Pope Francis has written a letter to a juvenile gang member jailed in Los Angeles, California, asking that the young man pray for him.
The pope responded to a letter written by Carlos Adrian Vazquez Jr., who, at age 16, received a prison sentence of 11 years for involuntary manslaughter due to his involvement in a Los Angeles gang.
The Catholic Church doesn't need the "blood money" of benefactors, but rather faithful Christians seeking Jesus' mercy, Pope Francis said in an address this week.
While speaking to the General Audience at the Vatican, the pontiff said that the Catholic Church will not accept money from donors who have earned their profits through immoral means, including underpaid labor practices.
"Some donors come to the Church offering profits from the blood of people who have been exploited, mistreated, enslaved with badly paid work," Francis told the audience, adding the "People of God don`t need their dirty money." more >>
The 88th Academy Awards reached all the way to the Vatican Sunday night as the cast of the film "Spotlight" publicly called on Pope Francis to ensure priests who sexually abused children are prosecuted for their crimes.
The film, which unexpectedly won the best picture award, is about the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into Catholic priests sexually abusing children in the United States.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, a top official in the Roman Catholic Church, admitted in a sex abuse inquiry in Rome Monday that some allegations of abuse against children were dismissed in an "absolutely scandalous" manner by clergy.
Pell, who is the Vatican's finance chief, admitted that there was a strong tendency during the 1970s to dismiss allegations of abuse against children, as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse looked at cases stretching back decades.
Pell, the former archbishop of Sydney, said in his testimony that many allegations "certainly were dismissed and sometimes they were dismissed in absolutely scandalous circumstances." more >>
"Spotlight," the movie about the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of Catholic priest sex abuse of children, won Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday night, with producer Michael Sugar calling on Pope Francis to focus the Vatican's efforts on protecting children.
"This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," Sugar said onstage, alongside cast and crew of the movie. "Pope Francis, it is time to protect the children and restore the faith."
The drama showcases the widespread pattern of abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston, which shook the Catholic Church in America and led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in December 2003. more >>
The Vatican minister of foreign affairs has said Vatican envoys in Iraq and Syria are risking their lives amid bombings and terror threats to help people and find a way to end what Pope Francis has called a "piecemeal" World War III.
"Let's not be kidding ourselves about what the stakes are here: If we are going to bring peace, if we are going to reconcile nations, if we are going to secure countries and communities, particularly minorities, particularly people who are persecuted, we are going to have to make an unprecedented effort," Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher told Catholic News Service last week.
Gallagher noted that IS, which has captured vast territory in Iraq and Syria, has persecuted Christians and other minorities, driving out tens of thousands of believers from their homelands. Still, the Archbishop remained hopeful that negotiations will help resolve the conflicts in the region. more >>