The head of the Roman Catholic Church will soon celebrate a mass in Communist Cuba, at a location within sight of an image made in homage to atheist revolutionary Che Guevara.
Pope Francis is scheduled to officiate the mass next month at Havana's Plaza de la Revolucion, nearby a 118-foot artistic rendering of the deceased Communist guerilla.
Professor Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, Ph.D., a religious studies professor at the University of Miami who specializes in Catholicism and Cuba, told The Christian Post that this will not be the first time a pontiff has celebrated mass at the Plaza. more >>
Addressing the crowds that gathered for Sunday mass at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, Pope Francis preached from John 6:24-35, and said they should turn their focus away from material needs to Jesus "the bread of life."
"After the multiplication of the loaves, the people had begun to look for Jesus and they found him in Capernaum," Francis said, according to Catholic Culture. "These people followed him because of the material bread that had satisfied their hunger the day before, when Jesus had multiplied the loaves. ... They had given more value to the bread than to its provider."
It was due to this spiritual blindness that "Jesus points to the need to go beyond the gift and discover the giver," Francis explained to the thousands of pilgrims who braved the Roman summer heat. "With these words, he wants us to understand that beyond physical hunger, man has a different kind of hunger — all of us have this hunger — a hunger that is more important and that cannot be satisfied with normal food." more >>
Join Pope Francis in laughter as he struggles to keep his cap on and mantle down in the blustery winds of St. Peter's square during mass and greeting the faithful in Italy and Brazil. Enjoy these hilarious moments captured in photos.
Pontificating in the wind:
A Gallup poll has found that Pope Francis' favorability rating in the U.S. has fallen significantly from last year, and now less than half of conservatives have a favorable opinion of him. Gallup suggested that the change is due to the pope's strong messages on human responsibility in climate change and his condemnation of the world's "idolatry of money."
"This decline may be attributable to the pope's denouncing of 'the idolatry of money' and attributing climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives' beliefs," Gallup analyst Art Swift wrote on Wednesday, according to Religion News Service.
Among all Americans who responded to the survey, most, or 59 percent, still held a favorable view of the pontiff, with 16 percent holding an unfavorable view, and 25 present stating they have no opinion. The level of support is down from the last poll from February 2014, however, where Francis enjoyed 76 percent favorable ratings. more >>
Terror group ISIS is planning to send members of an all-female police force to attack Christian holy sites in Europe, a Syrian military expert has said, identifying the Vatican as one possible target of the attacks.
Fahad Al-Masri, the president of the Centre for Strategy, Military and Security Studies in Syria, shared with the MailOnline on Monday that members of the infamous Al-Khansaa Brigade are planning to disguise themselves as tourists in Europe so that they can carry out the attacks.
"This is the first time women will be used in these operations. It will be a surprise for the European authorities who look for men. Women are not as difficult as men to sneak into countries and there are many European women in the Al-Khansaa Brigade — like French and British — which makes it easier for them to get in undetected," Al-Masri said. more >>
A manager at a Burger King in Bolivia, where Pope Francis changed prior to giving an outdoor mass on Thursday, called the pontiff's brief visit "a blessing," after seeing a boost in sales at the fast-food chain.
Christian Vaca, who's the assistant manager of a Burger King in Bolivia, said Thursday that sales were up after the Argentine-born leader of the Roman Catholic church used their space as a sacristy and a location to store the chair he sat in during the mass, along with other items used during the service.
"Business has been hopping since he was here," Vaca told ABC News. "It's really a blessing." more >>