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Pope Francis


  • Originally published 04/19/2013

    Francis to 'open files on Hitler's Pope'

    Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who has known the Argentine former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio for 20 years, said he had discussed the role of Pius XII – the man long dubbed as "Hitler's Pope" – at length with the new pontiff.The Rabbi, who recently co-authored On Heaven and Earth, a book of interviews with his friend, said he had made clear that he thought Pius's legacy ought to be "investigated thoroughly"."It's a terribly sensitive issue, but he says that it must be investigated thoroughly," he said. "I have no doubt that he will move to open the archives."...

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Pope Francis links Turin Shroud to Jesus Christ as cloth is shown on television for Easter

    Francis made his first remarks on the mysterious cloth since being elected Pope in a special video message as the shroud was shown live on television for only the second time in its history.His remarks came on Holy Saturday, which falls between the commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.Francis referred to the 14ft-long strip of sepia fabric, which is imprinted with the face and body of a bearded man, as “the Holy Shroud” and asked: “How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this icon of a man scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth....

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    The Pope and the Nuns

    Image via Flickr.As soon as it was determined that the smoke was indeed white, thousands of Facebook posts, tweets, and texts began to document reactions to the election of Pope Francis. Initial cryptic comments included: “This is a surprise”; “Jesuit pope”; “Love him already”; and some cautious remarks about his aversion to liberation theology, especially as practiced by Latin American priests and nuns. Since that day, the election and recent installation of Pope Francis to the throne of Peter has continued to generate articles, commentaries, and conversations on social media sites expressing opinions about the first Latin American pontiff, and suggesting an agenda that would, in their opinion, revitalize an ancient church that is struggling to remain vibrant in the twenty-first century.

  • Originally published 03/29/2013

    Pope washes women's feet in break with church law

    ROME (AP) — In his most significant break with tradition yet, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of two young women at a juvenile detention center — a surprising departure from church rules that restrict the Holy Thursday ritual to men.No pope has ever washed the feet of a woman before, and Francis' gesture sparked a debate among some conservatives and liturgical purists, who lamented he had set a "questionable example." Liberals welcomed the move as a sign of greater inclusiveness in the church.Speaking to the young offenders, including Muslims and Orthodox Christians, Francis said that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service....

  • Originally published 03/24/2013

    Papa Francesco: A New Era?

    Pope Francis in Brazil on March 20. Credit: Wiki Commons.With their unending infatuation with the exotica of ritual and royalty, all of the networks provided extensive coverage of the papal resignation and election.Expect the same when Queen Elizabeth II either dies or abdicates.The appearance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires on the loggia of St. Peter’s was greeted by a brief moment of surprise (conclave coverage suggested we would be seeing Pope Angelo Scola or Odilo Scherer -- the Italian Episcopal Conference even e-mailed an erroneous congratulations to Scola -- the papal version of “Dewey Defeats Truman.”) Then crowd went wild as the huge bell on St. Peter’s pealed out the glad tidings.

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    HNN Hot Topics: Pope Francis

    News Priest 'not denounced' by pope (3-20-13) Slum Priests: Pope Francis's Early Years (3-20-13) Francis and Argentina's "disappeared" (3-14-13) Did Pope Francis collaborate with the Argentine junta? (3-13-13) Why the new pope's name matters (3-12-13) Commentary: Historians

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Priest 'not denounced' by pope

    Francisco Jalics, a Hungarian native who now lives in a German monastery, said that he was following up on comments about the case last week because he had received a lot of questions and "some commentaries imply the opposite of what I meant."He did not elaborate.Fr Jalics and another priest, Orlando Yorio, were kidnapped in 1976.Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has said he told the priests to give up their work in slums for their own safety, and they refused. Yorio, who is now dead, later accused Fr Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work....

  • Originally published 03/21/2013

    Slum Priests: Pope Francis's Early Years

    For Father Gustavo Carrara, a day's work might mean finding someone to accompany a pregnant drug addict to the hospital, seeking housing for a homeless orphan, or consoling a woman whose husband was killed in a narco-fueled gunfight. Carrara runs the Saint Mary Mother of the People parish, located inside Villa 1-11-14, one of Buenos Aires' largest and most dangerous slums. He was recruited personally to serve there by Pope Francis I, who was then Archbishop of Buenos Aires."Padre Francis, who was then Padre Bergoglio, came to me as I was working as a deacon elsewhere and asked me to work as a priest in one of the villas," explains Carrara. He knew that the job would not be easy. Far from the Buenos Aires of postcards, with its leafy avenues, sultry tango and Francophile architecture, the city's slums, or villas miserias, are so savage that even ambulances and police have refused to enter. Still, Carrara claims, "I did not hesitate."...

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    A Pope of Firsts, But Will Francis Actually Change the Vatican?

    Pope Francis at the Vatican. Credit: Flickr/mazur.Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, was installed on the feast day of St. Joseph as the 266th pope over the Holy Roman Catholic Church. For a religious historian like myself, his appointment has been a dizzying number of firsts: the first Jesuit to become pope, the first pope in the modern era to succeed a pope, Benedict XVI, who is still alive, the first pope from Latin America, and the first to take the name of Francis.While all of these firsts are important, they also must pass through the prism of the Jesuits' history, the Catholic Church’s history in Latin America, and by Bergogolio’s own history in Argentina during the Dirty War. While Pope Francis’s ascension to the petrine throne may signal some change in the manner in which the papacy is lived out in front of the world, will it engender real, substantive changes in the Catholic Church, and its worldwide following?

  • Originally published 03/14/2013

    Francis and Argentina’s "disappeared"

    Like many other older churchmen, politicians and businessmen in Argentina, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been questioned by some for his role during this country’s bloody 1976–83 military dictatorship, when tens of thousands of young dissidents were made to “disappear” in the death camps set up by the generals who ruled the country.The Catholic Church in Argentina realized that its behavior during that dark period was so unsaintly that in 2000 it made a public apology for its failure to take a stand against the generals. “We want to confess before God everything we have done badly,” Argentina’s Episcopal Conference said at that time. “We share everyone’s pain and once again ask the forgiveness of everyone we failed or didn’t support as we should have,” Argentina’s bishops said in a statement again last year after former dictator Jorge Videla, now serving a life sentence, claimed in an interview that he had received the blessing of the country’s top clergymen for the actions of his regime....

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