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January 5, 2014 | By Tom Kington
ROME -- Pope Francis has taken another step toward making the Catholic Church more inclusive by telling priests to rethink how they reach out to the children of gay and separated parents. But the Vatican warned Sunday against reading too much into the remarks. "How can we proclaim Christ to a generation that is changing? We must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them,” Francis told around 120 leaders of male religious orders during a meeting at the Vatican.
January 5, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM--Pope Francis will visit the Middle East in May, he announced Sunday to believers gathered at St. Peter's Square in Rome. "In the climate of joy typical of this Christmas period, I would like to announce that from May 24 to 26, God willing, I will carry out a pilgrimage to the Holy Land,"  the pope said . Francis' visit -- his only foreign travel planned for 2014 to date -- is to last three days and include Amman, Jordan;...
January 3, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
Is it a law of evolution that the fatter the wallet, the thinner the skin? The wallet of Ken Langone , the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, is so fat he he must sit on it funny, yet there he was the other day, crabbing to CNBC about Pope Francis' missive to the effect that the rich are indifferent to the poor. Langone was careful to attribute his complaints to an unnamed fellow plutocrat, who being a rich person ostensibly took the Pope's remarks as an insult.
January 1, 2014 | By Mark Porubcansky
There are many ways to mark the passage of time. Usher out the old year. Bring in the new. But the only thing that makes any year remarkable is what happened during its span. And events have their own timetable. So does it make sense to think of the year just past as the end of a millennium in which the head of the Roman Catholic Church was a European? The 34 years since the leaders of Iran and the United States had spoken to each other? The end of Nelson Mandela's long walk to freedom?
December 28, 2013 | By Soumya Karlamangla
When the Vatican censured an organization representing thousands of American nuns, it did so in part because the group had not spoken out enough against gay marriage and abortion. The Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had espoused "radical feminist themes," adding, "Issues of crucial importance to the life of Church and society, such as the Church's Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching.
December 27, 2013 | By Michael McGough
Pope Francis is everyone's man of the year, so if you're a critic of President Obama you might want to try to portray the president as anti-pope. It sounds crazy, but that's exactly what two former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican try to do in a bizarre op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. In a piece titled " A Mystifying U.S. Diplomatic Pullback From the Vatican ," former ambassadors Jim Nicholson and Ray Flynn criticize the Obama administration for planning to move the headquarters of the U.S. Embassy at the Vatican from a standalone office to surplus space in the U.S. Embassy to Italy.
December 17, 2013 | By Tom Kington
ROME -- Pope Francis boosted his down-to-earth image by inviting a group of homeless men to his Vatican residence to help him celebrate his 77th birthday. The group of men - four, according to some Vatican reports, three according to the Vatican's newspaper - joined Francis on Tuesday as he gave his morning Mass and then ate breakfast with him. The Vatican paper, L'Osservatore Romano, said the men, a Pole, a Slovak and a Czech, were sleeping under the portico outside the Vatican's press center when they were approached by Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who distributes charitable contributions for the pope.
December 17, 2013 | By Michael McGough
Journalists and liberal Roman Catholics are making much - perhaps too much - of Pope Francis' decision to remove a conservative American cardinal from the congregation that helps choose bishops. The New York Times said that the pope “moved … against” Cardinal Raymond Burke by not reappointing him to the Congregation of Bishops. That makes the decision to (in effect) replace Burke with Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., sound more punitive than it might be. It's true, however, that Burke is the darling of “rad trad” (radical traditionalist)
December 17, 2013 | By David Horsey
Rush Limbaugh is freaked out by Pope Francis' sharp critique of capitalism and consumerism. Rush says it sounds like “pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.”  Well, let us consider the pope's words: “Vast multitudes are still living in conditions of great material and moral poverty. The collapse of the communist system in so many countries certainly removes an obstacle to facing these problems in an appropriate and realistic way, but it is not enough to bring about their solution.
December 11, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - Just nine months into his pontificate, Time magazine has named Pope Francis its Person of the Year, reflecting the energy and the new, overwhelmingly positive image that the former Argentinean archbishop has brought to the scandal-weary Roman Catholic Church. The magazine credited Francis, who turns 77 next week, with restoring a common touch to the papacy and with “balancing judgment with mercy.” Since his election to replace the retiring Benedict XVI in March, the first Latin American pope has delighted Catholics and non-Catholics alike with his humility, his evident love of people, his outspoken comments against greed and unbridled capitalism, and his rebuke of a church too obsessed with topics such as abortion and homosexuality . “Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly - young and old, faithful and cynical - as has Pope Francis,” Nancy Gibbs, Time's editor, wrote in an essay explaining the choice.
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