Pope Francis

On 8 February the Catholic Church celebrated the first International day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Slavery.  The date was chosen because it is the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave, who became a Canossian nun. St Josephine Bakhita was born on 8 February 1869 in Sudan to a wealthy family.  She was kidnapped by slave traders at the age of six and given the name of Bakhita (meaning Lucky One).  She was sold and resold in the markets of El...
True and False Reform, Congar, 2010It is clear that the Pope is a reformer. But he cannot be easily categorized as either a progressive or a conservative. Christopher Bellito, a theologian, argues that the best way of understanding him might be to look at the work of the great French theologian Yves Congar, who developed principles that steer between the extremes of tradition and progress as well as between conservation and innovation.  His warning against two extremes or temptations that...
Pope Francis has called for “responsible” parenthood, saying that to be good Catholics people do not need to breed “like rabbits”. Speaking on the flight back to Rome from the Philippines, he was responding to questions from journalists about the size of families and the Church's teaching on birth control.During his visit to Asia, the Pope met with former street children who had been abandoned by their parents because they could not afford to care for them. He was asked whether he felt the...
Tears mingled with heavy rain as Pope Francis met survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. As they recounted their stories of the devastation which claimed almost 7,000 lives in November 2013, he shook his head and shared their suffering in silence.Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle broke down in tears as he asked the Pope whether he wanted to say a few words to them. “You could see the Holy Father shaking his head … and at some moments saying ‘Oh, oh!’ He was suffering,” said the Cardinal...
Pope Francis today begins the second stage of his visit to Asia by flying from Colombo in Sri Lanka to the Philippines capital, Manila. Among the highlights of his trip will be meetings with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, in which more than 6000 people died in November 2013. This will be on Saturday when he flies to Palo to celebrate mass in the Archdiocesan Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration.Palo was founded by the Jesuits in 1596 and the modern Gothic cathedral was constructed...
Lakes in Croatia, credit Bruno Monginoux
The Word emanating from Vatican corridors is that we can expect to see the long awaited environment-themed encyclical at some point during 2015.The exact date has not been disclosed, but it could coincide with Francis’ apostolic visit to the Philippines in January, a country where the Catholic Church has been something of a trailblazer on environmental issues.  Alternative possibilities are April 22 (World Earth Day) or October 4, the Feast of St. Francis (patron saint of ecology).Another...
2015 sees the 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be marked in the UK on Sunday, 18 January. Every year, the Pope issues a message on the theme of refugees and migrants which concludes with a blessing for them.  The message for this year is “The Church without frontiers, Mother to all”. In his message for the Day, Pope Francis says that the Church has a vital role in the breaking down of barriers and that it is not enough simply to tolerate people of different...
Yesterday Pope Francis sharply rebuked Vatican officials in his annual Christmas speech to his Curia staff and local cardinals.  This occasion is traditionally used by popes make a gentle review of the past year’s achievements and set goals for the year ahead.The pope has frequently criticised the Curia’s resistance to reform and lack of human sympathy. In this impassioned and unexpected speech he listed  fifteen diseases to which his officials are particularly prone:1) Feeling...
Pope Francis played a key role in bringing about yesterday’s landmark announcement of the renewal of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States after over 50 years of “Cold War”. According to a Vatican statement Pope Francis wrote to both presidents in the summer, inviting them "to resolve humanitarian questions of common interest, including the situation of certain prisoners, in order to initiate a new phase in relations between the two Parties."...
The Jesuits in Britain are supporting the victims of human trafficking by donating funds raised at Christmas and Easter. The collections at Farm Street Church will go towards the appeal to support victims of Human Trafficking, the Bakhita House Project, and the work of other charities, including the Jesuit Refugee Service, to support victims and to help with the prevention of this form of modern slavery. The parish’s decision comes in response to a request by Cardinal Vincent Nichols over...

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