Pope Francis has said that leaving migrants to die in the Mediterranean sea, such as the fate of thousands in the past few years, is similar to the "scourge" of abortion and euthanasia. The pontiff spoke out at a meeting of the Italian Science and Life Association, where he warned against several "attacks against life."
"The scourge of abortion is an attack on life. Leaving our brothers on the boats in the Sicilian channel is an attack on life. Death at work is an attack on life because it does not respect the minimal security conditions," Francis said, according to an article on LifeNews on Monday.
"The love of Christ urges us to become servants of the small ones and the elderly, of every man and every woman, through which the primordial right to life is recognized and protected." more >>
Pope Francis has said that it's the devil himself who keeps evangelicals, Catholics, and Christians from other denominations divided, and rejected the notion that it's heretical to believe that all Christians are one.
"Division is the work of the 'Father of Lies,' 'the Father of Discord,' who does everything possible to keep us divided," Francis said in a video message to a gathering sponsored by the John 17 Movement, according to Catholic Herald.
"I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps," he added. "But there is someone who 'knows' that, despite our differences, we are one. It is he who is persecuting us. It is he who is persecuting Christians today, he who is anointing us with (the blood of) martyrdom." more >>
The Vatican officially recognized the Palestinian state in a new treaty Wednesday. Israel expressed "disappointment" and accused the Catholic Church of hurting peace prospects in the region.
"Yes, it's a recognition that the state exists," the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters, according to The Associated Press.
The treaty concerns the Catholic Church's activities in that territory and both parties are expected to sign it soon. more >>
Cuban President Raul Castro has suggested that a meeting with Pope Francis has inspired him to "resume praying" and return to the Roman Catholic faith.
"I will resume praying and turn to the Church again if the Pope continues in this vein," Castro said after a 50-minute private audience with Francis at the Vatican on Sunday.
Following the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, a great deal of Catholic activity was suppressed in the country, with the government viewing the Vatican as part of the world capitalist system it opposed. more >>
Pope Francis has said that Roman Catholic priests can begin pardoning women who've had abortions and doctors who have performed the procedure starting in 2016, changing long-standing Catholic practice. The Vatican insisted, however, that it continues to look at abortion as a sin.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation, announced Francis' decision earlier this week, and said: "The missionaries of mercy are priests sent out by the Holy Father at the beginning of Lent. The Pope is sending them out [to dioceses and parishes] as a tangible sign of how a priest should be a man of pardon, close to everyone ..."
The Irish Times pointed out that Catholic tradition only allows bishops or the pope himself to absolve women of having an abortion, which is a sin that leads to excommunication from the Church. more >>
A study on Twitter accounts of world leaders has determined that Pope Francis is the most influential user by the rate of his average retweets and favorites, which is eight times higher than U.S. President Barack Obama.
"Pope Francis @Pontifex is by far the most influential tweep with 9,929 retweets for every tweet he sends on his Spanish account and 7,527 retweets on average on his English account," the Twiplomacy study revealed.
Obama was found to have the most Twitter followers, with close to 57 million people following his account, while Francis' combined Twitter accounts in various languages have a little over 19.5 million in total. more >>