Pope Francis revealed that he goes to confession every two weeks because priests, bishops and even the pope are sinners who need forgiveness, just like everyone else.
"Certainly, God forgives every repentant sinner, but the Christian is bound to Christ and Christ is united to his church," the pope told the general audience at St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, according to Catholic News Service. "God, in his sovereign mercy, forgives everyone, but he wanted those who belong to Christ and his church to receive forgiveness through the community's ministers."
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church added that God never tires of forgiving those who repent, and argued that it is "better to turn red once than yellow a thousand times," encouraging people to confess their sins to a priest as a way to spiritual healing. more >>
A former Roman Catholic priest who left the church and got married has described the celibacy requirement for priests as "self-destructive," an argument which Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called "pure rubbish."
"Why Thomas Groome would enter the priesthood counting on the Catholic Church to change its teaching on celibacy suggests bad judgment: no one would join a vegetarian association hoping it would soon allow for the consumption of hot dogs," Donohue told The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"In any event, I am delighted he found happiness when he married, but his notions about celibacy causing self-destructive behavior are pure rubbish. Indeed, self-destructive behavior is what marks Hollywood, not exactly a bastion of celibacy." more >>
As the Christmas season approaches and a host of holiday-themed movies line up for release, "The Christmas Candle," based on the novel by Max Lucado, brings the Christmas miracle to the big screen through the story of an enchanting English village harboring a centuries-old legend, and a progressive pastor struggling with the nature of faith.
The movie, based on the 2006 novel of the same name, features a stellar cast with Hans Matheson (Clash of the Titans, Sherlock Holmes), Samantha Barks (Les Miserables), Sylvester McCoy (The Hobbit), James Cosmo (Braveheart, The Chronicles of Narnia), as well as the on-screen debut of Susan Boyle.
The story takes place in a fictional village deep in the heart of the English countryside in 1890, which for centuries has witnessed a Christmas miracle with an angel who visits a candlemaker family every 25 years and touches a candle, which grants a single miracle on Christmas Eve. more >>
Pope Francis warned against the "spirit of curiosity" when attempting to find God and religious messages in outside forces, or trying to predict when Jesus Christ will return, reminding believers that the "The Kingdom of God is among you."
"When we want to be the masters of the projects of God, of the future, of things, to know everything, to have everything in hand … the Pharisees asked Jesus, 'When will the Kingdom of God come?' Curious! They wanted to know the date, the day… The spirit of curiosity distances us from the Spirit of wisdom because all that interests us is the details, the news, the little stories of the day," Francis said in his Thursday homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta.
Such a spirit, he warned, brings about dispersion and distances people from God. The Vatican leader further noted that Jesus himself warned against a worldly spirit of curiosity, as it causes confusion and impels people to want to feel that God is "here or there." more >>
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, the newly elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the church should follow the example Pope Francis has set on how to effectively reach out to people.
"We need to reach out, not, as the Holy Father said so well, (first) with rules and regulations – which are appropriate if you're going to present a child for baptism – but it should not be the first step. We should be reaching out as the first step," Archbishop Kurtz, 67, said in an interview with Catholic News Service following his election on Tuesday.
He was born in in Mahanoy City, Pa., and brought up in the coal regions of northeastern Pennsylvania, and has spent most of his priesthood as a social worker. He served as a bishop in Knoxville, Tenn., from 1999 to 2007, after which he was appointed archbishop of Louisville. more >>
Pope Francis tackled a number of big theological issues in a sermon on Sunday at the Vatican, including the denial of the resurrection, and the question of whether people will be married in heaven.
Speaking about the Sadducees, a Jewish sect from the time of Jesus, Pope Francis noted that they attempted to ridicule the belief in resurrection when they asked Jesus who will a woman be married to in heaven if she has had seven husbands on earth who died one after the other.
"Jesus explains that life after death has different parameters from our life on earth: eternal life is a different life, in a different dimension where, among other things, matrimony will no longer exist," the Roman Catholic Church leader said, according to Vatican Radio. "The risen, Jesus says, will be like angels, and they will live in a different state of being, which we cannot achieve or even imagine right now." more >>