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December 3, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
Pope Francis, well-known do-gooder, may be doing even more good under a secret guise. Super Pope. No, he's not really a superhero, although his fans -- Catholic and non-Catholic among them -- find much to admire. But the pope may be dressing as a regular ol' priest at night to sneak out of the Vatican with a sidekick to mingle with the poor -- giving them money or just hanging out to let them know he's there for them. When he was an archbishop, his nighttime visits to the poor, the elderly and the sick of Buenos Aires were documented.
December 2, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a 25-minute audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday, the first meeting between the two leaders. Netanyahu presented the pontiff with a Spanish translation of "The Origins of the Inquisition," a book written by the Israeli leader's late father, Ben-Zion Netanyahu , an acclaimed historian known widely for his research on the topic. "To his Holiness Pope Franciscus, a great shepherd of our common heritage," Netanyahu inscribed on the inside cover.
December 2, 2013 | By Daniel Rothberg
During a four-hour visit to a church near Rome on Sunday, Pope Francis shared with parishioners some of the finer points of his résumé, including a stint working as a bouncer. The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, reported that the pope told a group of parishioners at the church of San Cirillo Alessandrino about his earlier jobs, which also included sweeping floors and running laboratory tests, according to a report from the Catholic News Service. Many were quick to note that nightclub bouncers are not exactly known for the inclusiveness that has marked Pope Francis' reputation during his first year.
November 26, 2013 | By Tom Kington
ROME - Eight months into his headline-grabbing papacy, Pope Francis issued a wide-ranging manifesto Tuesday in which he sharply criticizes the excesses of capitalism and says he wants a decentralized Roman Catholic Church that is "bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets. " Francis' 84-page Apostolic Exhortation, titled "The Joy of the Gospel," gathers together a number of the causes he has championed in speeches and homilies since being elected in March, including the need for "a conversion of the papacy," to reverse the "excessive centralization.
November 26, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Here's a denunciation of the financial system and income inequality that people all over the world will find hard to overlook, or ignore. Its author is Pope Francis, and the text is from his apostolic exhortation published this week , which addresses in part what he calls "a socioeconomic system...unjust at its root. " Selections from paragraphs 53-60. No further commentary required:  "Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality.
October 30, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
Pope Francis displayed his patience Saturday during an address in St. Peter's Square when a little boy with a buzz cut and a striped shirt climbed up on stage and refused to leave. He'd apparently been seated with other children on a bench to the side of the stage when he walked over to the center where the pope was at the lectern, speaking on the topic of families. The boy marched around and gazed placidly.  At one point, security and aides tried to lure him offstage -- he was offered a treat from someone's pocket and taken by an arm. The young visitor turned to the pope and wrapped his arms around the pontiff's legs.
October 23, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
When Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Germany traveled to India last year to minister to poor slum dwellers, he reportedly flew first class. This year, renovations of the Roman Catholic bishop's church-owned residence in the city of Limburg ran massively over budget to cover $620,000 worth of artwork, $1.1 million in landscaping and last-minute design revisions -- $42 million in all, billed to the Vatican and German taxpayers, Hamburg's tabloid daily Bild reported. Dubbed the "Bishop of Bling" by European media that have been avidly tracking the bespectacled clergyman's lavish lifestyle, Tebartz-van Elst was suspended from his post by Pope Francis on Wednesday in a clear sign that the new pontiff is serious about diverting resources from the "princes of the church" to the paupers in its congregations.
October 18, 2013 | By Meredith Blake
Calming would-be suicide bombers, negotiating a hostage crisis, throwing herself into a sniper's cross hairs, sniffing out CIA coverups and finding out her most trusted employee is a brainwashed killer beholden to her ruthless father: Just another day on the job for Olivia Pope. It's a testament to the complete insanity of “Scandal” that “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington” -- in which a mild-mannered Midwestern mom wanders into her representative's office on Capital Hill wearing an explosive vest at the exact same moment an intruder barges into the White House -- is probably the most restrained episode we've seen so far in Season 3. Now, don't get me wrong, this was still a fun-filled hour of television.
October 4, 2013 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
When Cassadee Pope took the crown in the third season of “The Voice” late last year, the clock started ticking. Like many a winner before her, she had to quickly cash in on her new-found fame before a new season of replacement contestants stole viewer interest. While the show's competitor “American Idol” has turned out successful acts like Kelly Clarkson and Phillip Phillips , NBC's hit competition, despite its formidable ratings, has yet to churn out viable pop stars.
October 1, 2013 | By Michael McGough
The bishop declines to move into his official residence, which he considers “hopelessly antiquated.” He disdains “velvet and brocade and gilt cherubs with paint peeling off their backsides.” He inveighs against “formalism, feudalism, reaction, old men following old ways because the old ways seem safer and they are unprepared for the new.” “I believe that the church in this country is in drastic need of reform,” he tells a fellow priest....
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