Pope Francis has called on Christians everywhere to campaign to end the death penalty and life imprisonment, a goal which has been achieved in the Vatican state. Meanwhile, a recently released Gallup poll found that six in 10 Americans support capital punishment.
"It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples' lives from an unjust aggressor," Francis said Wednesday in a meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law, Catholic News Service reported.
"All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment," he said. "Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty." more >>
Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently addressed the new document approved by the Vatican regarding the church's relation to Catholic divorcees, gays and married gays, and expressed his admiration for Pope Francis during the segment.
In an interview with ABC News George Stephanopoulos Dolan concurred that the Pope's recent statements on homosexuality at this month's Synod represent an 'evolution,' not a 'revolution' within the Catholic Church.
"Pope Francis never ceases to surprise us," said Dolan to ABC News. "Just when you think you might have him figured out, he offers another fresh innovative way of looking, that talk to which you just referred at the close of the synod was nothing less than inspirational. He spoke from the heart. He spoke about himself as the Pope and the church and he challenged all of us. And it reminds me of Jesus. Always walking down the road, and never forgetting the people on either side." more >>
Pope Francis beatified the late Pope Paul VI at the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family on Sunday, describing him as a "courageous Christian" and a "tireless apostle." Paul VI, who was known for affirming the Roman Catholic Church's stance against contraception, has been credited for a miracle in California where he is said to have helped in the birth of an unborn child.
Catholic News Agency pointed out that the miracle occurred in the 1990s, where a mother asked a nun to pray for her using a photo of Pope Paul VI in response to news that her unborn child posed a danger to her life and his. After the prayers, the baby boy was born healthy.
Another requirement for beautification was fulfilled by the presentation of relics, in the form of two blood stained vests worn by Paul VI when he was attacked by a man with a bayonet in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, in 1970. more >>
Brother Guy Consolmagno, astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, has said that he finds Young Earth Creation theories that run contrary to science "almost blasphemous" in nature. He also argued that the Bible should not be used as a science book.
"It's almost blasphemous theology," Consolmagno told Fairfax Media during a visit to Australia on Wednesday.
"It's certainly not the tradition of Catholicism and never has been and it misunderstands what the Bible is and it misunderstands what science is," he said. more >>
A Catholic friend texted me this morning: "Any Baptist churches have services in Latin? Asking for a friend." I texted back, "No, but the Feast of Saint John the Baptist lasts all year long." His was a sort of gallows humor, as he watched with dismay what some are calling a "pastoral earthquake" in the Roman Catholic Church on questions of marriage and family.
We don't yet know exactly what the report means, but reports indicate that the synod is asking for a more "pastoral" and "more inclusive" approach to cohabiting couples, same-sex partners, and others, while retaining the traditional Catholic views on sexuality and the family.
Should all of this even matter to those of us who are Protestants? We do not, as Martin Luther put it, accept the authority of popes and councils "since these have often contradicted one another." And yet, there are some important questions posed here, that we should consider. more >>
Inspired by the concept of "flash mobs," an organization based in Buffalo, New York, has opted to perform "Mass Mobs" wherein large numbers of people agree to meet at a given local Catholic congregation.
Whereas a "flash mob" will do various performances or things in a random public space and then disperse, this group will surprise a given church to attend mass at their facility.