Pope Francis has called the family of American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by Islamic militants in a video posted by terror group ISIS earlier this week. The family is said to be "moved and grateful" by the pontiff's gesture.
"Pope Francis phoned the family of #JamesFoley this afternoon at their residence in New Hampshire. The family was 'moved and grateful,'" Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, wrote in a Twitter message Thursday.
Martin clarified that a Vatican official gave him permission to share the news. more >>
Pope Francis spoke publicly about his death and old age for the first time earlier this week, noting that he tries to stay humble by remembering that he only has a few years left to live.
Francis was on a flight back from a five-day trip to South Korea when he made the remarks after being asked how he handles his popularity and suggested that he would consider retiring early if necessary.
"I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, so as not to think that I am somebody. Because I know this will last a short time, two or three years, and then to the house of the Father," said Francis to The Telegraph. more >>
Three of Pope Francis' relatives in Argentina have died in a car crash, including two young children. The pontiff has said that he is "profoundly saddened" at the tragedy, which also seriously injured his nephew.
"Pope Francis has learnt of the tragic death of three of his relatives in a traffic accident in Argentina and is 'profoundly saddened,'" the Vatican Radio reported Tuesday. "The Director of the Holy See's Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said the Pope had received news of the tragic accident and asks that 'all those who share in his grief join with him in prayer.'"
The car crash, which according to The Associated Press occurred on a provincial highway between the cities of Rosario and Cordoba, took the lives of Valeria Carmona — the 36-year-old wife of Emanuel Bergoglio, the 38-year-old son of a brother of Pope Francis, along with their two young children, Jose and Antonio. more >>
Pope Francis has spoken out against the persecution of Christians and other minorities in Iraq, and has addressed whether the use of force to stop their persecutors is justified.
"In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," Pope Francis told journalists. "I underscore the verb 'stop.' I'm not saying 'bomb' or 'make war,' just 'stop.' And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated."
Hundreds of thousands of Christians and religious minority members have had to flee their homes and communities in order to avoid being slaughtered by radical Muslims. The Islamic group known as ISIS has spent recent months murdering thousands across northern Iraq in an attempt to form a unified Islamic Caliphate. The militant group has already taken over a large area of Syria and hopes to "cleanse" the region of Christians and other minorities such as the Yazidids. more >>
The head of the one billion-member Roman Catholic Church has hinted that he might make a three-day visit to the United States of America next year.
Pope Francis recently stated that he was hoping to visit the United States, home to an estimated 75 million Catholics, next year likely in autumn.
Pope Francis urged South Korean Catholics to hold fast to the spirit of evangelization and reject "inhumane economic models" as their country's economy continues growing. The pope was addressing close to 50,000 people at Mass in his first ever visit to Asia.
The pontiff warned against the "allure of a materialism that stifles authentic spiritual and cultural values and the spirit of unbridled competition which generates selfishness and strife," Vatican Radio reported on Friday.
Speaking before a packed crowd at World Cup Stadium in Daejoen, Francis encouraged believers to "reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers, and the culture of death which devalues the image of God, the God of life, and violates the dignity of every man, woman and child." more >>