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Scattering Ashes a Big No-No, Says Vatican

Keeping an urn full of ashes isn't allowed, either

(Newser) - Keeping the cremated ashes of a loved one in an urn on your mantel is officially against the rules for Catholics. New guidelines from the Vatican state that ashes must never be scattered or kept by family members, but held in a "sacred place" like a cemetery, reports the... More »

One of Rome's Busiest Exorcists Tells of Woman Vomiting Pins

Fr. Vincenzo Taraborelli performs as many as 30 exorcisms on a given day

(Newser) - Italy is no stranger to exorcisms, with half a million Italians reportedly requesting them each year. The Independent in 2015 reported on an exorcism of an entire town, performed via helicopter. Three years prior, the Catholic diocese of Milan instituted an exorcism hotline, reported the BBC . But in the wake... More »

2 Nuns Fall in Love, Leave Church, Get Hitched

Franciscan sisters in Italy joined in civil union

(Newser) - Two former nuns were joined in a civil union in Italy on Wednesday in a ceremony coming only four months after the heavily Catholic country approved same-sex partnerships. Identified only as Isabel and Federica, they met three years ago doing charitable work with drug addicts and gradually fell in love,... More »

The 'Complex, Mysterious' Path to Sainthood of Mother Teresa

Her canonization happens Sunday

(Newser) - Agnes Bojaxhiu (known best to the world as Mother Teresa) will be canonized Sunday at the Vatican, and half a million people are expected to be present in St. Peter's Square as one of the world's most famous religious icons attains sainthood in a two-hour ceremony led by... More »

Homeless Get Day at Beach, Pizza —on the Pope

Francis is treating dozens to a taste of normalcy this summer

(Newser) - Pope Francis this summer is treating dozens of Rome's homeless to a day at the beach and dinner in a pizzeria on the way back, reports the AP . The pontiff's almsgiver, Polish monsignor Konrad Krajewski, told the La Stampa daily that he drives a van with 10 people... More »

Exorcist Director Says He Filmed Real-Life Version

'I don't think I will ever be the same'

(Newser) - "I don't think I will ever be the same having seen this astonishing thing," says William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist. No, he's not talking about the movie that terrorized you with a scene of a possessed child doing a backward spider crawl down the stairs.... More »

Vatican Officials Clash Over Sanders Visit

Academy chief claims he showed 'monumental discourtesy'

(Newser) - Bernie Sanders is planning to attend a Vatican City conference next week but at least one senior Vatican official isn't feeling the Bern: Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, tells Bloomberg that Sanders showed "monumental discourtesy" by "making the first move" and seeking... More »

Argument About Vatican Having Walls Not Quite Right

Vatican City isn't surrounded by them

(Newser) - When Pope Francis suggested Donald Trump's plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico was "not Christian," Trump's senior adviser shot back. "Amazing comments from the pope—considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls," Dan Scavino tweeted Thursday. Rush Limbaugh... More »

Why History Will Happen in Cuba's 'Threadbare' Airport

Plus more on pontiff's historic meeting in Havana with Russian Patriarch Kirill

(Newser) - Pope Francis is joining up with Patriarch Kirill in Havana on Friday, a historic event that marks the first time the head of the Roman Catholic Church is meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, notes NBC News , which outlines all the background behind this "religious rendezvous.... More »

Vatican: Bishops Need Not Report Abuse to Cops

Victims should be the ones to go to police: training document

(Newser) - Catholic bishops who suspect clerical child abuse need not report it to police. That's apparently the opinion of the Vatican, spelled out in a training document for newly appointed bishops. "According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily... More »

Pope Plans to End 1K-Year-Old Russian Rift

Francis will meet with leader of Russian Orthodox Church

(Newser) - Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in a historic step to heal the 1,000-year-old schism that divided Christianity between East and West, both churches announced Friday. The Feb. 12 meeting between Francis and Patriarch Kirill will be the first... More »

Vatican to Catholics: Stop Trying to Convert Jews

Help them fight anti-Semitism instead: new report

(Newser) - The Vatican is taking steps toward fixing its long-troubled history with the Jewish faith with the Thursday release of a 10,000-word document that instructs Catholics to help Jews fight anti-Semitism instead of trying to convert them, Reuters reports. The Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews explained that Catholicism... More »

Priest Sits in Vatican Jail Cell, Accused of Leak

An Italian laywoman was also arrested

(Newser) - In 2013, Pope Francis created a financial reform commission, one disbanded a year later having "carried out its mandate," as the New York Times puts it. Today, a Spanish priest who served on that commission sits in a Vatican City jail cell, as one of two people arrested... More »

Vatican Fires Priest Who Announced He's Gay

'I am a happy and proud gay priest'

(Newser) - "I have to say who I am," Krzysztof Charamsa told a Polish newspaper Saturday. "I am a happy and proud gay priest." Reuters reports that admission, also made to an Italian newspaper, cost the 43-year-old monsignor his position at the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine... More »

Is the Pope Facing Open Rebellion?

Conservatives say church is moving away from its 'real teachings'

(Newser) - Pope Francis' statements on everything from abortion to annulment have helped transform the public's view of the Catholic Church. As for actual changes in Church policy, there have been few. Why? The pope is "grappling with a conservative backlash to the liberal momentum building inside the church,"... More »

Vatican Envoy Accused of Sex Abuse Is Dead

Jozef Wesolowski was to be first high-ranking official tried for such crimes

(Newser) - Jozef Wesolowski will never see his day in court. The 67-year-old ex-envoy for the Vatican to the Dominican Republic, who was awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing children there, died today of apparent natural causes, the Vatican reports via the AP . His body was found in the room at... More »

Pope Embraces the Kids via Church's Tablet 2.0

Francis opts for gadget to sign himself up for World Youth Day

(Newser) - Pope Francis today opened the registration period for next year's World Youth Day in Poland, using a tablet to sign himself up from a window overlooking St. Peter's Square during the traditional Sunday blessing. The pontiff was joined by two young people as he extended an invitation to... More »

Pope's Deep Green Dive: 'Our Home' Looks Like 'Pile of Filth'

Humans' 'unethical consumerism' has spurred our current environmental 'crisis'

(Newser) - Three days after it was leaked online (amid whispers the leak may have been an inside job ), Pope Francis' long-awaited encyclical on the environment was officially released today, and he doesn't mince words in describing today's environmental issues as "one small sign of the ethical, cultural... More »

Pope Francis' Encyclical Leak: an Inside Job?

Reporter's press credentials suspended; some suspect Vatican conservatives

(Newser) - The "heinous act" of leaking the draft of Pope Francis' long-awaited environment encyclical may have been designed to steal some thunder from Thursday's official launch, Vatican observers say—and some think it may have been masterminded by Vatican insiders, the AP reports. What the news agency is calling... More »

Pope Francis Letter Leaks in 'Heinous Act'

Vatican is not pleased, reminds all that official copy comes Thursday

(Newser) - Pope Francis' long-anticipated letter on the environment has arrived three days early, at least in some fashion. A 192-page draft version of the encyclical, a rare papal "teaching letter," was posted online today by Italian magazine L'Espresso, reports the Wall Street Journal . It has confirmation of its... More »

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