Pope Francis has spent time praying before the Shroud of Turin in a two-day visit to the city this weekend, joining hundreds of thousands who in the past two months have stopped to pay their respects to what some believe is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
Although the Vatican has never publicly declared whether it considers the shroud an actual relic belonging to Jesus, Francis told the audience at mass in Turin that the cloth is an "icon of love."
"The shroud attracts toward the face and the martyred body of Jesus and at the same time pushes us toward the face of those who suffer or are unjustly persecuted," he said, according to Catholic Herald. more >>
Several evangelical groups have praised Pope Francis' major encyclical on the environment released on Thursday, which warns that climate change is real and is impacting all of God's creation, including impoverished people in different corners of the world. Francis said that it's wrong to treat nature and other living creatures as "mere objects" for "human domination."
"We are grateful that the pope has joined with over 300 Evangelicals like Rick Warren, Rich Stearns, and Bill Hybels, and other Christian leaders who understand climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time and the greatest opportunity for hope. It's time to make hope happen by fueling the unstoppable clean energy transition, stopping the ideological battles, and working together," said in a statement Rev. Mitch Hescox, president & CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network.
"Creating a new energy economy that benefits all and addresses climate change is not about a political party but living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We urge all people of good will, especially fellow Christian conservatives, to read and study these timely words from Pope Francis." more >>
Pope Francis has hit back against those who say that focusing on the poor is a sign of communism, by stating in a speech that caring for the less fortunate is part of the Christian Gospel. He also said that if "faith doesn't reach your pockets, it is not a genuine faith."
Vatican Radio reported that Francis made the comments during mass on Tuesday in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he said: "Oh, this priest speaks about poverty too much, this bishop talks about poverty, this Christian, this sister talk about poverty. Well, they're a bit communist, aren't they?"
The Roman Catholic Church leader asserted that "poverty is at the very center of the Gospel: If we remove poverty from the Gospel, no one would be able to understand anything about the message of Jesus." more >>
Two bishops from a Catholic Archdiocese have announced their resignation over an investigation into the potential failures of the church body to protect minors from a sexually abusive priest.
The Vatican recently accepted the resignations of Archbishop John Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche, both of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
These resignations were connected to an ongoing investigation regarding the archdiocese's culpability in the criminal actions of a pedophile priest. more >>
Scientists are praising Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on climate change, a major written work calling on Christians to care for the planet and reverse harmful effects, which is set to be released on Thursday.
"The encyclical is going to go out to over 1 billion Catholics — that's a way of getting a message across to a segment of society that the scientific community could never do," said Jeff Kiehl of National Center for Atmospheric Research, according to USA Today. "I mean it's just unbelievable."
NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt added: more >>
The Vatican is expected to make a ruling on the highly controversial apparitions of the Madonna which allegedly first began in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje in 1981.
Six children in the obscure town first reported seeing Jesus' mother Mary in a vision and since then the town has become a major pilgrimage site. Many critics, however, have dismissed the apparitions as a hoax.