Extracts of a Pope Francis speech have recently been published in Italian websites, where the Vatican leader warns educators that they need to be careful when engaging with children of gay couples and those living in complex family situations, and make sure they are not administering "a vaccine against faith to them."
A Vatican spokesman has moved to clarify, however, that the pope's remarks are not political and do not serve as a recognition of gay civil unions.
"On an educational level, gay unions raise challenges for us today which for us are sometimes difficult to understand," Francis said in a speech to the Catholic Union of Superiors General in November, according to reports in Italian media websites on Saturday. more >>
Pope Francis announced Sunday he plans to visit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories on May 24-26, and meet with the leader of the Orthodox Christian Church. He will be the fourth pontiff to visit the Christian Holy Land in the modern era.
The pope made the announcement Sunday, which was the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's first trip to Jerusalem six months into his papacy to meet the leader of the Orthodox Christian Church.
Francis told the crowd in St. Peter's Square that he was announcing his three-day visit to Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem "in the climate of joy that is typical of the Christmas season," according to The Associated Press. more >>
Pope Francis has urged religious orders of the Catholic Church to strive to mold both the hearts and the minds of those studying in seminaries to become priests, warning that they can otherwise become "little monsters."
"We must form their [seminary students'] hearts. Otherwise we create little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the people of God. This really gives me goose bumps," Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica quotes the pope as telling the superiors general of religious orders in a conversation.
The pope stressed that sinners, not corrupt people, were admitted in the seminary. "I am not speaking about people who recognize that they are sinners: we are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt. Sinners are accepted but not people who are corrupt," Francis said in the three-hour conversation that took place in late November. more >>
Although Pope Francis is hardly the first Vatican figurehead to critique the free market, his criticisms have not gone unnoticed by certain would-be donors of the Catholic church.
Home Depot founder and investor Ken Langone, who is currently leading the $180 million fundraising efforts to complete the renovations on St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, recently told CNBC that a potential million dollar donor has voiced apprehension about donating to the project after Pope Francis critiqued trickle-down economics in November as "naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
"In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world," Pope Francis wrote. more >>
The men's magazine Esquire elected to pick an unorthodox icon of men's fashion this year – Pope Francis. A new poll also shows a majority of American Catholics approve of the pope and say he is leading the church in the right direction.
"The humility of his garments offers a way to visibly display his theological and material concerns for the poor," Ann Pellegrini, associate professor of performance studies and religious studies at New York University, told the magazine. "This Holy Roman emperor really does have new clothes."
This pope's humble fashion sense began as early as his installment in March. After being chosen by the conclave, Francis decided to keep the same coat of arms he held as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and picked the simplest ring offered him, The Huffington Post reported. The only symbols added to his original coat of arms are those customary for every pope – a gilded miter and crossed gold and silver keys. more >>
"Esquire" has picked Pope Francis as its "Best Dressed Man of the Year,"a designation that the men's fashion and lifestyle magazine has previously doled out to actors such as Bradley Cooper and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
"Esquire" asserted that the Catholic leader's dress reflected "a new era (and for many, renewed hope) for the Catholic Church."
Since assuming the papacy in March of this year, Pope Francis has continually made waves in the media, less for key disruptions or reforms in church policy, but largely because of small, more intimate and personal gestures, many of which when leaked to the press or photographed, have gone viral. more >>