Pope Francis has spoken out against human traffickers, warning them that they will be held accountable for their crimes. He also pleaded on behalf of the tens of thousands of children around the world forced to work in degrading conditions on the eve of World Day Against Child Labor on Thursday.
"One day everything comes to an end and they will be held accountable to God," the pope said about those responsible for human trafficking, slave labor and arms manufacturing during a general audience at the Vatican on Wednesdays, also calling them "merchants of death."
The Roman Catholic Church leader pleaded for the "tens of thousands of children who are forced to work in degrading conditions, exposed to forms of slavery and exploitation, as well as abuse, mistreatment and discrimination." He also called on the international community to "extend social protection for minors in order to weaken this scourge." more >>
Pope Francis has canceled his second day of private appointments and his morning mass, with a Vatican spokesperson citing a "minor indisposition" as the reason for the pope's absence. Francis is expected to return to his regular commitments tomorrow.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for Francis, as the 77-year-old pope recently went on an activity-packed tour of the Middle East, as well as hosted an Invocation for Peace at the Vatican with Israeli and Palestinian presidents this past Sunday. A Vatican spokesperson told the Catholic News Agency that following Sunday's event in the Vatican Gardens, the pope was "very tired."
"He is not sick, and there is nothing serious; but he had a minor indisposition, and because of this, he felt that it was better to give up some commitments yesterday and the celebration of the Mass with the general public this morning in Santa Marta," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the Catholic News Agency on Tuesday. more >>
Joel Osteen, bestselling motivational author and evangelical pastor of America's fastest-growing megachurch, was among a small group that included Mormon Sen. Mike Lee, to meet privately with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome, this week.
Osteen said he was honored to meet with Pope Francis, who leads the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
"I like the fact that this pope is trying to make the church larger, not smaller. He's not pushing people out but making the church more inclusive. That resonated with me," Osteen told the Houston Chronicle. more >>
Pope Francis made a surprising move Thursday when he ousted all five Italian members of the Vatican's financial watchdog agency, replacing them with four new, international board members.
The pope reportedly made the move after internal conflict continued among old board members of the Holy See's Financial Information Authority [FIA]. The five former board members, all male Italians, reportedly clashed with Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who is the head of the FIA and wanted to work with more international professionals experienced in anti-money laundering work.
In a homily on Monday, the single and childless Pope encouraged married couples to not limit their love to their personal pets but to extend to having their own children.
Francis challenged married couples on Monday to resist a "culture of wellbeing" which he suggested had "convinced us it's better not to have children."
The Pope, who is 77 and single and childless, suggested that too many married couples had bought into a "the culture of wellbeing" which tells adherents to "see the world, go on holidays; you can have a house in the country and be carefree." more >>
Two Italian priests and one Canadian nun have been freed from Cameroon after they were allegedly kidnapped by the terror group Boko Haram in April.
Father Giampaolo Marta, Father Gianantonio Allegri from the Diocese of Vicenza in northeast Italy and Canadian nun Gilberte Bissiere of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame were photographed Sunday being led to the Cameroon capital of Yaoundé, where they were scheduled to meet with the country's president, Paul Biya, later that day.
The three missionaries had been working in the country's parish of Maroua, near Nigeria's border, to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and improve local drinking water when they were kidnapped on April 4. Although no group has taken responsibility for the kidnappings, the Cameroonian government has accused Boko Haram of taking the three missionaries. The group of Islamic militants has taken responsibility for multiple kidnappings in the past year, including the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls from Chibok, Nigeria, in April. more >>