March 27, 2014 |
VATICAN CITY -- Greeting a man he has called an “inspiration,” President Obama paid his first visit to Pope Francis on Thursday, opening a meeting the White House hopes will highlight the leaders' shared views on economic inequality and poverty and perhaps drown out the president's conflicts with the Catholic Church hierarchy at home. A cordon of members of the Swiss Guard greeted the president in a modest Vatican courtyard behind St. Peter's Basilica as he arrived for his first encounter with a man whose popularity and international fame match few figures, one of those, perhaps, being Obama himself -- five years ago. "It is a great honor.
September 29, 2013 |
Pope Francis' highly publicized recent interview with an Italian Jesuit magazine has ushered in a new era for the Roman Catholic Church - an era of record levels of misinterpretation of the pontiff's words, both by the liberal media and by conservative Catholics who have been grousing about Francis ever since he washed the feet of a Muslim girl during Holy Week. The remark most focused on was this: "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods....
September 19, 2013 |
LONDON -- Pope Francis gave no indication in a lengthy interview published Thursday of a change in doctrine on hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, observers said. But he made clear his intent to steer the Roman Catholic Church away from its recent "culture wars. " “He said the same things that the church has always said. But he put his accent on mercy,” said Marco Tosatti, a veteran Vatican watcher with Italy's La Stampa newspaper. “It's certainly different from Benedict and John Paul II....
August 31, 2013 |
ROME - Pope Francis has taken a key step in reshuffling the Vatican's bureaucracy by replacing his much-criticized top aide with a career Vatican diplomat who has seen service on three continents. The Vatican said Saturday that Archbishop Pietro Parolin, 58, currently nuncio in Venezuela, will take office as Vatican secretary of state, the pope's prime minister, on Oct. 15, replacing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 78. Bertone, appointed in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI, had been due to step down, and the pope, by choosing Parolin as his replacement, will please Vatican diplomats who had complained that Bertone blocked their access and concentrated power in Rome in the hands of a group of handpicked prelates from his native Liguria.
August 4, 2013 |
Last week, Pope Francis loosed a media tsunami by dropping a pebble of sanity into an ocean of religious angst. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" he told reporters on the flight back to Rome after his trip to Brazil. What did it mean? Was he changing church teaching? And how might it affect 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide? Hundreds of news stories and thousands of blogs, tweets and commentaries later, most observers heard in Francis' statement a proposal to end to his predecessor's hard line on homosexuality.
July 29, 2013 |
RIO DE JANEIRO - First, the pope used the word "gay. " Then he used a phrase possibly never heard from a pope: "Who am I to judge?" His first overseas trip behind him, Pope Francis made surprisingly conciliatory remarks about the role of gay people in the Roman Catholic Church and his willingness to accept them uncritically, touching off a worldwide debate over how big a shift the new pontiff was endorsing. He also spoke of finding more roles for women in the church - though not priesthood - and of showing mercy to divorced Catholics.