"Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words" is a quote widely attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. It also seems to be the motto of Pope Francis. Instead of just talking about abstract doctrines, he consistently lives out his beliefs in public ways that have grabbed the world's attention. His example of humility, compassion, and authenticity resonate powerfully in Washington, where cynicism is rampant, pride remains even after the proverbial falls, and an ideology of extreme individualism has overtaken a significant faction within our politics.
The Pope's words and deeds fascinate us because they are genuine and selfless. How could a leader of global significance spend time cold calling pregnant women in distress, kissing the feet of young Muslim inmates, or embracing a disfigured man? What sorts of values motivate such behavior? These stories touched our hearts, but they appeared irrelevant to our politics.
Then the Pope started talking about our wallets, which, according to a several commentators on the far right, instantly transformed him into a threat to capitalism itself. more >>
A Roman Catholic congregation in a small Oregon town has erected a pro-life display featuring over 500 white crosses. Parishioners from St. Francis Catholic Church of Sherwood and a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus built the display last weekend.
Fr. Ysrael C. Bien, parish priest for St. Francis Catholic, told The Christian Post that the display was meant "to promote life issues outside the confines of our parish community." Bien presided over "a simple blessing" Sunday in honor of the display, which was meant to be in remembrance of the "millions of babies" aborted since 1973.
"When a knight saw similar memorial white crosses erected in California, he got the idea and brought it to the council and myself for approval," said Bien. "The parish Respect Life committee also got involved and before you know it, parishioners, including our youth ministry members, began painting the crosses." more >>
An ordained minister who was once a Satanist, but now seeks to evangelize to those involved in the occult, has applauded the Roman Catholic Church's training of new exorcists.
Jeff Harshbarger, author and head of Refuge Ministries, told The Christian Post that he approved of the increased emphasis on dealing with those "demonically possessed."
"I do believe there is a tremendous need for trained exorcists; be it by the Catholic church or the Protestant church," said Harshbarger. "The Catholic church has had an awareness of dealing with the demonically possessed. That has waned recently, but they have been made aware and are responding." more >>
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 >>