Francis, fraternity, friendship—and football

From AP:  Diego Maradona and Roberto Baggio were among a host of former soccer stars who played in an interreligious charity match backed by Pope Francis on Monday night. The Argentine pope, an avid soccer fan, did not attend the match but had an audience with both teams earlier in the day and also broadcast [Read More...]

Pope phones priest working in Iraqi refugee camp

From Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis called a priest at a refugee camp in Iraq to express his closeness to the persecuted Christians who have taken refuge there and to promise his continued support. Pope Francis reportedly called Fr Behnam Benoka on August 19, a day after returning from his apostolic journey to South Korea. Fr [Read More...]

The pope’s new bishops: “These are not papal acts in name only, but personal decisions by Francis”

John Allen looks at some recent high-profile bishop appointments and draws some intriguing conclusions in The Boston Globe: The profile of the kind of man Francis seems to look for in key posts is this: Orthodox in doctrine but committed to dialogue and outreach, someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously, who emphasizes concern for [Read More...]

Pope Francis to preside over wedding ceremony next month

Did you get an invitation? From CNS:  Pope Francis will preside over his first wedding ceremony as pontiff during a nuptial Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Sept. 14. The Vatican confirmed Aug. 29 that 20 couples from the Diocese of Rome will be married by the pope, the bishop of Rome. The papal Mass celebrating [Read More...]

“This woman has never never gossiped. Such a woman can be canonized tomorrow.”

The Holy Father returned to one of his favorite themes—the sin of gossip—during his weekly audience this morning: Francis, during the general audience, emphasised that “experience shows that there are many sins against the unity of the Church: let us not think only of schisms but also of very common faults within our communities, the [Read More...]

Pope Francis calls family of James Foley

Details:  The death of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the Islamic State has been mourned internationally since the tragic news broke. On Thursday, Pope Francis personally called Foley’s grieving family in Rochester, New Hampshire, to “console them for their loss and assure them of his prayers,”according to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. Foley’s relatives were “deeply [Read More...]

Pope Francis on Iraq: “To stop the unjust aggressor is licit”

From Catholic News Service:  Pope Francis said the use of force can be justified to stop “unjust aggressors” such as Islamic State militants in northeastern Iraq, but he declined to endorse U.S. military airstrikes against the militants and said such humanitarian interventions should not be decided on by any single country.The pope also said he [Read More...]

All aboard: pope takes train to Mass in Korea

Details:  He has built a reputation for his down-to-earth style and has no patience for pomp. But even so, Pope Francis surprised hundreds of ordinary commuters when he took public transport to celebrate a Mass in Korea where he is on a five day visit. The pope scrapped his plans to take a helicopter from [Read More...]

Pope baptizes father of Korean ferry disaster victim—and the man takes the name “Francis”

Details:  On Sunday morning Pope Francis baptized 62-year-old Lee Ho-Jin – the father of one of the victims from the Sewol Ferry tragedy earlier this year – who took on the baptismal name “Francis.” Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi reported that the baptism was celebrated in 20 minutes without Mass. It was officiated by a [Read More...]

Pope to Korean bishops: “Christians don’t come as conquerers”

From John Allen: Christianity is a missionary religion, and heading into Pope Francis’s trip to South Korea one big-ticket question mark was whether he could fuel Catholic growth on a continent home to 60 percent of the world’s population. Whether the church gets a “Francis bump” remains to be seen, but in a speech to [Read More...]


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