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...]

Obama quotes the pope in economic address

Details, from the AP:  The Pope is making the world sit up and pay attention to poverty with his dedication to serving the poor, and it looks like world leaders are taking a leaf out of his book, including President Obama. During a Wednesday speech on income equality, Obama remarked, “Across the developed world, inequality has [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 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...]

“We need to create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church…”

From Pope Francis’s “The Joy of the Gospel”:  102. “Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the People of God. The minority – ordained ministers – are at their service. There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church. We can count on many lay [Read More...]

Pew: No “Francis Effect” in U.S.

From Reuters:  The popularity of Pope Francis, who became pontiff in March, has failed to draw more U.S. Catholics to attend Mass, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Monday. While media reports indicate a significant rise in church attendance in some European countries in recent months, the United States saw a slight [Read More...]

Papa, don’t preach: Pope Francis, the nudge

CNS takes note of an interesting papal characteristic: nagging.  To wit: When Pope Francis mills through the crowds, especially during a Wednesday general audience, people notice his warmth and tenderness, whether he’s caressing a baby, comforting an older person or hugging someone with a disability. But he also has a “nagging” side, a playful side [Read More...]