Pope Francis has been in the spotlight this week after replying to an agnostic's questions, addressing whether God could forgive a non-believer.
The response was sparked by a question from a prominent Italian agnostic, and has led some media outlets to report that the pope was suggesting non-believers could be forgiven – even to the extent of salvation – without coming to faith.
The letter, written as a response to editorials from July and August by Eugenio Scalfari, an agnostic and the founder of the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, addressed a question he posed about God forgiving people who do not believe in him or seek any type of faith. more >>
The pope has continued to surprise many with his show of humility, and after urging Church leaders to give up driving extravagant vehicles to instead donate the money to the poor, he has repeated led by example.
Pope Francis has given up the use of the famous "Popemobile," which was a Mercedes-Benz, and now it seems his latest ride will be a 30-year-old Renault 4 with 186,000 miles on the clock.
"I think the pope will drive it a bit himself inside the Vatican," the Holy See's deputy spokesman, Father Ciro Benedettini, said on Thursday. more >>
The Vatican's Secretary of State, the second in command behind Pope Francis, said in recent comments that the Catholic Church's tradition of requiring priests to remain celibate is a discipline, not a dogma, and therefore it has the possibility of being revised in the future. The Vatican official was quick to clarify, however, that the Church's long-held practice of priest celibacy was still a strongly-held Church value.
"Celibacy is not an institution but look, it is also true that you can discuss [it] because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church," Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, told the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. Parolin added that changing Church tradition does take a lot of thought.
"We cannot simply say that it is part of the past," the archbishop continued. "It is a great challenge for the pope, because he is the one with the ministry of unity and all of those decisions must be made thinking about the unity of the church and not about its division. Therefore we can talk, reflect on these subjects that are not definite, and we can think about some modifications, but always with the consideration of unity, and all according to the will of God. It is not about what I would like but what God wants for His church." more >>
Pope Francis has called for a peace vigil on Saturday, urging the world to pray and fast for peace in war-stricken Syria.
"I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me," Pope Francis said in his weekly remarks on Sunday.
"There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming," he added. more >>
A Florida Catholic academic institute has filed a second lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services' abortion-drug "accommodation."
Ave Maria University, a recently founded institute located in Naples, filed the suit Thursday in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ft. Myers Division.
"The University's sincere religious beliefs forbid it from facilitating, participating in, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting contraception, sterilization, or abortion," reads the suit in part. more >>
Pope Francis continued his unorthodox reign from the Vatican this week by placing a surprise call to tell a 44-year-old Argentinian woman who claims she was raped by local police, "you are not alone."
"The Pope told me he receives thousands of letters each day, but that what I wrote moved him and touched his heart," the woman told the National University of Cordoba's Canal 10 TV station, according to an EWTN News report.
The woman said in the report that she had written to Pope Francis for help, explaining to him how she had been raped twice by the local police officer who then turned around a threatened her. more >>