Germany's controversial "bishop of bling" Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has reportedly been handed a new job at the Vatican, where he will advise the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation on catechesis. The bishop, who spent $42 million on a luxury residence and caused an uproar for the Roman Catholic Church, was suspended by Pope Francis back in October 2013.
The National Catholic Register reported on Monday that the former bishop of Limburg is expected to begin his appointment in March. Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, had apparently informed Tebartz van Elst of the development back in December.
The bishop prompted outrage in Germany in 2013 when it was discovered that he spent over $42 million on a remodeling and building project in Limburg, including a free-standing bath, conference table and private chapel all worth millions. more >>
A number of members from the Vatican commission against sex abuse have reportedly spoken out against Pope Francis' recent comments saying that it's OK to spank children for discipline, and called on the pontiff to revise his comments.
"It might start off as a light tap, but actually the whole idea about hitting children is about inflicting pain," commission member Peter Saunders said at a press conference, The Independent reported on Sunday.
"That's what it's about and there is no place in this day and age for having physical punishment, for inflicting pain, in terms of how you discipline your children." more >>
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 >>