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September 20, 2013 | By Mitchell Landsberg
Popes are famously believed to be endowed with infallibility, which is often misinterpreted to mean that they can never be wrong. In actuality, they are only considered infallible when it comes to the issuance of Roman Catholic doctrine. Infallible or not, popes are not immune to dissent, disagreement, even ridicule. But it's hard to find any of those sentiments in response to Pope Francis' wide-ranging interview with a Jesuit magazine, which hit the Catholic world like a thunderbolt Thursday.
September 20, 2013 | By Tom Kington
ROME --  After expressing frustration with the Roman Catholic Church's focus on hot-button doctrinal issues, Pope Francis launched a stinging attack on abortion Friday, calling it the product of a “throwaway culture.” “Every baby who is not born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ,” he told an audience of Catholic gynecologists at the Vatican. The comments came the day after an Italian Jesuit magazine published a lengthy interview with the pope in which he said the church had become “obsessed” with controversial issues such as abortion, and called instead for a focus on healing and mercy.
September 19, 2013 | By Henry Chu
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....
September 19, 2013 | By Tom Kington and Henry Chu
ROME - In an extraordinary, wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis expressed frustration that the Roman Catholic Church is "obsessed" with issues such as abortion, homosexuality and contraception, and called instead for a focus on healing and mercy. "The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules," Francis said in the interview published Thursday by an Italian Jesuit magazine. "The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.
September 19, 2013 | By Tom Kington
ROME -- Pope Francis has warned that the Roman Catholic Church could lose its way if it focuses too much on enforcing rules against contraception, abortion and homosexuality, instead of throwing open its doors and making the church more merciful. In a candid interview with an Italian Jesuit magazine, Francis also reiterated conciliatory comments he made this summer about not judging gay people. "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality,” he told La Civilta Cattolica . “I replied with another question: 'Tell me, when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?
September 6, 2013 | By Paul Thornton
Among our readers, Randy Pope might be among the least popular non-L.A. city politicians in California. The conservative city councilman in the Bay Area suburb of Oakley, according to Times reporter Mark Z. Barabek's article on Wednesday, shuns partisan politics and prefers to focus on local quality-of-life issues. But it was the way he articulated his conservatism and his aversion to big government -- saying, "I can't choose which toilet I want to put in my house. I can't choose which light bulb I want to illuminate my living room.
September 5, 2013 | By Alexandra Zavis
As world leaders gathered Thursday for a G-20 summit in Russia, Pope Francis urged them to pursue a negotiated end to Syria's civil war and abandon the “futile pursuit of a military solution.” “It is regrettable that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding,” the pope said in a letter ...
September 3, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
Pope Francis resolutely condemned the use of chemical weapons in a message to his nearly 3 million Twitter followers on Tuesday, but has made it clear in recent days that he opposes military retaliation against Syria for the government's alleged use of the banned armaments. "With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons," the pope said in his 138th tweet since his March election as leader of the Holy See. In Sunday sermons, the pope also called on Catholics and followers of all faiths around the world to observe a day of fasting and prayer on Saturday for peace in Syria and the Middle East.
August 31, 2013 | By Tom Kington
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 21, 2013 | By Tom Kington
ROME --Former Pope Benedict XVI, who shocked the world by resigning in February, has reportedly revealed that God told him to do it during a "mystical experience. " The first pontiff to step down in six centuries, Benedict said, "God told me to," when asked about his decision to dedicate himself to a life of prayer instead. The 86-year-old pope emeritus said he had not witnessed a vision of God but had undergone a months-long "mystical experience" during which God gave him the "absolute desire" to forge a deeper relationship with him. Benedict also said that the more he witnessed the "charisma" of his extremely popular successor, Pope Francis, the more he understood how his stepping aside was the "will of God. " The former pontiff's comments were reported by the Catholic news agency Zenit, which did not disclose to whom Benedict made the remarks.
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