground Zero memorial in NYC amid commemoration of the deaths of thousands due to terrorism has been described by organizers as an "extremely important event for the world."
Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with survivors and family members of those killed in the World Trade Center attacks, which claimed the lives of 2,606 people. Those slain were mostly New Yorkers but among them were visitors hailing from the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, South Korea, India, and dozens of other countries. More than 400 of those killed when the Twin Towers fell were law enforcement officials and firefighters who were among first responders when al-Qaida-linked terrorists crashed commercial airliners into each tower.
That Sept. 25 meeting with 9/11 families will be held outside by the twin reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in downtown Manhattan, Helen Osman, secretary of communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, explained during a briefing about the pope's U.S. visit with reporters Friday. more >>
A study by the Public Religion Research Institute released in August on the beliefs of American Catholics has found that despite the Church's teachings, they support same-sex marriage and abortion just as much as the general population. What is more, a large percentage of Catholic respondents mistakenly believed Pope Francis has backed gay marriage.
A profile on American Catholics shared by PRRI noted that they make up roughly one in five, or 22 percent of all American adults, with 59 percent of Catholics categorized as white non-Hispanic, while 34 percent identifying as Hispanic.
When asked about whether gay and lesbian couples should have the legal right to marry, 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics said that they are in favor - compared to 55 percent of all Americans. more >>
Pope Francis has been urged in a major petition signed by over half a million people, including five cardinals, to clear up the "widespread confusion" in society over the Roman Catholic stance on issues such as gay marriage and divorce.
"College students from coast to coast are asking Pope Francis to reaffirm Church teaching at the Synod," said John Ritchie, director of Tradition Family Property Student Action, referring to the upcoming Synod on the Family in October.
"After Ireland and the U.S. Supreme Court both approved same-sex 'marriage,' a strong reaffirmation of Church teaching could save the sacred institution of marriage, strengthen the family and dispel the lies of the homosexual revolution," Ritchie added. more >>
Geoffrey Robinson, a retired senior bishop in Sydney, Australia, has told the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse that Pope John Paul II failed to show leadership and could not deal with the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church for decades. Robinson claimed that Pope Francis has also failed to demonstrate the needed leadership.
"If I am honest, he handled abuse poorly," Robinson told the inquiry, referring to John Paul II, who served as Vatican leader between 1978 to 2005, at the height of the crisis.
During a visit to the Holy Land, Mark Twain and his wife stayed in Capernaum near the Sea of Galilee. One beautiful night, he decided to take his wife on a romantic moonlit ride on that famous body of water. Dressed in his signature white hat, suit and shoes, he strolled down the pier and asked a man sitting in a near-by row boat the price for rowing them out.
Presuming that this cultured-acting man to be a wealthy individual from the states, the opportunistic oarsman said he would charge $25 American dollars. After thanking the man, Twain was heard to say as he and his wife turned away, "No wonder Jesus chose to walk."
It must have been something of this same sentiment against greed and corporate interests Pope Francis was meaning to voice in his recent encyclical Laudato Si', where he strangely censures the use of air conditioning. more >>
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said in an interview that if Pope Francis were to criticize him and capitalism during the pontiff's upcoming visit in September, the billionaire businessman will have to "scare" Francis with a reminder that the Islamic State terror group has threatened him.
In a wide-ranging interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Wednesday, Trump said that even though he is a Protestant Christian, he has "great respect" for the pope.
"I like the pope. I actually like him. He's becoming very political, there's no question about it. But I like him. He seems like a pretty good guy." more >>