Pope Francis made a powerful statement by meeting with gay marriage dissenter Kim Davis. But imagine how much more powerful it would have been had the meeting been public, rather than private.
Pope Francis has come and gone. His five-day sojourn in America started with a visit to Washington, D.C. (including speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress), continued in New York City (including a speech to the U.N. General Assembly) and concluded with a World Congress of Families in Philadelphia.
What should one make of this historic visit? The mass appeal generated by the pope's visit, symbolized by a million-person mass in Philadelphia, was extraordinary by any standard or measure. The pope is a head of state (Vatican City), thus a political figure, but primarily and overwhelmingly he is an overtly religious figure in that he is the titular head of the world communion of Roman Catholics. more >>
The state of Georgia has executed a woman despite last-minute pleas for mercy, including one from Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis. The woman reportedly sang the Christian anthem "Amazing Grace" as she was put to death via lethal injection, witnesses said.
NBC News reported that Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 47, was executed shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Gissendaner had been put on death row for the 1997 stabbing murder of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, at the hands of her lover. She became the first woman executed by the state in 70 years.
Gregory Owen, who carried out the killing, is serving a life prison sentence, and is not eligible for parole until 2022. more >>
Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, has claimed in an interview that Pope Francis met with and prayed with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during his visit to Washington, D.C. last week. The Vatican has refused to confirm or deny that the meeting between the pontiff and the clerk took place.
Staver told CBS News on Tuesday night that the two briefly met on Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Vatican Embassy in Washington.
"Staver said Pope Francis spoke to Davis in English and asked her to pray for him. He said Davis, in return, asked the pope to pray for her. The pope told her to stay strong, according to her lawyer," CBS reported. more >>
Are you someone who tends to see the glass half full, or half empty? And if you had the chance to get your hands on a glass of water used by the pope, would you take it? One Democratic congressman from Philadelphia simply couldn't resist.
Once Pope Francis finished delivering his recent speech to Congress, Rep. Bob Brady sprung into action. After grabbing the glass, he took it to his office and had a drink. Then his wife and two staffers also drank from the glass. Brady decided to save the rest of the water for his grandchildren, saying he would bless them with it.
Now either that water contains miraculous power, or it doesn't. Brady seems to believe this water contains such power. And so in his mind, it made perfect sense to go for it. more >>
Pastor Rick Warren of California's Saddleback Church gave the final keynote address of the World Meeting of Families conference, sharing the stage with Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, in Philadelphia on Friday, the day before Pope Francis arrives in the city.
"Thank you for caring about the family," warren told the crowd as he began his address on the concluding day of the conference, and quoted Pope Francis as saying that the family is under threat, according to National Catholic Register.
Held every three years and sponsored by the Holy See's Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is the world's largest Catholic gathering of families. This year's theme for the conference was "Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive," emphasizing the impact of the love and life of families on society. more >>
From celebrating Masses at Havana's Revolution Square in Cuba, Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, to addressing the U.S. Congress and the United Nations — and with lots packed in between — the 78-year-old Pope Francis tirelessly proclaimed the Gospel precepts of human dignity, forgiveness, social justice, peace, the common good, care for the poor and vulnerable, protection of the earth and love for all.
As the first pope in history to address a joint session of Congress, Pope Francis, defending the human right of masses of oppressed and poor people to immigrate, said "We must not be taken aback by their number, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.
"We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' " (Mt 7:12). more >>