Pope Francis’ 77th birthday marked with simple celebration

Vatican City, Dec 17, 2013 / 08:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- December 17 is the 77th birthday of Pope Francis, who wanted to celebrate the day in the familial setting of his St. Martha residence. The Pope asked that those who live and work at the residence join him for the daily 7 a.m. mass there. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, concelebrated mass with the Pontiff on behalf of the entire College. During the homily he preached on today’s gospel reading containing … [Read more...]

Holiness means ‘letting God write our history,’ preaches Pope

Vatican City, Dec 17, 2013 / 05:52 am (CNA).- Pope Francis’ daily homily focused on the importance of allowing God to be active and present in our daily lives. “This is holiness: to let God write our history. And this is a Christmas wish for every one of us, that the Lord writes your history and that you let him write it.  May it be so!” he preached on Dec. 17 in the chapel of the Saint Martha guesthouse. God’s joy “was to live his life with us,” … [Read more...]

Vatican secretary of state encourages diplomats to work for human dignity

Vatican City, Dec 17, 2013 / 12:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his first meeting with the ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, Vatican Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin emphasized their role in working together towards peace and the good of man. His Dec. 13 address came a day after Pope Francis encouraged the 17 newly appointed ambassadors to collaborate for an end to human trafficking. “In a time in which many parts of the world are faced with numerous forms of violence … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: Christians worldwide are ‘united in blood’

Vatican City, Dec 16, 2013 / 04:04 pm (CNA).- In an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa Dec. 15, Pope Francis called ecumenical dialogue a priority of his pontificate, noting that Christians of all traditions face the same persecution today. “For me ecumenism is a priority. Today there is an ecumenism of blood. In some countries they kill Christians for wearing a cross or having a Bible and before they kill them they do not ask them whether they are Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic … [Read more...]

New Pope interview touches on Church political reform

Vatican City, Dec 16, 2013 / 12:03 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis' recent interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa Dec. 15 addressed some of the more political issues in the Church, including reform of the curia and changes to the Vatican banking system. When questioned about the council of eight cardinals Pope Francis appointed one month after his election to help and advise him in sketching out curia reform, the pontiff explained, “I am always present at the meetings, except for … [Read more...]

Pope prays for Church to be ‘free of clericalism’

Vatican City, Dec 16, 2013 / 04:45 am (CNA).- In his daily homily preached in the Santa Marta chapel, Pope Francis emphasized the need for prophets in the Church in order to prevent a negative spirit of legalism from taking over. “May our prayer in these days, in these during which we prepare for the Birth of the Lord, be: ‘Lord, let there not be a lack of prophets among your people!’” he said on Dec. 16. “Lord, free your people from a spirit of clericalism … [Read more...]

Combat human trafficking, Pope urges new ambassadors to Vatican

Vatican City, Dec 15, 2013 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Meeting with 17 newly appointed ambassadors to the Holy See, Pope Francis encouraged them to work together, regardless of creed, against the “slavery” of human trafficking. “This is a true form of slavery , unfortunately increasingly common, which affects every land, even the most developed, and which affects the most vulnerable people in society: women, children, the disabled, the poorest and those who come from … [Read more...]