For the first time in history, the leader of the Orthodox Church will be attending the installation of a pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will be present for the installation mass for Pope Francis on Tuesday. This is the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch has been present for this Catholic mass since the Great Schism of 1054, when the Eastern and Western Church cut ties with one another.
In an interview with a television network in Istanbul, Turkey, Bartholomew explained that the decision to attend was a gesture to showcase improving relations between the two Ancient Churches. more >>
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires who became the first Latin American pope in Catholic history, told the media late last week that he chose the name "Francis" after St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Order of Franciscans, a rich man who took an oath to poverty and became a voice for the poor.
According to the 266th Bishop of Rome, changing his name to "Francis" came as a way to symbolize the need for the Church to be "of the poor, for the poor."
Pope Francis spoke about the election process last week and that a Brazilian cardinal who was a friend of his inspired his decision. more >>
Survivors of child sexual abuse who have been urging the Roman Catholic Church to start taking real steps to tackle the problem believe that newly elected Pope Francis provides "a glimmer of hope" that things can change for the better.
"Certainly, Francis is a man who loved to teach and was meek and understanding of the plight of the downtrodden and the marginalized in our society," said Mark Crawford, a member of SNAP, a network for survivors of clergy abuse, according to ABC News. "That's why I have this one glimmer of hopeful expectation. But he has to be assertive and aggressive."
But Crawford, 51, remains cautious, knowing any change would not come easy. more >>
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) congratulated Pope Francis for being elected the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church and said it hopes to continue positive dialogue together.
The Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of WEA, which represents more than 600 million evangelical Christians, extended his "warmest congratulations" to the newly elected Pope and affirmed his prayers for the new leader, who will head the Catholic Church "at a time filled with great challenges but also a time of great possibilities...," in a statement released Thursday.
"We look forward to building on some of the good work we have done together in the past, such as the collaboration for the document Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct," said Tunnicliffe. more >>
The bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) shared on Thursday that Pope Francis, the new Roman Catholic Church head, has ties to the Lutheran Church.
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of ELCA, said in a statement that he is "encouraged that Pope Francis has worked with Lutherans in Argentina."
"His choice of the name Francis is a strong sign of his commitment to a life of prayer, simplicity, humility and solidarity with those who live on the margins of society. May the gifts of the Holy Spirit sustain him as we enter this holy calling," Hanson said. more >>
As Pope Francis began his first full day as leader of the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday, Desiring God founder, John Piper, attempted to clarify a controversial statement he made in 2009 about heresy in Roman Catholic theology.
During the reign of Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, Piper was asked on video if he had two minutes to question the Pope on an issue, what would he ask, and he chose the subject of justification.
"I think Rome and Protestantism are not yet ready – I don't think the Reformation is over. I don't think that enough change has happened in Roman understanding of justification, and a bunch of other things," he said in the video. more >>