A group of LGBT Catholics, some of whom reject official Roman Catholic teachings on sexuality, are seeking an audience with Pope Francis to show him a video titled "Owning our Faith" that outlines their beliefs. The Vatican has refused to reveal whether such a meeting will take place, but said that even if does, it would not mean that Francis is endorsing such views.
The St. Philip Neri Parish and Northwest Paulist Center in Portland, Oregon, revealed that the video by the self-identified LGBT Catholics, led by Father Gil Martinez, is intended to be shown to Francis on Tuesday following morning Mass at the Vatican.
Catholic News Agency reported that the Vatican refused to confirm whether such a meeting would take place. A Vatican official with the Holy See Press Office explained that as of Monday, there were "no public or official meetings scheduled." more >>
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.