Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Tuesday, and asked the pontiff for prayers as the Middle Eastern country attempts to improve its relationship with the international community.
Rouhani had a private meeting with the pope during his four-day trip in Europe, which analysts say is meant to restore ties to western powers after economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic were lifted.
During his visit, Rouhani reportedly asked the pope to pray for him, adding that visiting the Catholic holy site was a "real pleasure." more >>
Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis has asked Christians of other traditions to forgive Catholics who have offended them in the past, and called on Catholics to offer the same in return.
"As Bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to ask for mercy and forgiveness for the behavior of Catholics towards Christians of other Churches which has not reflected Gospel values," Francis said at the closing Vespers of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the Basilica of St. Paul earlier this week.
"At the same time, I invite all Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if they, today or in the past, have been offended by other Christians. We cannot cancel out what has happened, but we do not want to let the weight of past faults continue to contaminate our relationships." more >>
Vatican officials have offered a homeless woman one year of free housing after she gave birth near St. Peter's Square this week in the freezing cold.
The homeless woman, whose name has not been revealed to the public, gave birth on a piece of cardboard near St. Peter's Square at around 2 a.m. Wednesday in zero-degree weather. She was noticed and offered help by a Vatican patrol car shortly after giving birth.
"When I got close I saw that the baby was already born and was still attached by the umbilical cord to the mother," Maria Capone, one of the officers who noticed the woman in the cold, told The Associated Press. "With my colleagues we tried to warm them up. We covered them with our uniform jackets." more >>
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the Great Mosque in Rome at the end of the month, Muslim leaders confirmed this week.
Leaders from one of the largest mosques in the western world told local news outlets that they requested a special visit from the pontiff several months ago.
Although the Vatican has yet to confirm its visit, Omar Camilletti, a member of the mosque's governing council, told CBS News that the meeting is "certain" to take place, but hasn't been confirmed due to security reasons. more >>
Italian atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari has claimed that Pope Francis asked him in one of their interviews not to convert to the Catholic faith, though Catholic observers are noting it is likely the pontiff was being humorous.
The National Catholic Register reported in a story earlier this week that Scalfari, who has interviewed Francis on a number of occasions, spoke last week at the 40th anniversary of his La Repubblica newspaper about his relationship with the Roman Catholic Church leader.
"Many atheist friends have asked me: you now have such affection for Pope Francis that there's a risk you'll convert," he said. more >>
Deeply concerned about a "globalization of indifference," Pope Francis in his 2016 World Day of Peace message titled "Overcome Indifference and Win Peace," warns that "the first kind of indifference in human society is indifference to God, which then leads to indifference to one's neighbor and to the environment."
Pope Francis writes, "Some people prefer not to ask questions or seek answers; they lead lives of comfort, deaf to the cry of those who suffer. Almost imperceptibly, we grow incapable of feeling compassion for others and for their problems; we have no interest in caring for them, as if their troubles were their own responsibility, and none of our business."
To help reverse this indifference, the Holy Father appeals to national leaders for concrete gestures in the creation of "dignified jobs to combat the social plague of unemployment .… Special attention needs to be given to women — who unfortunately still encounter discrimination in the workplace — and to some categories of workers whose conditions are precarious or dangerous, and whose pay is not commensurate to the importance of their social mission." more >>