The Pope stole a rosary cross off of a late much-admired priest once, he admitted on Thursday to some other Roman priests. The Pontiff was recounting an incident that happened back when he was still serving the ministry in Buenos Aires, but he didn't say exactly when the event occurred.
The Pope stole the rosary from "the great confessor" of Buenos Aires: he was an elderly priest who had heard the most intimate confessions of many important diocesan priests and even Pope John Paul II himself when he came to Argentina. However, when he came to pray at the man's casket, there were no flowers there.
"This man forgave all the sins of all the priests of Buenos Aires, but not a single flower?" Pope Francis said. He resolved to make the situation right, according to the Associated Press. 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 >>
The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has called on the people to be ready to sacrifice their lives to protect the country's freedom, as the threat of a Russian attack looms over the horizon.
"Ukraine, unfortunately, has been pulled into a military conflict. So far no one is shooting, so far people are not dying, but it is obvious that military intervention has already begun," Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych said in a statement over the weekend, Catholic News Service reported on Monday.
"Our people and our country are currently in danger," the archbishop added. "We must stand up for our country, to be ready -- if necessary -- to sacrifice our lives in order to protect the sovereign, free, independent, and unified state." more >>
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has called the growing crisis in Ukraine the "biggest in Europe in the 21st Century" as 6,000 Russian troops took control of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine on Monday.
"Clearly we are very concerned about any possibility of a further move by Russia in other parts of Ukraine but that does not mean the position in the Crimea is stable," Hague told BBC.
"This is a very tense situation and dangerous situation that Russia's intervention has now produced." more >>
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has praised Pope Francis for his decision to suspend Germany's "Bishop of Bling" Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst last year, following revelations that the bishop spent over $42 million on a luxury residence.
"His Holiness, the Pope, I think is very, very realistic and quite strict. I really admired his dismissing one German bishop [who was living] his own private life in a very sort of expensive, luxurious [way]," the Dalai Lama said in an interview with TIME on Wednesday during a two-week tour of the U.S. west coast.
The spiritual leader was seemingly referring to Tebartz-van Elst from the Diocese of Limburg, who in October 2013 caused an uproar in Germany after it was revealed that he spent vast amounts of money on a building project that included a free-standing bath, conference table and private chapel worth millions. more >>
A new economic report on India revealed a lower poverty rate in the world's second most populous country. At the same time, more than half of the population still cannot meet their basic needs. With that, the Roman Catholic Church in India echoed Pope Francis' call to devote itself to serving the poor and those marginalized by society.
"The Catholic community intends to improve its services to education, making schools and other educational institutions closer to the poor. It also aims to combat the culture of well-being, which leads to 'globalization of indifference,' as Pope Francis defines it," Agenzia Fides reported on Thursday, citing comments by the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Indian Bishops.
The McKinsey Global Institute report, commissioned by the Indian government and released this month, revealed mixed economic news for the South Asian country. While the official poverty rate has gone down from 45 percent of the population in 1994 to 22 percent in 2012, it was found that 56 percent of the population, or 680 million people, still lack the means to meet essential needs, such as food, energy, housing, drinking water, sanitation, healthcare, education, and social security. more >>