Pope Francis is set to release an encyclical letter which calls the environment the "ultimate pro-life, pro-poor, pro-family" issue that Christians are called to engage in. The Vatican has said that this is not a political statement, but one stemming from biblical teaching.
Catholic News Service reported that Pope Francis is finishing up his encyclical on the environment, set for publication early in the summer, which is set to build on the statements of his predecessors who have urged Christians to focus more on preserving and caring for the environment.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that Francis' pro-environment initiative is not part of a political agenda, but based in biblical teachings. more >>
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has revealed that close to 10,000 volunteers will be needed for Pope Francis' upcoming visit for the World Meeting of Families on Sept. 26 and 27. Two million people are expected to attend the pontiff's closing mass for his first ever visit to the United States.
"First, World Meeting of Families is a very expensive event. Much of the heaviest fund-raising for WMOF is being done by generous corporate and major individual donors, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, because WMOF will be a boost for our whole region. But many parishioners have also asked how they can personally help. And that's a blessing, because we can use all the help that we can get," Chaput said in a statement.
"Second, WMOF will need 10,000 or more volunteers for the event. This is crucial, since volunteers will be the face of the local Catholic community throughout the meeting. Volunteer registration will open soon on the World Meeting of Families website at www.worldmeeting2015.org. All volunteers must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, and they must complete an online background check," he added. more >>
Pope Francis has been credited with performing a miracle in Naples on Saturday by the Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe.
During a visit to Naples Cathedral, the pontiff venerated a vial of blood belonging to the Neapolitan patron St. Gennaro, who was once the bishop of Naples until he was martyred in 305, and it began to liquify. The dry blood turned to liquid after the pontiff prayed the "Our Father" over it and kissed the relic, prompting the Archbishop of Naples, Crescenzio Sepe, to declare the rare phenomenon a miracle.
A group of LGBT Catholics, some of whom reject official Roman Catholic teachings on sexuality, are seeking an audience with Pope Francis to show him a video titled "Owning our Faith" that outlines their beliefs. The Vatican has refused to reveal whether such a meeting will take place, but said that even if does, it would not mean that Francis is endorsing such views.
The St. Philip Neri Parish and Northwest Paulist Center in Portland, Oregon, revealed that the video by the self-identified LGBT Catholics, led by Father Gil Martinez, is intended to be shown to Francis on Tuesday following morning Mass at the Vatican.
Catholic News Agency reported that the Vatican refused to confirm whether such a meeting would take place. A Vatican official with the Holy See Press Office explained that as of Monday, there were "no public or official meetings scheduled." more >>
Pope Francis addressed concerns that he may be assassinated on Tuesday by members of ISIS or other organizations making threats against him.
"Life is in God's hands," Francis said in an interview with La Carcova News. "But if it is your will that I die or something happens to me, I ask you only one favor: that it doesn't hurt. Because I am a real wimp when it comes to physical pain."
Francis is no stranger to being threatened by radical groups such as ISIS that call him the "bearer of false truth." The rumor of a potential bomb threat was testified to by former Special Action Force commander Getulio Napenas. The bomb was reportedly set by the Jemaah Islamiya, a Southeast Asian Jihadist organization, but the Vatican denied such an accusation. more >>
The inspector general of the Vatican's police force has confirmed that terror group ISIS has threatened Pope Francis, but said he's not aware of any specific plans to carry out an attack. Francis has, meanwhile, condemned the "intolerable brutality" of the militants.
"The threat exists. This is what has emerged from my conversations with Italian and foreign colleagues," said Domenico Giani, inspector general of the Corpo della Gendarmeria, Vatican City's state police force.
"At the moment, I can say that we know of no plan for an attack against the Vatican or the Holy Father." more >>