Pope Francis addressed concerns that he may be assassinated on Tuesday by members of ISIS or other organizations making threats against him.
"Life is in God's hands," Francis said in an interview with La Carcova News. "But if it is your will that I die or something happens to me, I ask you only one favor: that it doesn't hurt. Because I am a real wimp when it comes to physical pain."
Francis is no stranger to being threatened by radical groups such as ISIS that call him the "bearer of false truth." The rumor of a potential bomb threat was testified to by former Special Action Force commander Getulio Napenas. The bomb was reportedly set by the Jemaah Islamiya, a Southeast Asian Jihadist organization, but the Vatican denied such an accusation. more >>
The inspector general of the Vatican's police force has confirmed that terror group ISIS has threatened Pope Francis, but said he's not aware of any specific plans to carry out an attack. Francis has, meanwhile, condemned the "intolerable brutality" of the militants.
"The threat exists. This is what has emerged from my conversations with Italian and foreign colleagues," said Domenico Giani, inspector general of the Corpo della Gendarmeria, Vatican City's state police force.
"At the moment, I can say that we know of no plan for an attack against the Vatican or the Holy Father." more >>
The Vatican gave VIP seats for a Pope Francis speech to an LGBT Catholic group from the United States that describes itself as "gay-positive" on Wednesday, reportedly the first time it has granted such a request.
"Pope Francis gives me hope," Sister Jeannine Gramick, co-founder of New Ways Ministry, told The Associated Press. "To me, this is an example of the kind of willingness he has to welcome those on the fringes of the church back to the center of the church."
Francis DeBernardo, the group's executive director, said that the group had tried under the previous two popes to get VIP seats during its pilgrimages to Rome, but the requests had not been granted. more >>
Pope Francis has come out and officially condemned the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians by terrorist organization ISIS on Tuesday.
"Be they Catholics, Orthodox, Copts, or Lutherans, it does not matter. They are Christians, their blood is the same, their blood confesses [their faith in] Christ," Francis said in a statement. "Today I read about the execution of those 21 or 22 Coptic Christians," he added. "Their only words were, 'Jesus, help me!' They were executed for nothing more than the fact that they were Christian. The blood of our Christian sisters and brothers is testimony that cries out."
ISIS released the video of the beheadings on Sunday, showing the 21 Christians who had been kidnapped in December and January. Egypt responded by bombing the group's camps in Libya and promised to eliminate ISIS' presence in the Middle East. more >>
HBO host Bill Maher has pointed out that Pope Francis has given his full backing for action on climate change that some claim would reduce the so-called negative human impact on the environment. The outspoken atheist has subsequently asked why former Pennsylvania Senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a Roman Catholic, has not followed suit.
In a blog post for his "Real Time" show, Maher said "we've got the pope on board," concerning climate change action.
Pope Francis has said that making the choice to not have children is "selfish." The pontiff made the comments at a gathering at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, and said that societies that have low birth rates are "depressed."
"If a generous family of children is viewed as if it were a burden, there is something wrong! As the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VI teaches, but having more children cannot be automatically viewed as an irresponsible choice," Francis told the audience, according to Vatican Radio.
"The choice to not have children is selfish. Life rejuvenates and acquires energy when it multiplies: It is enriched, not impoverished! Children learn to take charge of their family, they mature in the sharing of sacrifices, and they grow in appreciation of its gifts." more >>