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 >>
Pope Francis described as "frightful" the fate of aborted children and lamented the "throwaway culture" of the world where even human beings are discarded, in a strong message to diplomats on Monday.
In his message to the Vatican diplomats, Francis stressed that peace is threatened by the denial of human dignity, whether it's in the form of ignoring hungry children or aborting or selling them.
"It is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity," the Vatican leader told more than 180 ambassadors at the Holy See. more >>
The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear oral arguments challenging a 2007 Massachusetts law that prohibits pro-life advocates from approaching abortion clinic workers and potential clients past a regulated "buffer zone."
Currently, pro-life advocates are barred from standing within 35 feet of the front door of abortion clinics in Massachusetts. Outside some abortion facilities in the state, a painted yellow line clearly marks the parameters allocated for protesters who face potential arrest if they cross that barrier.
In the case, McCullen v. Coakley, the Court is being asked to decide whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit was right in upholding the state's law that makes it a crime for pro-life advocates to "enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk" within 35 feet of an entrance, exit or driveway to an abortion facility. more >>
Pope Francis got hit with both praise and criticism this past weekend for baptizing the child of parents considered "unmarried" by the Catholic Church and encouraging mothers to breastfeed in the Sistine Chapel.
Among the 32 babies baptized in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Francis on Sunday was 7-month-old Giulia Scardia, according to a Reuters report.
Little Giulia's parents were not married in a traditional church service but a civil service in a town hall. That type of marriage is traditionally not recognized by the Catholic Church. more >>
Pope Francis reflected on the priesthood Saturday, stressing that a true priest, who has been anointed by God for His people, will surely have a close, living relationship with Jesus Christ, without which the priest will have nothing to offer.
The pope encouraged priests to ask themselves some basic questions. "What is the place of Jesus Christ in my priestly life? Is it a living relationship, from the disciple to the Master, from brother to brother, from the poor man to God, or is it a somewhat artificial relationship... that does not come from the heart?" the Vatican Radio quoted Francis as saying in his homily at Casa Santa Marta on Saturday.
"We are anointed by the Spirit, and when a priest is far from Jesus Christ he can lose this unction. In his life, no: essentially he has it... but he loses it. And instead of being anointed he ends up being smarmy," the pope added. more >>
Asia Noreen Bibi, the first Pakistani woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010, thanked Pope Francis and all the churches praying for her and credited them with her survival after four-and-a-half years in prison.
"I am very grateful to all the churches that are praying for me and fighting for my freedom. If I am still alive, it is thanks to the strength that your prayers give me," Bibi wrote in a Christmas letter to Pope Francis. While Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010, the verdict must be upheld by a superior court, and many petitions have protested her imprisonment.
Bibi lamented the fact that, while many people have spoken and fought for her, it is "to no avail." Even though she is still in prison, she said, "I just want to trust the mercy of God, who can do everything, that all is possible." Bibi wrote that in her dire situation, "Only God will be able to free me." more >>