In March a dramatic, first-time meeting will take place between the two most visible and powerful men in the world. Both leaders influence hundreds of millions-maybe billions-of individuals on the planet.
Although it will be a carefully planned and private time in the Vatican, let's indulge ourselves in an imaginative dialogue wherein Pope Francis follows our "Here's the Deal" approach and respectfully petitions President Obama on seven issues. Lean in and look carefully at an imaginary document the pope might prepare for his interaction with our president.
Preliminary Remarks Explain that our current civilizational decline and escalating global conflicts underscore the urgency of the hour and necessity of honest dialogue. We must not be content with mere pleasantries and superficial discussion. more >>
Pope Francis said in a papal statement Thursday that the Internet is a "gift from God" that brings humanity closer together, thus promoting universal solidarity.
"A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive," Francis said in the papal statement released Thursday. "Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity."
The Rev. Fernando Sebastián, a Spanish cardinal newly appointed by Pope Francis, has called homosexuality a "defect" from which people can recover, and further clarified the pope's view on the controversial subject.
"Homosexuality is a defective manner of expressing sexuality, because this (sex) has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation," said 85-year-old Sebastián, who is set to take up office at the Vatican in February, according to local Spanish newspaper Diario Sur.
"A homosexual who can't achieve this (procreation) is failing." more >>
Documents released by the Associated Press suggest that from 2011 to 2012 Pope Benedict worked to defrock nearly 400 priests on claims that the men molested children - news that comes in the aftermath of the U.N.'s harsh critique of the Catholic Church's handling of the global sex abuse scandal on Thursday.
The reports also demonstrate a shift in the Church's approach towards handling sex abuse cases, which historically were dealt with by switching the parish where the priest served, rather than involving local law enforcement or Vatican tribunals.
But in 2001, former Pope Benedict, then a cardinal, mandated that accused priests be put on trial in church tribunals, with a maximum penalty of being defrocked. more >>
President Barack Obama is "looking forward" to meeting in the near future with Pope Francis, a White House spokesman confirmed after Secretary of State John Kerry hinted at the possibility.
"I do not have any more details for you on that – timing or location – except to say that the president very much looks forward to a meeting," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a briefing on Tuesday, according to Reuters. He added that the U.S. president is "certainly aware of and paying attention to the work being done by the pope and the Vatican."
The White House confirmation followed a remark by Kerry during his visit to the Vatican on Tuesday to discuss Middle East peace efforts with Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin. more >>
A Roman Catholic Archdiocese plans to release its files on priests under its jurisdiction reported to have committed sexual abuse.
In a January edition of the Chicago Archdiocese's newspaper Catholic New World, Cardinal Francis George wrote that the files on 30 priests will be released as part of a legal settlement.
"All these incidents were reported over the years to the civil authorities and claims have been mediated civilly. Almost all of the incidents happened decades ago, perpetrated by priests whom neither I nor many younger clergy have ever met or talked to," wrote George. "Nevertheless, the publication puts the actions of these men and the archdiocese itself in the spotlight. Painful though publicly reviewing the past can be, it is part of the accountability and transparency to which the archdiocese is committed." more >>