Pope Francis

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Pope Assembles Experts to Weigh Idea of Women Deacons

A 2016 commission couldn't come to a consensus

(Newser) - The Vatican said Wednesday that Pope Francis has created a new commission of experts to examine whether women can be deacons, an ordained role in the Catholic Church currently reserved for men. The 10-member commission, the second of Francis' pontificate to study the fraught issue, includes equal numbers of men... More »

It's a Very Lonely Palm Sunday

Pope Francis celebrates Mass without the public

(Newser) - Pope Francis is celebrating Palm Sunday Mass without the public, reports the AP , since the traditional ceremony in St. Peter’s Square was scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, tens of thousands of Romans, tourists, and pilgrims, clutching olive tree branches or palm fronds would have flocked to an... More »

A 'Historic First' From Pope, With No One There to See It

Francis offered rare blessing to an empty St. Peter's Square, calling coronavirus a 'tempest'

(Newser) - The "Urbi et Orbi" ("To the City and the World") prayer recited by the pope is typically only offered on three occasions: on Christmas, on Easter, and when a new pontiff is chosen. On Friday, however, Pope Francis climbed the steps of St. Peter's Basilica in... More »

Pope Reportedly Tested for Coronavirus

He does not have COVID-19, per 'Il Messaggero'

(Newser) - Pope Francis, who's been suffering from a cold for days, has tested negative for the coronavirus, according to Italian media. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni wouldn't confirm or deny the news reported Tuesday by the Il Messaggero newspaper. He had previously described the 83-year-old's illness as only "... More »

Sick Pope Drops Out of Events

Francis is reportedly battling a cold amid coronavirus fears

(Newser) - A coughing Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered for the traditional Sunday blessing that he is canceling his participation at a week-long spiritual retreat in the Roman countryside because of a cold. It is the first time in his seven-year papacy that he has missed the spiritual exercises that he initiated... More »

Pope Is Sick for Third Day After Supporting Coronavirus Sufferers

Pope Francis has a 'slight indisposition,' the Vatican says

(Newser) - Pope Francis canceled official engagements for the third day in a row Saturday as he battled an apparent cold, the AP reports. The 83-year-old pope, who lost part of a lung to a respiratory illness as a young man, has never canceled so many official audiences or events in his... More »

Francis Makes Surprise Decision on Married Priests

Pope has rejected ordaining married men in remote areas of South America

(Newser) - Late last year, Pope Francis gave hints that he might be open to the ordination of married men, letting them become priests in far-flung parts of the world like the Amazon region, after bishops representing indigenous areas made this push . Now, however, that idea has been officially quashed: The pontiff... More »

Pope Turns Palace Into Homeless Shelter

Vatican-owned building is now a 'palace for the poor'

(Newser) - Pope Francis is practicing what he preaches in Rome, where a 19th-century palace owned by the Vatican has been turned into a homeless shelter. The pontiff rejected plans to convert the Palazza Migliori, which is just off St. Peter's Square, into a luxury hotel for Vatican visitors, reports the... More »

Never Again, Pope Says of Holocaust

'Indifference is inadmissible,' Francis tells crowd

(Newser) - Monday, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Speaking to the crowd in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis made a request, Reuters reports. "Indifference is inadmissible before this enormous tragedy, this atrocity, and memory is a duty,"... More »

Cardinal Caught in Celibacy Storm Denounces 'Brutality'

(Newser) - A Vatican cardinal at the center of a storm over a book about celibacy and the Catholic priesthood is denouncing the "brutality" of criticism directed at him and his collaborator, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, the AP reports. In an interview published Saturday, Cardinal Robert Sarah doubled down on his... More »

Mike Pence to Pope: 'You Made Me a Hero'

VP and family have a private audience at the Vatican

(Newser) - Vice President Mike Pence told Pope Francis, “You made me a hero" back home by granting him a private audience at the Vatican on Friday. The pontiff and the vice president had a private hour-long conversation, per the AP . Pence was beaming when the rest of his delegation was... More »

Hoping for a Pope Fight? One Just Took a Step Back

Benedict has name removed as co-author from controversial pro-priesthood celibacy book

(Newser) - If you were hoping that there'd be a bona fide public bickering between Pope Francis and his predecessor, you may have to tamp down your expectations. The current pope has reportedly been mulling whether to allow married men to become priests in some cases, and news broke this week... More »

Benedict Breaks His Silence as Pope Emeritus

Makes it clear he doesn't like the idea of lifting celibacy rules, now under consideration

(Newser) - A retired 92-year-old man has broken his silence to insist that his former colleagues should never have sex. Pope Benedict XVI, who adopted the title "pope emeritus" after retiring in 2013, argues that priestly celibacy is essential in a new book, "From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood,... More »

With His Direct, Simple Apology, Pope Provides a Lesson

Ruth Marcus sees the power in Francis' statement

(Newser) - When Pope Francis issued a public apology for slapping the hand of a pilgrim who grabbed him as he greeted a New Year's Eve crowd, he didn't hedge. "Love makes us patient," the pope said in his New Year's homily. "So many times we... More »

Pope Apologizes After Incident With Woman in Crowd

He smacked her hand away after she grabbed his hand

(Newser) - Even the pope gets a little ruffled in public sometimes. As he walked in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday, Pope Francis greeted a few people, then turned from the crowd. At that point, a woman seized his hand and pulled him toward her. A "visibly indignant" Francis smacked... More »

'Original' Jesus Relic Arrives in Bethlehem

The pope returns it, 1,400 years later

(Newser) - A tiny wooden relic that some Christians believe to be part of Jesus' manger arrived Saturday in its permanent home in the biblical city of Bethlehem 1,400 years after it was sent to Rome as a gift to the pope, the AP reports. Sheathed in an ornate case, the... More »

Pope to Change Church Teaching: Nukes Are 'Immoral'

Francis warns that an 'accident of possession' or 'insanity of a leader can destroy humanity'

(Newser) - Pope Francis is planning to change official Catholic Church teaching to declare the use and possession of atomic weapons as "immoral," a move that makes clear that his rejection of the Cold War-era doctrine of deterrence is to be official church policy. Francis had declared the possession of... More »

Pope Francis: Let's 'Leave Comfortable Shores'

The pope answers bold call from bishops in the Amazon region

(Newser) - On the heels of a bold call by Amazon region bishops for married men to become priests, Pope Francis is urging openness to new ways, and in a possible slap at conservative critics who fear he is weakening the Catholic church's foundations, he cautions faithful against entering the "... More »

Francis Makes Move to Reshape the Church

The pope adds 13 new cardinals who reflect his views

(Newser) - Pope Francis added 13 new cardinals to the top of the Catholic hierarchy on Saturday, telling them they must show God's compassion to those who suffer to be faithful to their ministry, the AP reports. Francis presided over the ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, elevating churchmen who share... More »

Pope: It's an 'Honor If the Americans Attack Me'

He responds to 'bombshell' book about US critics

(Newser) - Pope Francis acknowledged his growing opposition within the conservative right wing of the US Catholic Church and said in off-hand remarks aboard the papal plane Wednesday it is "an honor if the Americans attack me." Francis commented on critics of his papacy when he received a copy of... More »

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