A recent study by the Pew Research Center has indicated that while extremely popular among American Catholics, Pope Francis has not had a noticeable effect on church attendance numbers.
In results released Monday, Conrad Hackett of the Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project found that trends in Mass attendance have remained basically the same since 2007.
For 2013, the year that Francis became the head of the Roman Catholic Church, 39 percent of U.S. Catholics reported attending Mass at least once a week. more >>
In his first major written work as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis denounced the world's "tyrannical" economic system while urging further support for the poor, arguing that the church must be poor and be for the poor.
Francis criticized "ideologies that defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation," which he attributed to an "idolatry of money" – much like he has done in the past, when he blasted the free market system and claimed that a global "cult of money" was holding the world captive.
The Vatican leader added in his 50,000-word "apostolic exhortation" that the current economic system is "unjust at its root." more >>
Pope Francis has made international headlines once again by showing compassion towards a severely disabled man at a mass in St. Peter's Square, Rome, Italy earlier this week.
After addressing the general audience at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Nov. 20, Pope Francis blessed and embraced a middle-aged man with a severely disfigured face that had large portions of his facial features missing, including his nose and forehead. Evidently, the man sustained a serious injury at some point in his life, but beyond that assumption, no other information on the unidentified man has been given to the media.
At one point in his interaction with the man, Pope Francis was seen pointing to the sky after he gave the stranger a strong hug and a pat on the back. This is the second viral photo showing Francis' compassion for the suffering to circulate in recent weeks. Another photo showing Francis embracing and kissing a man with painful tumors covering his neck and face also went viral two weeks ago. more >>
The Vatican and Google are working together to bring to light early-century paintings found in ancient Christian catacombs in northeast Rome, depicting notable biblical events such as Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and also some paintings that raises questions on whether there were women priests in the early Church.
"This is perhaps the sign of the joining of two extremes, remote antiquity and modernity," Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said at a news conference earlier this week at the Catacombs of Priscilla, Catholic News Service reported.
The restoration work inside the tomb used advanced laser techniques to uncover fourth-century paintings of famous scenes, such as Jesus and Lazarus, and St. Peter and Paul escorting Christians into the afterlife. It also contains one of the oldest known frescoes of the Madonna and the Child, dating back to 230 AD. more >>
An interview Pope Francis made with an Italian publication that garnered international headlines for remarks that may have been perceived as counter to Catholic tradition has been removed from the Vatican website over issues surrounding its accuracy, according to an official spokesman.
The announcement about the interview, conducted by atheist Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica, being removed from the Vatican City website was made recently by the Holy See. The entity is the governing arm of the Roman Catholic Church and is based in the Vatican City State. The Pope is the head of both the Vatican and the Holy See.
Pope Francis revealed that he goes to confession every two weeks because priests, bishops and even the pope are sinners who need forgiveness, just like everyone else.
"Certainly, God forgives every repentant sinner, but the Christian is bound to Christ and Christ is united to his church," the pope told the general audience at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, according to Catholic News Service. "God, in his sovereign mercy, forgives everyone, but he wanted those who belong to Christ and his church to receive forgiveness through the community's ministers."
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church added that God never tires of forgiving those who repent, and argued that it is "better to turn red once than yellow a thousand times," encouraging people to confess their sins to a priest as a way to spiritual healing. more >>