Pope Francis is continuing his personal outreach to the homeless around Vatican City. The pontiff ordered a new, 30-bed homeless shelter to be built in the Vatican. As The Washington Post notes, it’s just the first in a series of actions to care for the homeless he’s undertaken since becoming pope: He’s installed free showers in Vatican City; paid for homeless individuals to visit the Shroud of Turin; arranged private museum tours; and even provided free shaves and haircuts ... Discuss
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moo spoke at a conference at the Vatican today that is being attended by leaders of different faiths, heads of state, scientists and thinkers. The participants in the conference released a statement saying that nature “is a precious gift entrusted to our common care, making it our moral duty to respect rather than ravage the garden that is our home." The meeting comes ahead of Pope Francis’ encyclical (a letter sent out to bishops) this summer, which is expected to directly address climate change and the Church. World leaders will soon meet again in Paris to discuss climate change and how it will continue to be addressed globally ... Discuss
Pope Francis’ chief alms-giver has announced new plans to install free showers in the public restrooms in Vatican City as a service to the homeless. Monsignor Konrad Krajewski explained that the new facilities in St. Peter’s Square were inspired by an encounter with a homeless man. The homeless gentleman declined Krajewski’s invitation to a fancy dinner on his 50th birthday because he said that he smelled bad, and there was no place for homeless individuals like him to wash. According to some reports, the facility will also provide members of the homeless community with fresh towels and clean undergarments ... Discuss
Just weeks after a group of Cardinals ended a contentious gathering to discuss the Catholic Church’s views on family issues like divorce, co-habitation and same-sex relationships, the Vatican will host another marriage-themed summit. Leaders from across the religious spectrum—including pastor Rick Warren, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission head Russell Moore, a senior leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the former chief rabbi of Great Britain, the Muslim president of the Tawasul Cultural Center in Egypt, World Sikh Council’s Manmohan Singh, Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright and about two dozen others—will meet for two days later this month at the “International Interreligious Colloquium on The Complementarity of Man and Woman.”
According to RNS, the idea is for the Vatican to “seek common ground with religious leaders” on the issues that have caused some division among Catholic officials. The meetings organizers say their goal is to "examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society” ... Discuss
After two weeks of meetings, Catholic bishops did not come to an agreement on a revised official stance on homosexuality. The church leaders also failed to come to a consensus on whether or not remarried Catholics—who had been divorced—could receive communion. The bishops were called to the historic synod by Pope Francis after new polls revealed that the Vatican’s views of family life were seen as dated. However, despite heated discussions that led some to believe that major shifts in how the church actively ministered in the LGBT community were coming, no significant new agreements were forged. Even a revised report on the meetings—which removed several statements from an earlier report that contained positive language concerning gays and lesbians—did not receive a two-thirds vote of support from the group of bishops.
The latest version of the report said that same-sex couples were not “"God's design of matrimony and the family," but cautioned, “Nonetheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy.” It’s unclear how close the bishops are to revising their position on allowing remarried divorced church members to receive Holy Communion, as the report only said that they will continue to examine the issue. Following the synod, Pope Francis gave a speech, saying, “The Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope.” The more than 200 bishops will meet again next fall to discuss similar issues ... Discuss
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