As news on the two Christian bishops kidnapped in Syria remains scarce, Pope Francis called for the release of all those taken against their will in the war-torn country.
"This troubled situation of war bears with it tragic consequences: death, destruction, massive economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping. In denouncing these events I wish to assure my prayers of solidarity for those who have been kidnapped and their families and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers for the release of the victims," Pope Francis said on Sunday at the Vatican.
The Archbishop of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Ibrahim, and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Metropolitan Paul Yazigi, still remain unaccounted for since they were kidnapped in Syria in April. more >>
The wheelchair-bound man that Pope Francis blessed in a controversial prayer many billed as a public exorcism earlier this month in St. Peter's Square, says the demons are still inside him.
Identified in a recent report only as Angel V., the 43-year-old Mexican father of two reportedly told Spanish-language newspaper El Mundo that the demons have withstood 30 exorcism attempts by 10 exorcists, including the Vatican's leading exorcist, Rev. Gabriel Amorth, who claims to have sent 160,000 demons to hell.
"I still have the demons inside me, they have not gone away," said Angel, while admitting that he is now able to walk since Pope Francis prayed over him on May 19 at the end of Mass. more >>
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Roman Curia, said he carries greetings of Pope Francis not only for Christians, but for all inhabitants of the region. He highlighted particularly those who still languish under injustice, suffering and bloodshed.
Cardinal Sandri visited three Syrian refugee families in the Jordanian city of Zarqa Wednesday. The cardinal oversaw the distribution of aid provided to them by Caritas Jordan and was informed what the Latin Patriarchate School in the Zarqa Church can offer to Syrian students of the school.
Cardinal Sandri appreciated the important role played by Jordan, describing it as "a country with a historical, humane and civilized legacy for the good of humanity." He commended the Jordanian openness and hospitality in sheltering Syrian refugees. more >>
The Catholic Church's top exorcist, who claims to have sent 160,000 demons back to hell, says he wants Pope Francis to allow all priests to start performing the ritual to deal with a rising demand for exorcisms from the faithful.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 88, who also heads the International Association of Exorcists, told The Sunday Times that he will ask Pope Francis to allow all priests the right to do exorcisms without the church's approval. According to the report, priests currently need special approval from their bishop to perform the rite and it is rarely granted.
"I will ask the pope to give all priests the power to carry out exorcisms, and to ensure priests are properly trained for these starting with the seminary. There's a huge demand for them," said Father Amorth. more >>
Pope Francis said during his homily at the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday that Christians should follow Christ from the heart, and not as if it's a career.
"If you follow Jesus as a cultural proposal, then you are using this road to get higher up, to have more power. And the history of the Church is full of this, starting with some emperors and then many rulers and many people, no? And even some – I will not say a lot, but some – priests, bishops, no? Some say that there are many ... but they are those who think that following Jesus is a career," the Roman Catholic Church leader said, according to Vatican Radio.
The pontiff stressed that Jesus is the way of the cross and that proclaiming his name should go "straight to the heart." more >>
A Vatican spokesman clarified on Thursday that atheists are still going to hell despite Pope Francis' homily last week that pointed out doing good wasn't just confined to the faith community and even atheists, despite their views, are able to do good as well.
"Doing good," the pope explained in his homily last Wednesday, is not a matter of faith: "It is a duty, it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because He has made us in His image and likeness. And He does good, always."
But in an "explanatory note on the meaning of 'salvation,'" the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman highlighted that being "good" alone is not enough to be saved. People who know about the Catholic Church, he explained, "cannot be saved" if they "refuse to enter her or remain in her." more >>