Joel Osteen, bestselling motivational author and evangelical pastor of America's fastest-growing megachurch, was among a small group that included Mormon Sen. Mike Lee, to meet privately with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome, this week.
Osteen said he was honored to meet with Pope Francis, who leads the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
"I like the fact that this pope is trying to make the church larger, not smaller. He's not pushing people out but making the church more inclusive. That resonated with me," Osteen told the Houston Chronicle. more >>
Pope Francis made a surprising move Thursday when he ousted all five Italian members of the Vatican's financial watchdog agency, replacing them with four new, international board members.
The pope reportedly made the move after internal conflict continued among old board members of the Holy See's Financial Information Authority [FIA]. The five former board members, all male Italians, reportedly clashed with Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who is the head of the FIA and wanted to work with more international professionals experienced in anti-money laundering work.
In a homily on Monday, the single and childless Pope encouraged married couples to not limit their love to their personal pets but to extend to having their own children.
Francis challenged married couples on Monday to resist a "culture of wellbeing" which he suggested had "convinced us it's better not to have children."
The Pope, who is 77 and single and childless, suggested that too many married couples had bought into a "the culture of wellbeing" which tells adherents to "see the world, go on holidays; you can have a house in the country and be carefree." more >>
Two Italian priests and one Canadian nun have been freed from Cameroon after they were allegedly kidnapped by the terror group Boko Haram in April.
Father Giampaolo Marta, Father Gianantonio Allegri from the Diocese of Vicenza in northeast Italy and Canadian nun Gilberte Bissiere of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame were photographed Sunday being led to the Cameroon capital of Yaoundé, where they were scheduled to meet with the country's president, Paul Biya, later that day.
The three missionaries had been working in the country's parish of Maroua, near Nigeria's border, to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and improve local drinking water when they were kidnapped on April 4. Although no group has taken responsibility for the kidnappings, the Cameroonian government has accused Boko Haram of taking the three missionaries. The group of Islamic militants has taken responsibility for multiple kidnappings in the past year, including the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls from Chibok, Nigeria, in April. more >>
Pope Francis slipped a Spanish version of the Lord's Prayer into Jerusalem's Western Wall during his visit to the Holy Land this week, according to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which published the note.
During his visit to Jerusalem this past Monday, journalists photographed Francis saying a quick prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City before slipping a note in between the stones of the wall, as is common tradition. After Francis departed from the Holy Land on Monday, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation published the contents of his note, handwritten on official papal letterhead and signed by the simple name "Francis."
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. Franciscus," the letter read, translated from its original writing in Spanish. more >>
Pope Francis said he will meet with victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic Church clergy for the first time in his papacy. A support group for victims, however, dismissed what it calls a "public relations" gesture, saying it doesn't address the real problems.
The Vatican leader said at an inflight news conference as he was returning to Rome from the Holy Land that priests abusing children is "such an ugly crime" and a "very grave problem," Catholic News Service reported.
"We must move ahead, ahead, zero tolerance," he stated, revealing that he would meet six to eight sex abuse victims from various countries, including Germany, the U.K. and Ireland. more >>