Pope invites reformed killer of nun to Rome

Details from Vatican Radio:  Eighteen years after Samunder Singh stabbed and murdered a Catholic nun in northern India, the former prisoner has been invited to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican. Sr. Rani Maria was murdered in 1995. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for Family, invited Singh after the pope expressed his [Read More...]

“It is important to understand the Second Vatican Council as the Catholic Church’s response to World War II…”

Deacon Bill Ditewig, commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, has this take:  Pope John Paul II, in his 2004 Message for the World Day of Peace, referred to the Second World War as “an abyss of violence, destruction and death unlike anything previously known.”  How does a world recover from such [Read More...]

Pope Francis on Nelson Mandela: “I pray his example will inspire generations…”

From the Vatican:  Pope Francis on Friday paid tribute to Nelson Mandela expressing his hope that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. The Pope’s words came in a telegramme of condolences that he sent to the South African [Read More...]

Pope establishes special commission on child sex abuse

From Catholic News Service:  Pope Francis accepted a proposal to set up a special commission on the sexual abuse of children, which will advise him on ways to prevent abuse and provide pastoral care for victims and their families. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, a member of the pope’s advisory Council of Cardinals, announced [Read More...]

Boston Globe: Francis giving other faiths “pope envy”

The reader who sent me this noted: “This is incredible for a Boston Globe editorial.” It comes from columnist Alex Beam.  Details:  Pope Francis (real name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio) has shaken up the Catholic church with some plain speaking about faith and about life in the 21st century. He has had an impact on other [Read More...]

Dutch bishops give bleak report to Pope Francis

Details:  Dutch bishops visiting Rome this week have given Pope Francis a dramatic snapshot of the steep decline of Roman Catholicism in its European heartland. Both Catholic and Protestant Christian ranks have shrunk dramatically across Europe in recent decades, and hundreds of churches have been sold off to be turned into apartments, shops, bars or [Read More...]

Argentine congress moves to nominate Pope Francis for Nobel Peace Prize

From Catholic News Agency:   Argentina’s House of Representatives has passed a resolution to nominate Pope Francis for the Nobel Peace Prize for his call to end the violence in Syria. The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority and now goes to the Senate for ratification. Representative Oscar Martinez, who sponsored the resolution, described [Read More...]

Pope Francis, bouncer

A fascinating tidbit about the pope’s early life, from CNS:  In addition to having worked sweeping floors and running tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager, Pope Francis revealed he also used to work as a bouncer. No longer kicking troublemakers out of clubs, he has discovered the secret to bringing people back, this [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “Christmas is an encounter”

From his daily homily today: In his homily at the Santa Marta guesthouse on this, the first Monday of Advent, Pope Francis recalled that as we proceed towards Christmas, we embark on a journey of faith and prayer in preparation for our encounter with the Lord. “Because Christmas,” he said, isn’t just a temporal celebration [Read More...]

Pope blesses sculpture of Jesus as a homeless man

You may remember this story from last spring, about Timothy Schmalz’s sculpture of a homeless Jesus that, itself, was homeless. Now, an update:  For two years, it was the sculpture nobody would take: a life-sized Jesus sleeping on a park bench with his bare feet, wounded from his crucifixion, poking out from under a blanket. [Read More...]