All the initial signs from Pope Francis seem to be impressive. He is reforming the image of the Catholic church from the inside out. In an interview with the Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica, he stated: "We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards." The church had become tied up in "small-minded rules" and risked losing its true purpose. It "must work to heal the wounds of its faithful and seek out those who have been excluded or have fallen away." … [Read more...] about Can Pope Francis, the great reformer, make things better for gay people too?
Can politicians emulate this pope's bold symbolic language? They'd be laughed at and called cynics. So why can he get away with it? The word we are looking for is authenticity. Pope Francis appears utterly authentic and honest. He does not seem cynical in this image because we accept his sincerity and seriousness. This is what politicians have lost in modern democracies. It is why people turn to Russell Brand. There is a deep crisis of belief in democratically elected leaders but Pope Francis has the answer: you who seek to lead, look at this picture, it has a message for you. … [Read more...] about Pope Francis kisses a disfigured man – and shows politicians the lost virtue of humility
Introvigne cautioned that the persistence of the Francis effect would depend on how parish priests dealt with those who had previously abandoned their faith: "whether they are made to feel welcome" and whether they were given a proper re-introduction to Catholicism. … [Read more...] about ‘Pope Francis effect’ credited with boosting Italian congregations
However, the pope's spokesman, Federico Lombardi, on Monday stressed that the arrangement had its limits. Although the cardinals would be called on to advise the pope and would give the church another "means of consultation", there was no question about who would be having the final say. … [Read more...] about Pope Francis to meet cardinals for historic talks on church reforms
Looking up from his notes to address the massed ranks of cardinals, he told them: "A cardinal – I say this especially to you – enters the church of Rome, my brothers, not a [royal] court. May all of us avoid, and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favouritism and partiality." … [Read more...] about Pope Francis urges new cardinals to avoid Vatican intrigue and gossip
He has graced the cover of Rolling Stone, been depicted as a street-art superhero and is greeted by crowds of adoring fans wherever he goes. But Pope Francis has told a newspaper he has had enough of the hero worship that has accompanied his year-long papacy, describing it as offensive and insisting he is just "a normal person". … [Read more...] about Pope Francis rejects hero-worship and says he is a normal person
Last July, Father Bernd Hagenkord, a colleague of Lovett's at Vatican Radio, was expecting a quiet news day. The pope was flying back from World Catholic Youth Day in Rio. Nothing to report then. But when Hagenkord tuned into a live feed, he discovered that an unplanned and unprecedented press conference was taking place at the back of the papal plane. "I was shocked. It was so dangerous. As he answered questions I was thinking: 'OK, you answered that one well. Now please stop!'" Francis carried on for 80 minutes. When one journalist, scarcely believing her luck, took the opportunity to ask about the existence of a "gay lobby" inside the Vatican, the pope chose to make a broader point. "If someone is gay, and they seek the Lord, and they are in good faith, who am I to judge?" Instantly, the apparently off-the-cuff comment made headlines around the world. To give some context, Benedict had described homosexuality as an "intrinsic disorder". … [Read more...] about Pope Francis: revitalising the Catholic church
But in Corriere della Sera, Francis praised Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae of 1968, which reaffirmed the church's longstanding ban on the use of artificial contraception. Pope Paul did this in the teeth of a major consultation with scientists, doctors and theologians who recommended lifting the ban. His decision undermined the credibility of the church in the eyes of many, if not most, Catholics. Last week, Francis said Pope Paul's "genius was prophetic, he had the courage to side against the majority, defend moral discipline, put a brake on the culture, oppose neo-Malthusianism, present and future" – though he added that the church should take care to apply its teaching against artificial birth control with "much mercy". … [Read more...] about Pope Francis: has his revolution even started?
The interview took place in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse, where Francis has lived since his election. The former editor of La Repubblica said the pope had jokingly said to him: "Some of my colleagues have told me you will try to convert me [to atheism]." When the Italian replied that his friends had said any conversion would probably be the other way round, Francis replied: "Proselytism is solemn nonsense; it doesn't make sense." … [Read more...] about Pope Francis eager to lose ‘narcissistic’ nature of papal court
In an 84-page apostolic exhortation, his most important written intervention to date, Francis explored the issues he has made the pillars of his papacy, such as the need for ethical reform of the global financial system and a more pastoral church that gets "bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets". … [Read more...] about Pope says Catholic church must decentralise and tackle poverty