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...]

Worth a thousand words: the pope’s silent pro-life statement in Korea

Details:  Pope Francis has generally avoided hot-button “culture war” issues like abortion, arguing that the church’s doctrine on the sanctity of life is well-known and that he’d rather emphasize other aspects of church teaching. But he made a strong, albeit silent anti-abortion statement Saturday during his visit to South Korea, stopping to pray at a [Read More...]

“What would we be willing to die for?”

“So often we today can find our faith challenged by the world, and in countless ways we are asked to compromise our faith, to water down the radical demands of the Gospel and to conform to the spirit of this age.  Yet the martyrs call out to us to put Christ first and to see [Read More...]

In South Korea, Pope delivers major speech in English

From Vatican Radio: Many of the English-speaking journalists here at the Press Centre in Seoul were so excited about hearing Pope Francis pronounce his first speech in Korea in their language, they almost forgot to listen to what he said. Nearly all of them awarded him top marks for pronunciation, modulation and tone – which [Read More...]

“This pope means business”

From the pages of Fortune magazine (!), comes this analysis of Pope Francis, businessman and manager: The spiritual shepherd of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, Pope Francis, 77, has already done more in 18 months to energize the church and burnish its image than anyone has since the heyday of John Paul II in [Read More...]

Pope to UN: “I place before you the tears, the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq”

The Vatican has released a letter from Pope Francis to the Secretary General of the United Nations: The letter condemns the violent persecutions underway in the country, and calls on the international community to act swiftly and decisively to stop the humanitarian disaster currently taking place.  Here is the text of the Holy Father’s letter: [Read More...]

Pope appoints personal envoy to Iraq, as US launches first air strikes

From Catholic News Agency:  In light of the increasingly dramatic situation of Christians in Iraq following the expansion of ISIS forces to the plain of Nineveh, Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy.“In light of the grave situation in Iraq, the Holy Father has nominated Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the [Read More...]

Francis remembers Paul

From the CNS blog this morning: Holding his weekly general audience today in the Vatican’s air-conditioned Paul VI audience hall, Pope Francis reminded people that today is the 36th anniversary of the death of the pope who commissioned the hall. Pope Paul VI died Aug. 6, 1978, at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo. [Read More...]

Another papal first? Pope Francis to be interviewed live on radio show

I can’t recall anything quite like this. From CNA:  This Friday Pope Francis will give a live interview on an Argentine radio station that he helped raise the money to found while Archbishop of Buenos Aires.Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., confirmed the event, telling CNA Aug. 4 that although he doesn’t know exactly how [Read More...]

CNN’s “gotcha” piece: Hitting bishops where they live

A few people sent me this link from CNN yesterday, forwarding it with a mix of agitation and umbrage. I meant to get to it and post on it, but stuff—including three Masses and 10 baptisms—kept me occupied most of the day. The piece notes, with a tone of forehead-slapping disbelief, that archbishops tend to [Read More...]