Pope Francis issued a subtle jab at the transgender movement in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, where he asserted that schools need to teach children to "accept" their natural bodies as they were "created," and to appreciate their bodies as "male and female."
As the fight to allow self-identifying transgender students into bathrooms and changing areas of the opposite sex spreads to school districts across the U.K. and the United States, the pontiff spoke out against encouraging students' who choose to identify with the opposite biological gender.
Pope Francis and other Catholic bishops are praying for the release of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian priest thought to have been crucified by the Islamic State last month, in hope that radicals will be moved to change their ways.
"Dear brothers and sisters, in the hope given to us by the Risen Christ, I renew my appeal for the freeing of all kidnapped persons in armed conflict zones," the pope told the crowds in St. Peter's Square on Sunday at the Vatican.
"In particular, I wish to remember Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in Aden, Yemen last March 4," he added. more >>
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has made a number of statements backing Pope Francis' views on the dangers of global wealth and income inequality, ahead of his scheduled visit to the Vatican this week.
"The pope is right in saying all of us must address the grotesque income and wealth inequality we are seeing throughout the world," Sanders' campaign Facebook page wrote on Sunday.
"Pope Francis is right. It is a tragedy that so many men, women and children in this world are suffering. They are suffering because of social, environmental and economic injustice, and I look forward to addressing these issues when I visit Vatican City next week," another statement from Sanders read. more >>
Pope Francis has announced that later in April he will visit the Greek island of Lesbos, which some have described as a "warzone," in order to highlight his love and support for refugees fleeing war and persecution.
"It's very clear that the pope recognizes that there is a significant emergency going on," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, according to Reuters.
"Just as he went to Lampedusa, which was then the front line of the Mediterranean route, now that there is this difficult, dramatic situation on the Aegean front, he naturally wants to be present to show a sense of solidarity and responsibility." more >>
Pope Francis has asked Pakistani authorities to do more to protect Christians after a terror attack on Easter Sunday killed at least 70 in Lahore.
Speaking from St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Monday, Francis called on Pakistan's "civil authorities and all community leaders … to do everything possible to ensure the security and serenity of the population, particularly the most vulnerable religious minorities," the Catholic News Agency reports.
Francis added that the attack has "bloodied" the Easter season, meant to be a time of celebration and hope as Christ was resurrected from the dead. more >>
The Rev. Franklin Graham is responding to the news that Islamic terrorists killed 70 Pakistani Christians, mostly women and children, on Easter Sunday in Lahore by stating that the world will not bow down to Islam; but instead "every knee" will bow to Jesus.
"As Christians we know that when death comes to someone who has trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, we are ushered into the presence of our Heavenly Father and will live for eternity in His presence. The grave has no hold on the believer," Graham said in a Facebook message.
Graham, who leads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, noted that Islamic terrorists have taken responsibility for the suicide bomb attack, with the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, which splintered from the Taliban, revealing that it specifically targeted Christians. more >>