Pope Francis has sent out a letter to the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church declaring that sex abusers have no place in the ecclesiastical body.
In the official letter sent out Monday the pontiff mentioned a July meeting he had with individuals who were sexually abused by Catholic priests. "At my meeting in July with persons who had suffered sexual abuse by priests, I was deeply moved by their witness to the depth of their sufferings and the strength of their faith," wrote Francis.
"This experience reaffirmed my conviction that everything possible must be done to rid the Church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused." more >>
The head of the one billion-member Roman Catholic Church will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress later this year.
For the first time in history, a pope will come before both houses of Congress and give an address to the legislative body.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, released a statement Thursday about Pope Francis' visit to Washington, D.C. and the historic speech. more >>
The head of the Roman Catholic Church has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing consideration with a group including an anti-Putin Russian newspaper and a Saudi Arabian blogger.
While the Norwegian Nobel Institute does not publish an official list of nominees, Norwegian experts who can nominee do drop names, according to Alister Doyle of Reuters.
"Pope Francis has been nominated for stressing social justice and care for the environment, and former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of U.S. electronic surveillance, for showing how citizens are monitored with few democratic controls," reported Doyle. more >>
A new Vatican document has condemned elective plastic surgery on women, calling it "aggressive toward the feminine identity."
Vanity-motivated procedures such as breast implant surgeries and tummy tucks are "manipulations of the body that explore its limits with respect to the concept of identity," write the authors of the document titled "Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference."
According to the report, one woman told the authors that "plastic surgery is like a burqa made of flesh." A burqa is a traditional outer garment often worn by some Muslim women in public to conceal the body. more >>
Pope Francis reportedly met a Spanish transsexual and his fiancée at the Vatican, after giving him a phone call on Christmas Day. Diego Neria Lejarraga, who was born a woman, wrote to the pontiff in December to tell him that a parish priest had called him "the devil's daughter."
AFP reported that 48-year-;/old Lejarraga met Francis on Saturday at the Vatican, after telling the pope that he had been treated as an outcast in his parish in Plasencia in western Spain. The Spanish citizen, who identifies as a Roman Catholic, has undergone sexual reassignment surgery.
"After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me," Lejarraga reportedly told the Spanish Holy newspaper. more >>
Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said on Sunday that the cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo are "childish" compared to the way the newspaper has mocked and offended Christians.
"The cartoons of prophet Muhammad are childish caricatures compared to what this publication allows itself in mocking the feelings of Christians," Kirill said in a sermon.
"Today, in saying 'no' to terrorism, killings, violence, we also say 'no' to the inexplicable drive by a certain group of people to deride religious feelings." more >>