Pope Francis reportedly met a Spanish transsexual and his fiancée at the Vatican, after giving him a phone call on Christmas Day. Diego Neria Lejarraga, who was born a woman, wrote to the pontiff in December to tell him that a parish priest had called him "the devil's daughter."
AFP reported that 48-year-;/old Lejarraga met Francis on Saturday at the Vatican, after telling the pope that he had been treated as an outcast in his parish in Plasencia in western Spain. The Spanish citizen, who identifies as a Roman Catholic, has undergone sexual reassignment surgery.
"After hearing him on many occasions, I felt that he would listen to me," Lejarraga reportedly told the Spanish Holy newspaper. more >>
Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill said on Sunday that the cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo are "childish" compared to the way the newspaper has mocked and offended Christians.
"The cartoons of prophet Muhammad are childish caricatures compared to what this publication allows itself in mocking the feelings of Christians," Kirill said in a sermon.
"Today, in saying 'no' to terrorism, killings, violence, we also say 'no' to the inexplicable drive by a certain group of people to deride religious feelings." more >>
King Abdullah II of Jordan has praised Pope Francis' much-debated remarks about the limits to free speech, and insisted that religious beliefs must not be offended.
"King Abdullah made explicit reference to the words expressed by the pope on the fact that freedom of expression is a right, and in some cases even a duty, but at the same time it has limits, and cannot offend the religious beliefs of others. The monarch defined these considerations positive," said Archbishop Maroun Lahham, patriarchal vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as reported by Fides News Agency on Thursday.
Pope Francis said last week that freedom of speech must be protected, but there should be limits when it comes to causing offense to religions. more >>
Pope Francis said at the conclusion of his trip to the Philippines that he firmly stands behind the Roman Catholic Church's ban on contraceptives, but said that those who have too many children are failing to be responsible parents. The Vatican leader also spoke out against forcing the teaching of gender theory at school, comparing it to the way the Nazis indoctrinated children.
Francis backed Blessed Paul VI's stance against contraception on board the papal flight from Manila back to the Vatican, but said that "this does not mean a Christian must make children one after another," Catholic News Service reported.
The pontiff used as an example the case of a woman who became pregnant for an eighth time after having to undergo a cesarean section to give birth to her seven children. He said that such a scenario is "tempting God." more >>
A 12-year-old girl asked Pope Francis during Sunday's mass in the Philippines to explain why God allows children to suffer and experience horrible things like drugs and prostitution. Francis admitted that such a question is difficult to answer, but called on the world to offer more compassion.
"Many children are abandoned by their parents. Many children get involved in drugs and prostitution," the girl, Glyzelle Palomar, asked the pontiff, according to AFP.
"Why does God allow these things to happen to us? The children are not guilty of anything." more >>
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he disagrees with Pope Francis' comments that there are limits to free speech, regarding the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks. He added that as a Christian, he would be offended if someone insults Jesus Christ, but laws in a free society protect such expression.
"If someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive, but in a free society I don't have a right to wreak my vengeance upon them," Cameron told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
"We have to accept that newspapers, magazines can publish things that are offensive to some as long as it's within the law." more >>