Pope Francis

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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 »

How the Pope Could Save This Killer on Death Row

Lidia Guerrero hopes Francis will intervene on behalf of son

(Newser) - When Lidia Guerrero met with Pope Francis in Rome last year, he told her he knew all about Guerrero's son, who has been on death row in Texas for 19 years. "I've prayed so much for that young man," she says Francis told her. The short... More »

Pope Francis: Hey, Ease Up on Remarried Catholics

They should be welcomed by the Catholic Church, he says

(Newser) - A Catholic's second marriage after divorce isn't exactly celebrated by the Vatican. But hey, the Catholic Church isn't going to excommunicate you should you choose to tie the knot a second time. That's the word from Pope Francis himself, who spoke about family values during a... 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 Makes Historic Apology for 'Serious Sins'

He 'humbly asks for forgiveness' for crimes against natives

(Newser) - The first pope from Latin America has gone further than any of his predecessors in apologizing for crimes committed in the name of the Catholic Church during the colonization of the Americas. "I say with sorrow that the church has committed many serious sins against the indigenous peoples of... More »

Pope Drinks Coca Leaf Tea

Bolivian specialty wards off altitude sickness

(Newser) - Pope Francis didn't chew coca leaves on his visit to La Paz after all, but he would still probably flunk a drug test: To ward off altitude sickness, Francis drank coca leaf tea on his flight to Bolivia from Ecuador yesterday, Reuters reports. The tea, which also contained chamomile... More »

Pope Will Nosh on a Controversial Plant

He plans to chew coca leaves while in Bolivia

(Newser) - Another entry for the pope-is-a-regular-guy files: Francis wants to sample coca leaves when he arrives in Bolivia next week, reports Reuters . "He has specifically requested that he wants to chew coca, so we will be awaiting the Holy Father with the sacred coca leaf," says the culture minister.... More »

Pope: Sometimes, Couples Should Split

Especially if the kids are in danger, he says

(Newser) - Pope Francis addressed damaging dynamics within families yesteday, saying sometimes the separation of a husband and wife may be "inevitable" or "even morally necessary" to protect the "weaker spouse or small children." Francis said some troubled spouses are able to overcome their problems and revive their... More »

Pope's Encyclical Largely Ignored at Sunday Mass

Without guides, few priests take up environmental cause

(Newser) - Many Catholics are applauding Pope Francis' environmental encyclical addressing climate change and global inequality, which made a splash around the world last week. But on the first Sunday since "Praise Be to You" was published, few priests or bishops spoke of its lessons from the pulpit, reports the New ... More »

Pope: If You Make Weapons, Don't Call Yourself Christian

He questions why the Allies didn't do more to stop the Holocaust, too

(Newser) - Some theologians wonder why God didn't stop the Holocaust; Pope Francis wants to know why the Allies didn't do more to stop it. "The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to the concentration camps, like Auschwitz, to kill the Jews, and... 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 »

Pope to Release 'Most Radical Statement Yet'

Francis expected to tell Catholics they have a duty to fight climate change

(Newser) - Pope Francis is days away from releasing what the Guardian predicts will be "his most radical statement" yet, and he says it isn't just for Catholics. Francis will be accompanied by an atheist climate scientist and a Greek Orthodox theologian, as well as a Vatican cardinal, when he... More »

Pope Creates New Court for Abuse Cover-Up Bishops

It will punish those who 'failed to protect their flock'

(Newser) - Pope Francis has taken the biggest step yet to crack down on bishops who cover up for priests who rape and molest children, creating a new tribunal inside the Vatican to hear cases of bishops accused of failing to protect their flock. The initiative has significant legal and theological implications,... More »

Pope Sounds Skeptical on Virgin Apparitions

He criticizes Christian 'novelty seekers'

(Newser) - Dealing with things like the liquefaction of dried saint's blood is all in a day's work for Pope Francis, but he doesn't sound convinced by some alleged apparitions in a Bosnian village. More than 30 million pilgrims have visited Medjugorje since children first reported seeing the Virgin... More »

Pope Francis Remembers Last Day He Watched TV

It was July 15, 1990

(Newser) - If the Vatican has a water cooler, Pope Francis is decidedly not the guy spouting off Monday morning about last night's Game of Thrones: As NBC News reports via an extensive interview with Argentina's La Voz del Pueblo , the pontiff says he hasn't watched the boob tube... More »

Pope's Newest Saints: Palestinian Nuns

Pair from Holy Land canonized in front of Mahmoud Abbas

(Newser) - Pope Francis canonized two nuns from what was 19th-century Palestine today in hopes of encouraging Christians across the Middle East who are facing a wave of persecution from Islamic extremists. Sisters Mariam Bawardy and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas were among four nuns who were made saints today. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas... More »

'Bienvenido!' Francis Welcomes Raul Castro

Pontiff helped drive warming US-Cuban relations, will visit island

(Newser) - Cuban President Raul Castro received a warm welcome at the Vatican today from Pope Francis, who played a key role in the breakthrough between Washington and Havana aimed at restoring US-Cuban diplomatic ties. "Bienvenido!" Francis said in his native Spanish, welcoming Castro in a studio near the Vatican... More »

Vatican OKs Controversial Missionary for Sainthood

Seems like Francis pushed for Junipero Serra, despite Native American complaints

(Newser) - The Vatican's saint-making office has officially given a thumbs-up for the Rev. Junipero Serra to be declared a saint—four months after Pope Francis announced he would canonize the controversial 18th-century missionary during his upcoming visit to the United States. The Vatican said today that the Congregation for the... More »

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