Pope Francis has reached out to an Iraqi priest helping refugees who are fleeing terror group ISIS and are said to be in a "miserable" situation, telling the priest that he is always with him in prayer.
"'I read your letter,' said the Pope. He said he was very sorry for everything that was happening to us and he said, 'Know that I am with you in prayer always. I never forget you,'" Fr. Behnam Benoka told CNA on Sunday, recalling the pontiff's phone call.
Benoka had written to the pope to tell him of the dire situation thousands of refugees, including many Christians, face in Iraq as they continue fleeing violence from ISIS. more >>
A Satanic group that is scheduled to perform a "black mass" in Oklahoma City next month has returned some consecrated communion bread to the Catholic Church.
Last week, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City filed a lawsuit against the group, claiming that their acquisition of the Eucharist could have only been via theft.
Filed Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court, the lawsuit described the host as being the product of only the "sacred ritual" of Catholic mass and consecrated by an "ordained priest." more >>
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 >>