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Kim Jong Un to Pope: Come Visit Me in North Korea

A visit is considered 'highly unlikely,' though S. Korea's Moon Jae-in will still deliver the invite

(Newser) - Moon Jae-in will visit the Vatican next week, and the South Korean leader will go bearing a special invite for Pope Francis. The New York Times reports Moon will serve as the messenger for Kim Jong Un, who's requesting that the pontiff pay him a visit in North Korea.... More »

Pope Makes Big Doctrine Change on an 'Inhuman Recourse'

Francis says death penalty is always 'inadmissible'

(Newser) - Pope Francis has changed church teaching about the death penalty, saying in a new policy published Thursday it's always "inadmissible" because it "attacks" the inherent dignity of all humans. The Vatican says Francis has approved a change to the Catechism of the Catholic Church , the compilation of... More »

A Martyr's Bone Was Plucked From the Sea, Then the Trash

Bone fragment said to be that of St. Clement handed over to Westminster Cathedral

(Newser) - St. Clement was said to have been put to death by being tied to a boat anchor and drowned. Just shy of 2,000 years later, what's believed to be a piece of one of his bones has been presented to Westminster Cathedral. The path from there to here... More »

Gay Abuse Victim Spoke to Pope. Francis' Words Were 'Forceful'

Juan Carlos Cruz said Francis told him: 'God made you like this and loves you like this'

(Newser) - While religious conservatives have long argued being gay is a choice and even a "disorder," Pope Francis has been known to push back on those arguments, most famously with his 2013 statement : "Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?" Now... More »

Teens Help Crack Vatican's Secret Archives

In Codice Ratio aims to put it all online

(Newser) - Wish you could access the Vatican's Secret Archives online? Sorry, it's not there—but a new project combining artificial intelligence with optical-character-recognition (OCR) could change that, the Atlantic reports. Called In Codice Ratio , it aims to scan the archives' 53 miles of shelved material dating back some 1,... More »

On Francis' 5th Anniversary, Ex-Pope Sticks Up for Pontiff

Benedict XVI says it's 'foolish prejudice' to say dogma under Francis is 'adrift'

(Newser) - Pope Francis marked his fifth anniversary as pope Tuesday by receiving votes of confidence from his predecessor and from the current Vatican No. 2—as well as faithful around the globe—seeking to rebut criticism about his reform-minded papacy and encouraging him to push the envelope even further, per the... More »

Pope's New Year's Message: Dump Life's 'Useless Baggage'

Francis also told congregants: 'Do not extinguish' hopes of migrants, refugees

(Newser) - Jan. 1 isn't just New Year's Day for the Roman Catholic Church. It's also the World Day of Peace , and Pope Francis used the occasion Monday to remind 40,000 congregants at St. Peter's Square about the plight of one of the world's "weakest... More »

Pope: Deliver Us From Bad Translation of Lord's Prayer

Francis wants to reword 'lead us not into temptation' line

(Newser) - The concept of temptation, and avoiding it, is something all Roman Catholics are made to confront throughout their liturgical lives. But Pope Francis is now saying if you feel that irresistible pull toward that which you shouldn't do, don't blame God for it. Specifically, per Reuters , the pontiff... More »

Pope Francis Rips 'Very Ugly Thing' He Sees at Mass

Specifically, worshippers with their cellphones

(Newser) - When the priest says "lift up your hearts" during Mass, you'd better put your cellphone down while you do it. That was Pope Francis' message Wednesday during his weekly address in St. Peter's Square, calling it a "very ugly thing" to see worshippers—even other men... More »

Pope: Female Psychotherapist Helped 'Clarify Some Things'

Francis saw her when he was 42, back when he was just plain old Jorge Bergoglio

(Newser) - Pope Francis says that when he was 42 he had sessions weekly with a psychoanalyst who was female and Jewish to "clarify some things." It wasn't specified what the future pontiff wanted to explore, the AP notes. The revelation came in a dozen conversations Francis had with... More »

What Pope Francis Said in His Surprise TED Talk

Francis told the powerful they need to act humbly

(Newser) - Pope Francis had a message for the powerful in an unexpected talk aired at the TED conference Tuesday. "The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly," he said, per Reuters . The 18-minute talk,... More »

John Paul Letters Show 'Intense' Friendship With Married Woman

32-year correspondence includes 'deeply personal' notes, pics

(Newser) - Photos and more than 350 "intense" letters from Pope John Paul II to a married woman he corresponded with for more than three decades have been found at the National Library of Poland, Deutsche Welle reports, via a BBC documentary. The notes and images—often showing the pontiff, who... More »

Family Celebrates Baby's Recovery After Pope's Kiss

Gianna's tumor appears to be shrinking

(Newser) - Baby Gianna Masciantonio developed a rare brain tumor just weeks after her birth last year when her red blood cells attacked her brain stem. After multiple chemotherapy treatments, an August brain scan revealed that the tumor was still there, and parents Joey and Kristen Masciantonio decided to do one more... More »

Pope on Emissions: 'Catastrophic' If Special Interests Butt In

Francis spoke at African UN headquarters in Nairobi on fossil fuels

(Newser) - Pope Francis warned Thursday it would be "catastrophic" if special interests get in the way of a global agreement to curb the fossil fuel emissions blamed for global warming at a climate change meeting next week in Paris. In a speech at African UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, Francis... More »

Pope: Europe Is 'Elderly and Haggard'

Francis warns EU that it risks 'losing its own soul'

(Newser) - Pope Francis has been rather nice to gays and atheists , but Europe, look out. The Wall Street Journal reports that the pope took Europe to task today during a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, calling the continent "elderly and haggard" and "no longer fertile and... More »

John Paul II's Impending Sainthood Is Wrong

Maureen Dowd: He led the church during its pedophilia scandal

(Newser) - John Paul II accomplished great things as pope, but the Vatican is making a mistake in canonizing him as a saint this weekend, writes Maureen Dowd in the New York Times . The reason is simple and obvious: He "presided over the Catholic Church during nearly three decades of a... More »

In 7 Months, It'll Be 'Saint John Paul II'

John XXIII also set for sainthood in first double canonization

(Newser) - It's official: Pope John Paul II will be declared a saint on April 27, 2014—as will Pope John XXIII, pontiff from 1958-1963, in the Catholic Church's first-ever double canonization. Pope Francis, who will lead the ceremony, announced the date at a meeting with cardinals today, the AP... More »

OK, Pope Francis, Time to be CEO Now

Francis can't just ignore the rot at the Vatican Bank, David Alvarez argues

(Newser) - Pope Francis is a media darling, which is great for the Catholic Church, because otherwise reporters might look at things like the Vatican Bank instead. The bank's director and deputy director resigned July 1 amidst a criminal probe, after a priest was arrested for allegedly illegally moving $27 million... More »

Hot Twitter Account Is ... in Latin

Pope's Latin Twitter account is surprisingly popular

(Newser) - Latin may be a dead language, but it's very much alive on Twitter, thanks to an unexpectedly social-media-savvy old man: the pope. Pope Francis' Latin language Twitter account began under the auspices of Pope Benedict in January (it is the official language of the Holy See, after all), and... More »

Pope: I Stay in Hotel for My 'Psychiatric' Health

Francis gets frank in talk with students

(Newser) - Pope Francis has revealed that he never wanted to be pope and that he's living in the Vatican hotel for his "psychiatric" health. Francis got very personal today as he met with thousands of children from Jesuit schools across Italy and Albania. Answering their questions one by one,... More »

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