Pope Francis has established a new Pontifical Commission that will examine the Vatican's financial institution, amid concerns of new problems surrounding the Roman Catholic Church's bank.
The Vatican leader explained that the Commission will consist of at least five members, who will be charged with gathering accurate information on the legal position and various activities of the Institute for Religious Works, also known as IOR.
"The Commission is to collect the documents, data, and information necessary to the performance of its official institutional duties," the pontiff announced on Wednesday, according to the Vatican Radio. more >>
Pope Francis recently surprised some in the Vatican by failing to show up for a concert where he was expected to be the guest of honor. Some believe the move is another message that the pontiff will not indulge in lavish events.
"It took us by surprise," an anonymous Vatican source said on Monday, according to Reuters. "We are still in a period of growing pains. He is still learning how to be pope and we are still learning how he wants to do it."
A photo of the empty white papal armchair apparently made the rounds in Italian newspapers. The RAI National Symphony Orchestra concert, directed by conductor Juraj Valcuha of Slovakia, took place on Saturday and was attended by a crowd of cardinals and Italian dignitaries. An archbishop was forced to announce to the crowd, however, that Pope Francis had an "urgent commitment that cannot be postponed" and thus would not attend. more >>
The Pope addressed unity within the Catholic Church and other Christian communities during his series of weekly talks on the nature of the Church.
"How much damage is caused to the Church by divisions among Christians, by being apart, by narrow interests," said the Pope in his weekly address. "The divisions among us, but also the division between the communities: evangelical Christians, Orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians: why are we divided?"
He encouraged his audience to pray and work for unity within the Body of Christ. He also illustrated the relationship between Christ and his church. more >>
Pope Francis has spoken out against the hunger crisis that millions of people around the world still face, saying that it is "truly scandalous" that in this day and age more isn't being done to help them, noting that the global economic crisis cannot be used as an excuse for inactivity.
"It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous," the Roman Catholic Church leader said in a speech on Thursday before 400 participants at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization Conference.
"A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being." more >>
Pope John Paul II, the popular Polish pope who served from 1978 until his death in 2005, has had a second miracle attributed to his name, setting him on course toward the fastest canonization in modern Roman Catholic Church history.
The Vatican Insider reported on Tuesday that doctors and a commission of theologians agreed to attribute a second miracle to his name, meaning that now the final step for Pope John Paul II to become a saint is for cardinals and bishops to agree on the decision.
The miracle is the healing of a Costa Rican woman, who suffered from severe brain damage before she had an "inexplicable recovery." According to The Independent, Italian newspaper Il Giornale quoted Vatican officials who claimed that a double miracle had actually been performed, because not only was the woman healed, but the faith of her family had been restored. more >>
Pope Francis blessed thousands of bikers on Sunday when Harley-Davidson riders descended on St. Peter's square at the Vatican for their 110th anniversary, which coincided with an all-day long pro-life event.
The Vatican Radio noted that as many as 1,400 bikers were to be blessed by the Roman Catholic Church leader following the Angelus prayer on Sunday.
The riders were dressed in their trademark leather vests as they gathered around the Vatican, and waited for the pope to drive up in his open-top jeep to greet them and offer his blessings. The event coincided with the Vatican kicking off its "Evangelium Vitae" celebration, a full-day event aimed at defending life by standing up to abortion, murder and euthanasia. more >>