Pope Francis

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Pope Francis Makes It Easier to Forgive Abortion

All priests can now absolve the 'grave sin'

(Newser) - Pope Francis temporarily gave Roman Catholic priests the power to forgive abortion during the Church's "Holy Year of Mercy," which ended Sunday. In a letter released Monday, however, the pope "extended" the right to priests, suggesting it would last at least until the end of his... More »

Pope Francis Gives Definitive Answer on Female Priests

And it's not what a lot of people were hoping for

(Newser) - Pope Francis says the Roman Catholic Church will never, ever have female priests. Reuters reports Francis offered "some of his most definitive remarks on the issue" during a flight back from Sweden, where he had met with the female head of the Lutheran Church. "St. Pope John Paul... More »

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 »

Francis Names 17 Cardinals; 13 Can Vote on His Successor

3 of them are Americans, including one banished from Vatican by Benedict

(Newser) - Pope Francis named 17 new cardinals Sunday—13 of them under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect his successor. Three of the new cardinals are Americans, including leading US moderate Chicago Archbishop Blaise Cupich and Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin. As is Francis' tradition, the... More »

Priest Murdered by ISIS Already on Path to Sainthood

Jacques Hamel was murdered in his church in France

(Newser) - An 85-year-old French priest murdered in his own church by Islamic militants in July is already being prepped for sainthood, Reuters reports. Speaking during a Mass Wednesday at the Vatican, Pope Francis called Jacques Hamel a "good, humble man" and a martyr. "He gave his life for us... More »

Mother Teresa Is Now Saint Teresa

Pope canonizes nun from Kolkata

(Newser) - Pope Francis declared Mother Teresa a saint on Sunday, honoring the tiny nun for having taken in society's most unwanted and for having shamed world leaders for the "crimes of poverty they themselves created." Francis held up Mother Teresa as the model for a Catholic Church that... 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 »

Pope Prays in Saint's Former Cell at Auschwitz

He entered on foot, made a silent visit

(Newser) - Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. Francis entered the camp on foot, walking slowly beneath... More »

Pope: Christians Should Apologize for Offending Gays

He also thinks Brexit was a mistake

(Newser) - It was quintessential Pope Francis: On a plane journey back from a foreign trip on Sunday, the pontiff made a statement that once would have been considered jaw-droppingly radical. In a response to a reporter's question, Francis said the church should apologize for offending and discriminating against gays over... More »

Pope Returns Donation, Noting It Had 666 in It

There's no love lost between him and Argentina's president

(Newser) - When Pope Francis first met with the newly elected president of his native Argentina in February, the Buenos Aires Herald termed their 22 minutes together as "frosty." Relations don't seem to have improved much since, with the Guardian reporting that a donation President Mauricio Macri made to... More »

Pope Open to First Female Clergy In Over 1K Years

He promises commission to consider female deacons

(Newser) - During a meeting with an international group of nuns on Thursday, Pope Francis casually mentioned that he's open to making the biggest change to women's role in the Catholic Church in more than 1,000 years. When one of the sisters asked about the possibility of a commission... More »

Pope Slams Pedophilia in Case of Girl Thrown Off Balcony

Fortuna Loffredo, 6, died near Naples in 2014

(Newser) - Six-year-old Fortuna Loffredo fell to her death from an eighth-story balcony in Italy two years ago. Now authorities are saying a man next door sexually abused and murdered her, and Pope Francis is speaking up about the horror of sex crimes, Reuters reports. Pedophiles deserve "severe punishment," he... More »

Pope Shakes Hands With Sanders Out of 'Good Manners'

He denies it was a political endorsement of any kind

(Newser) - Pope Francis says he briefly greeted US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the two shook hands. He describes the encounter as a sign of good manners, "nothing more," the AP reports. The pope says it wasn't evidence that he was getting mixed up in American politics. Francis... More »

Pope Visits Refugee Camp, Takes 12 Home With Him

He took 12 Syrian refugees on the plane with him

(Newser) - Pope Francis made an emotional visit to Greece on Saturday to thank its people for welcoming migrants and meet with refugees as the European Union implements a controversial plan to deport them back to Turkey . The Vatican has confirmed that 12 Syrian refugees, all of them Muslim, are traveling with... More »

Bernie Sanders Accepts Invitation to the Vatican

He'll attend a conference on social, economic, environmental issues

(Newser) - Bernie Sanders said Friday he will attend a Vatican City conference on social, economic, and environmental issues next week, making the symbolic overseas trip ahead of a pivotal New York primary against Hillary Clinton. The Vermont senator has long been an admirer of Pope Francis on issues of wealth inequality... More »

Pope's New Doc on Family, Marriage: Don't Throw 'Stones'

Pontiff's 'Joy of Love' calls for embrace of the divorced, single parents—but not gay marriage

(Newser) - There's been plenty of talk of "revolution" on the campaign trail this year, and now Pope Francis wants to start his own regarding marriage, divorce, sex, and family life, issuing a major document Friday that addresses these issues while calling for one's conscience, rather than hard-and-fast rules,... More »

Amid Easter Joy, Pope Laments 'Blind, Brutal Terrorism'

Francis mingles with crowds at Vatican, despite threats

(Newser) - Pope Francis tempered his Easter Sunday message of Christian hope with a denunciation of "blind" terrorism, recalling victims of attacks in Europe, Africa, and elsewhere, as well as expressing dismay that people fleeing war or poverty are being denied welcome as European countries squabble over the refugee crisis. Tens... More »

The Pope Is on Instagram Now

And so far his account is refreshingly free of cats and sunsets

(Newser) - Pope Francis officially joined the Instagram generation on Saturday, and he's already bringing a unique voice to the social media platform—in that his first post wasn't a cat video, photo of food, or selfie. Instead, His Holiness—or @franciscus, as he's now known on Instagram— posted... More »

Mother Teresa Will Be a Saint

Pope Francis announces her canonization will be held on Sept. 4

(Newser) - It's official: Mother Teresa will be made a saint of the Catholic Church at a ceremony on Sept. 4, reports Reuters . Pope Francis, who signed off on the missionary's second miracle in December, announced the move at a meeting of cardinals on Tuesday. Teresa died in 1997 at... More »

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