Pope Francis, the newly elected leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has been greeted by a wide array of media responses, and while many have focused on his record with social work, his stance on gay marriage and abortion has divided opinions.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, had served as the cardinal of Buenos Aires, Argentina, since 1998 before he was elected Wednesday to succeed the retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He chose to be named after St. Francis of Assisi, the Catholic saint known as an early church reformer.
Many news websites have focused their coverage of Pope Francis on his social work with the poor – NBC News described him as prizing "compassion, humility and simplicity," reminding readers that back home in Buenos Aires he takes the bus to work instead of using the services of a private chauffeur. As a member of the Jesuit Society of Jesus, he has taken a vow of poverty and dedicated his life to working with the poor and suffering. more >>
Pope Francis I should be a strong defender of persecuted religious believers of all faiths. The world is in dire need of such leadership.
Religious persecution is the gravest human-rights abuse of our day, both in its global reach and the numbers affected and in its implications for regional stability and world peace. When Congress enacted and President Clinton signed into law the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998, the United States became a world leader in the defense of religious freedom, with the high point of American leadership being a negotiated end to a religious conflict in South Sudan that had taken some 2 million lives. But it is a world leader no more. Washington has abdicated that role even as religious repression is intensifying internationally.
Ongoing religious persecution should be a major concern of the Catholic Church. In sheer numbers, Christians are the most persecuted religious group, suffering under the remaining militantly secular Communist regimes, under Islamist regimes, and under some nationalist regimes. And these persecutors of Christians typically persecute other religious minorities as well. more >>
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina will be the new pope with the name Pope Francis. One hundred and fifteen cardinals locked away in the Sistine Chapel announced to the world Wednesday that a new pope had been selected when thick white smoke could be seen billowing out from the chapel's chimney. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was selected and took the name Francis.
He is the first pope elected from Argentina and was the runner up to Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is revered for being a man of the people and for his continued commitment to social justice. He chose to live in a small apartment, rather than in the luxurious bishop's residence, and is still seen using public transportation.
As the cardinals entered the second night of the conclave, many were not expecting a decision so soon, given that there was no clear front runner going into the papal elections. more >>
British atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has emerged as a contender among a leading Irish bookmaker's list of candidates to replace a retired Benedict XVI as pope and leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, which a religion and pop culture expert believes could be a sign of discontent among the Catholic faithful.
Dawkins, philanthropist and Irish singer Bono of U2 (who was raised Catholic) and the Father Dougal McGuire character of the old Irish sitcom "Father Ted" are among the 72 bets for the next pope being offered on PaddyPower.com. On Tuesday evening, after the first meeting of the papal conclave, the odds were Dawkins at 666-1 and both Bono and the decidedly dense Father Maguire at 1000-1 odds.
Among the serious contenders on Paddy Power with the best odds were Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, Archbishop Angelo Scola of Italy and Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Brazil. Benedict XVI, who became the first pope in 600 years to retire, fulfilled his final duties as pontiff on Feb. 28. more >>
Catholic cardinals gathered Tuesday before they retired behind the closed doors of the Sistine Chapel. The process of selecting who will lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics took place, with black smoke indicating that they have not yet selected the new Pope.
Because the cardinals could not come to an agreement Tuesday, puffs of black smoke were seen from the chapel's chimney- the black smoke signaled a failed vote, and eventually, white smoke will signal that a pope has been chosen. All of the cardinal's ballots are destroyed to maintain the integrity of the conclave.
Italy has the largest portion of cardinals within the conclave with 28. The United States is second with 11 in the College of Cardinals. For this conclave, there are 48 countries represented, which is among the most diverse in history. more >>
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said he is trying to get in touch with cardinals at the Vatican in order to secure a meeting with the next person chosen to fill the seat made vacant by Pope Benedict XVI.
In what many will describe as another strange move by the controversial sports star, Rodman told TMZ that "his people" are in Rome trying to speak with officials from the Vatican to arrange a future meeting with the next pope. Rodman himself is expected to arrive in Rome on Tuesday.
"I want to be anywhere in the world that I'm needed ... I want to spread a message of peace and love throughout the world," Rodman said about his purpose in trying to speak with the next man to be elected as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. more >>