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An interview with Pope Francis conducted by the founder of the Italian La Repubblica newspaper is making some serious waves. During a conversation with editor Eugenio Scalfari, the Pope reportedly said his advisors have told him that about 2 percent of Catholic Clergy are pedophiles, adding, "Among the 2% who are pedophiles are priests, bishops and cardinals. Others, more numerous, know but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason. I find this state of affairs intolerable."

The Vatican, however, has taken issue with the article, noting that Scalfari doesn’t record interviews, and instead reconstructs them from memory afterward. Church officials say the three-page interview isn’t Pope Francis’ exact words and specifically disputes that he said that that cardinals were among the 2 percent of clergy that are pedophiles. Pope Francis was also quoted as saying that the crimes were “a leprosy in our house,” and vowed continued action against it. The headline for the piece read, "Pope says: Like Jesus, I shall use a stick against pedophile priests" ... Discuss

Though the big news from the Vatican this weekend was the canonization of both John XXIII and John Paul II, it was Pope Francis who also made headlines for comments he gave before the event. On Friday afternoon, Pope Francis met with a group of bishops from Africa and spoke out about controversial issues including divorce and abortion. Though he’s been vocal about the church’s opposition to abortion before (he recently called it an “unspeakable crime”), in many occasions, the pope has focused more on issues like poverty and service than controversial ones. He told the bishops:

Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn … The rate of separation and divorce is high, even in many Christian families, and children frequently do not grow up in a stable home environment. We also observe with great concern, and can only deplore, an increase in violence against women and children … All these realities threaten the sanctity of marriage, the stability of life in the home and consequently the life of society as a whole.

His Vatican reforms, teachings on helping the poor and emphasis on humility have made Pope Francis a popular figure, but a new poll has found that little has changed when it comes to actual behavior of the Catholic Church at large.

The Pew Research Center poll found that while 85 percent of American Catholics have a favorable view of Pope Francis, there has been no discernible rise in the number of Catholics who attend mass or confession. Even the overall number of people who identify as Catholic has remained pretty flat. Read More

A new Pew Research Center poll has found that a majority of American Catholics believe Pope Francis is ushering in positive changes for the Church, but he hasn’t actually caused them to change their behavior. About 85% of Catholic polled have a favorable opinion of the leader, with 71% saying his shift in Vatican direction is improving things for the Church. However, when it comes to actually expressing their faith—through attending mass, going to confession or volunteering—little has changed. Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior analyst at The National Catholic Reporter told The New York Times that though the numbers aren’t exactly positive, the fact the church isn’t losing members could be an indication of Pope Francis’ positive influence: “This could be interpreted as showing that Francis has had no impact. On the other hand, since church attendance has been declining since the 1950s, the fact that it did not go down could be considered a victory” ... Discuss

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has released a scathing report—originally commissioned by Pope Francis—which criticized the Vatican for not taking “the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children.” The report said that Catholic Church leaders have “not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed … and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.” The UNCRC said that the church must “immediately remove” priests who have abused children, saying, "dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children." In a response, The Vatican—which seemed surprised by the committee’s harsh tone—criticized the UNCRC for also taking issue with the church’s position on homosexuality and abortion. Though the U.N. does not have power to regulate the Vatican, it has asked the church to implement specified recommendations within the report by 2017 ... Discuss

Pope Francis may be one of the most well-known people in the world, but that hasn’t prevented him from taking time to minister to those living on the streets. In an interview, a top Vatican archbishop dodged the question as to whether the pope would disguise himself and join in giving alms to the poor in the evenings, saying, “When I say to him ‘I’m going out into the city this evening’, there’s the constant risk that he will come with me.” The Vatican’s Swiss Guards later confirmed to The Huffington Post that “the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women." It wouldn’t be the first time he’s temporarily left his post to minister to the poor. When he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, he was known to leave during the evenings to bring meals to the homeless. Don’t worry. The pope is safe on the streets at night. He is, after all, a former bouncer ... Discuss