Pope Francis has stated that the Church should "act decisively" with regards to the issue of sexual abuse within the Church, insisting those found guilty should be punished to ensure the safety of children.
Bishop Gerhard Mueller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith that oversees the investigation related to clerical sex abuse cases, held a meeting with Pope Francis' and was told to continue to root out abusive behavior within the Church.
"Act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty," read a Vatican statement revealing the nature of the Pope's Message to Bishop Mueller. more >>
Pope Francis has already established himself as a pontiff not afraid to break from tradition, and many are saying he is giving women unprecedented recognition within the church.
"Women play a primary, fundamental role in the Bible," the pope told thousands of pilgrims at an audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, Reuters reported. "The evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria."
"The disciples had a harder time believing but not the women," the Roman Catholic Church leader reminded the people, referring to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Women in the Church have had and have a special role in opening the doors to the Lord, in following him, in communicating his message." more >>
Pope Francis has made comments on the Shroud of Turin, the much-discussed and analyzed burial cloth that some believe shows the face of Jesus Christ, saying that it "speaks to the heart," though he stopped short of declaring the piece an official relic.
"This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart," the Roman Catholic Church leader said in an Italian TV Easter Saturday special.
"This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest … And yet, at the same time, the face in the shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty," he added. more >>
As Pope Francis delivered an Easter Sunday message of peace, the U.S. sent out fighter jets to the Korean peninsula for military drills amid rising tensions and the danger of war.
"Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow," Pope Francis stated, speaking in Italian. He was speaking in his first Easter Sunday address since being appointed leader of the Roman Catholic Church, greeting over 250,000 people from the central balcony at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
In a telling rejection of the lavish privileges and traditions that come with the papacy of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis' first few weeks in the office have been defined by simple living and unconventional acts of humility.
In a bold departure from a centuries old tradition on Holy Thursday, Pope Francis elected not to wash the hallowed feet of fellow priests but those of 12 young prisoners at the Casal del Marmo Penitentiary Institute for Minors in Rome. The group of youngsters who ranged in age from 14-21 included two women, one of whom is Muslim.
Pope Francis I has presented himself since his first appearance at the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as a simple and humble man committed to the poor, leading observers to speculate that the Latin American leader from Argentina could invigorate faith communities beyond the 1.2 billion Catholics who look to him as pope.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which has more than 40,000 member churches, is among those who believe Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, has the capacity to not only "attract young Latinos who want to do good in the name of Jesus" but also stir up U.S. evangelicals to pursue a deeper commitment to the poor.
"There is something that evangelicals can learn from our Catholic brothers and sisters. We get the vertical right … I think we lack at the horizontal, where the Catholic Church gets it right and we lack," Rodriguez told CP, noting differing Catholic and Protestant views on the doctrines of salvation and justification in his explanation of the "vertical." more >>