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Pope honors Jesuit killed in Syria, pleads for end to violence

Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt chats with civilians in early January, urging them to be patient, in the besieged area of Homs, Syria. The Jesuits said April 7 that the Dutch priest, who had worked in Syria since 1966, was beaten by armed men and killed with two bullets to the head. (CNS photo/Thaer Al Khalidiya, Reuters)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said the assassination of “my confrere,” a 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit in Syria, “filled me with deep sadness and made me think again of all the people who suffer and are dying in that martyred country.” Continue reading

 
Pope Francis, Obama meet privately at Vatican for 50 minutes

Pope Francis walks with U.S. President Barack Obama during a private audience at the Vatican March 27. (CNS photo/Gabriel Bouys, pool via Reuters) (March 27, 2014

 

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis received U.S. President Barack Obama at the Vatican March 27. In what was their first encounter, the two leaders spoke in private for more than 50 minutes, an extraordinarily long time for such a meeting. Continue reading

 
For Pope Francis, a year of reform and evangelization
Pope Francis blesses a child as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 26. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters) (Feb. 26, 2014) See POPE-AUDIENCE Feb. 26, 2014.

Pope Francis blesses a child as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 26. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

By Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service 

VATICAN CITY — As leader of the universal church, a pope must direct his ministry in both of the ways traditionally described by the Latin terms “ad intra” and “ad extra”: inwardly to the church itself, and outwardly to the rest of the world. Continue reading

 
Pope Francis has ‘added new life’ to office he holds, U.S. bishops say
From the moment Pope Francis, dressed simply in a white cassock, stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica for the first time and bowed March 13, 2013, he signaled his pontificate would bring some style differences to the papacy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Feb. 27, 2014) See FRANCIS-STYLE Feb. 27, 2014.

From the moment Pope Francis, dressed simply in a white cassock, stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica for the first time and bowed March 13, 2013, he signaled his pontificate would bring some style differences to the papacy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — In his first year as the 265th successor of Peter, Pope Francis “has brought to light new dimensions of the Petrine ministry and added new life to the office he holds,” the U.S. bishops’ Administrative Committee said March 11.

He has done this in many ways, the committee said, including by consistently calling on Catholics “to look again at the fundamental values of the Gospel” and encouraging “us to be a church of the poor and for the poor, reaching out to the marginalized and being present to those on the periphery of society.” Continue reading

 
Lent comes ‘to reawaken us,’ pope says at Ash Wednesday Mass
Pope Francis places ashes on head of Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome March 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (March 5, 2014) See POPE-ASHWEDNESDAY March 5, 2014.

Pope Francis places ashes on head of Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome March 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service 

ROME — Lent is meant to wake up Christians and help them see that God can give them the strength to change their lives and their surroundings, Pope Francis said.

Before receiving and distributing ashes at an evening Mass March 5, Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis gave a homily focused on a line from the prophet Joel: “Rend your hearts, not your garments.” Continue reading

 
10 things most people don’t know about Pope Francis
Swiss Guards salute as Pope Francis leaves a meeting of cardinals in the synod hall at the Vatican Feb. 21. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Feb. 21, 2014) See CARDINALS-FAMILY Feb. 21, 2014.

Swiss Guards salute as Pope Francis leaves a meeting of cardinals in the synod hall at the Vatican Feb. 21. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — When Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran walked onto the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, telling the crowds in Latin: “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope!” not many people recognized the name of then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Now, just one year since his March 13, 2013, election, there are still many things most people do not know about the 265th successor of Peter. Continue reading

 
Go directly to confession, don’t wait, pope says at audience
Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Feb. 19, 2014) See POPE-AUDIENCE Feb. 19, 2014.

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Feb. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — If you haven’t been to confession recently, don’t wait, Pope Francis told people at his weekly general audience. One may walk into the confessional with a heavy heart, but forgiveness brings freedom and lightness.

“If a lot of time has passed, don’t lose even one more day. Go,” the pope said Feb. 19, promising that “the priest will be good. Jesus will be there and he’s even nicer than the priest.” Continue reading

 
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lives low-key life one year after resignation

This image is a screenshot from a video wherein Pope Benedict XVI announced his intention to resign as pope. One year later, he lives a low-key life still in the Vatican.

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — In retirement, Pope Benedict XVI follows a daily schedule similar to that of any retired bishop or religious: He prays, reads, strolls, talks with people and offers them spiritual advice, the Vatican spokesman said.

Although he “lives in a low-key way, without public attention, that does not mean he’s isolated or enclosed in a strict cloister,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio. Continue reading

 
U.N. Committee demands Vatican action on clerical abuse charges
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican observer at the United Nations in Geneva, is pictured during a town hall discussion on migration hosted by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See at the Pontifical North American College in Rome March 8. Archbishop Tomasi said the church sees migration as a positive phenomenon. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (March 8, 2012) See MIGRATION-OPPORTUNITY March 8, 2012.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican observer at the United Nations in Geneva, is pictured during a town hall discussion on migration hosted by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See at the Pontifical North American College in Rome March 8. Archbishop Tomasi said the church sees migration as a positive phenomenon. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child continued to insist that the Vatican compile and publish detailed statistics on clerical sexual abuse of minors and that the pope, as head of the church, can and should order Catholic dioceses and religious orders around the world to implement all the policies of the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child. Continue reading

 
Pope’s Lenten Message: Follow Jesus in seeking out the poor and sinners
Pope Francis waves as he leaves general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican

Pope Francis waves as he leaves his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Jan. 29. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Courageously follow Jesus in seeking out the poor and sinners, and in making difficult sacrifices in order to help and heal others, Pope Francis said.

Christians are called to confront the material, spiritual and moral destitution of “our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it,” the pope said in his first message for Lent, which begins March 5 for Latin-rite Catholics. Continue reading