More than half a million people gathered in St. Peter's Square Sunday to join Pope Francis and Retired Benedict XVI for holy mass and the sainthood ceremony for Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.
Pope Francis canonized the two post-World War II era pontiffs, Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963, and called for the modernizing Second Vatican Council and allowd for Mass to be celebrated in local languages instead of Latin; and Pope John Paul II, who reigned for nearly 27 years and is credited for working with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to bring down Communism.
Canadian sculptor Tim Schmalz had the honor of meeting Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II and told The Christian Post that both pontiffs have encouraged the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world and Christians of all denominations to help the poor and marginalized in society. more >>
The miraculous healings and apparitions of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII were recently described at a news conference by first-hand witnesses, three days before their joint canonization.
Speaking at a conference at the Vatican on Thursday, Floribeth Mora Diaz said that some people thought she was crazy to believe that John Paul II helped heal her brain aneurysm in May 2011, six years after his death. She described it, however, as a "blessed craziness, because I'm healthy," Catholic News Service reported.
The Costa Rican woman is said to have gone through an "inexplicable recovery" thanks to the Polish pontiff on the day of his beatification, which the Vatican said was a double miracle since not only was she healed, but the faith of her family had been restored. more >>
The Roman Catholic Church is set for major celebrations around the world to mark the canonization of popes John Paul II and John XXIII on Sunday.
The Vatican discussed their sainthood during a Tuesday press briefing, saying, "Father Giovangiuseppe Califano, the postulator for John XXIII, said as a 15-year-old seminarian Angelo Roncalli was already making resolutions that were intended to help him become a saint for real. He said Pope John's sainthood was characterized by a deep humility and he was both a shepherd and a father," according to Vatican Radio.
"Roncalli, he continued, opened new horizons to the Church by convening the Second Vatican Council and was a capable communicator who by using simple every-day expressions succeeded in entering immediately into the hearts of people. Father Califano went on to explain how the words 'obedience and peace' were not just Roncalli's episcopal motto but were at the root of his sainthood as they characterized his life at the service of the Church." more >>
The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Ili., has expressed his support for a priest who has refused to give Holy Communion to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ili.).
Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki stated in an email written to a pro-life activist that he supported Monsignor Kevin Vann, pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church.
"Senator Durbin was informed several years ago by his pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Springfield that he was not permitted to receive Holy Communion per canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law," wrote Paprocki. more >>
U.S. President Barack Obama met Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican, with reports stating that the world leaders held a 50-minute private talk.
"It is a great honor. I'm a great admirer," Obama told the Roman Catholic leader upon meeting him. "Thank you so much for receiving me." It was the first such meeting between the two leaders and their 50-minute conversation was considered an "extraordinarily long time," Catholic News Service reported.
Obama said that while the two had a "wide-ranging discussion," they focused on two concerns that the pope had: the poor and growing inequality, and conflict around the world. more >>
For the past year, no two living people have had their every utterance parsed for meaning as thoroughly and consistently as President Obama and Pope Francis. This search for meaning will continue Thursday, when Obama makes his second visit as president to the Vatican.
Like any between two powerful heads of state, the meeting is important, but focusing on policy and statecraft risks overlooking key dimensions of this meeting. For the president, the pope, and the American people, this meeting has farther-reaching importance.
The policy implications of the meeting are broad and include a range of issues-from climate change and immigration reform to the Syrian crisis and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice will both join Obama. The men have several shared policy priorities. The president has invoked Francis's statements on income inequality; one of the signature issues of his second term, and the administration has also worked with the Vatican on the fight against global poverty. Ken Hackett, the American ambassador to the Holy See, is the former CEO of Catholic Relief Services and one of the nation's foremost experts on international development. more >>