Pope Francis has denounced arms traffickers who are fueling what he calls the piecemeal “world war” raging around the globe, saying they are “damned” delinquents interested only in making money. Francis delivered one of the most pained homilies of his pontificate Thursday during morning Mass in the Vatican hotel chapel. He didn’t mention the Paris attacks by name, but referred to little wars being fought around the globe. ...He continued: “Those who make war are damned, they’re delinquents. War can be ‘justified’ for many reasons. But when the whole world is at war, as it is today … there is no justification. And God weeps.”
Pope Francis met privately in Washington last week with Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a Vatican spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. Ms. Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, has been at the center of a nationwide controversy over whether government employees and private businesses have a legal right to refuse to serve same-sex couples. She spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue the licenses. On Tuesday night, her lawyer, Mathew D. Staver, said in a telephone interview that Ms. Davis and her husband, Joe, were sneaked into the Vatican Embassy by car on Thursday afternoon. Francis gave her rosaries and told her to “stay strong,” the lawyer said. The couple met for about 15 minutes with the pope, who was accompanied by security guards, aides and photographers. Mr. Staver said he expected to receive photographs of the meeting from the Vatican soon. On Wednesday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that the meeting took place, but he declined to elaborate. “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add,” he said.
The pope stopped by a nearby seminary for a rest after presiding over a Mass at Philadelphia’s cathedral in the morning, where he called on women and youth to play a greater role in strengthening the Catholic Church in America, while keeping the institution’s existing authority in place. In his homily, the pope singled out the story of Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia-born heiress who became a nun and then, after her death, a saint. Pope Francis told the story of how Drexel had asked Pope Leo XIII for help with American missions and the pope replied, 'What are you going to do?' At Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis repeated that question in Spanish, “y tu?” — and what about you? — again and again as he reflected on the church’s role in a changing society and urged the faithful to support women and youth.
Just in: Vatican spokesman says Pope Francis has met with Little Sisters of the Poor, who are suing over ACA contraceptive mandate #PopeInDC— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) September 24, 2015
Francis has blasted gun manufacturers, likening them to hypocrites. And in a series of tough speeches, Francis has railed against global capitalism, even calling it a "subtle dictatorship." Such comments make many Republicans cringe.
On the eve of Pope Francis' historic first visit to the United States, law enforcement officials are concerned terrorists could disguise themselves as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians to carry out attacks, according to a report from NBC News Monday. A memo titled "First Responder Impersonators: The New Terrorist Threat," from the Pennsylvania State Police's Criminal Intelligence Center and sent to law enforcement, warned that terrorists could falsely identify themselves as first responders to enter secure areas and carry out attacks. "The impersonators' main goals are to further their attack plan and do harm to unsuspecting citizens as well as members of the emergency services community," the memo read, according to NBC News.This contrasts to a security incident that occurred in 2013, during the papal visit to Brazil:
Pope Francis landed in Cuba on Saturday, quickly calling on the communist nation to "open itself to the world," while praising its recent restoration of diplomatic ties with the United States. Francis was greeted by President Raul Castro at Jose Marti International airport in Havana, where the pontiff urged Cuba to grant its people the "freedom, the means and the space" to practice their religion, an implicit criticism of the sharp restrictions the country has placed on faith.Obama should be grateful to the pontiff, who helped the President achieve a very rare foreign policy "success". If he is, the Obama sure has a strange way of showing it.
In a stunning show of political indecorum, Obama has invited a series of individuals who publicly flout Catholic teaching, including a pro-abortion religious sister, a transgender woman and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, along with at least two Catholic gay activists.Truly, this is the sort of SmartPowerTM move we have come to expect from the White House.
...The drop in the pope's favorable rating is driven by a decline among Catholics and political conservatives, two groups that have been ardent supporters of the modern papacy. Seventy-one percent of Catholics say they have a favorable image of Francis, down from 89% last year. Pope Francis' drop in favorability is even starker among Americans who identify as conservative -- 45% of whom view him favorably, down sharply from 72% last year. This decline may be attributable to the pope's denouncing of "the idolatry of money" and linking climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality -- all issues that are at odds with many conservatives' beliefs.Why the plunge? As an independent conservative who is also Catholic, I must admit I am none too thrilled at the attacks on capitalism as a "structurally perverse" global economic system. I assert that these remarks that are too political and secular for a man who should be focused on more spiritual matters.
The unexpected leak of Pope Francis’ much-anticipated environmental encyclical has meant the return of something that not long ago was fairly common around the Vatican but had become often dormant during the two-plus years of Francis’ mostly charmed papacy: intrigue. Who leaked it and why? Was this the work of frustrated conservatives in the Vatican, as some experts have speculated? Does it portend big fights at a pivotal October meeting in which church officials are expected to grapple with homosexuality and divorce? Or is it just a tempest in a teapot? “Somebody inside the Vatican leaked the document with the obvious intention of embarrassing the pope,” said Robert Mickens, a longtime Vatican expert and editor of Global Pulse, an online Catholic magazine.In the wake of this incident, the Vatican revoked the credentials of Sandro Magister, the Italian journalist who has been reporting on the behind-the-scenes development of the papal document.
Pope Francis has condemned the "complicit silence" about the killing of Christians during a Good Friday service in Rome. Tens of thousands of pilgrims joined him for the Way of the Cross ceremony, recalling Jesus' crucifixion. Among the cross bearers were Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and Nigerians who had escaped Boko Haram persecution.
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