Entries in Pope Francis (11)


Pope Francis Approves Sainthood for John Paul II, John XXIII

Hulton Archive/UIG via Getty Images(ROME) -- On Friday, Pope Francis approved former Popes John Paul II and John XXIII for sainthood.

Pope Francis waived the requirement of a second miracle attributed to John XXIII, known as "Good Pope John," and officially recognized the second miracle attributed to John Paul II. John Paul II's second miracle is said to be related to intercession.

John Paul II would be the fastest member of the Catholic Church to become a saint in modern history, just eight years after his death. The previous record is held by Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva, who was made a saint in 2002, 27 years after his death, says the Washington Post.

The canonization of John XXIII without a second miracle is uncommon, though not unprecedented. John XXIII himself waived the requirement for St. Gregorio Barbarigo in 1960.

No date was given for the canonization ceremony.

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Pope Francis Takes on the Mob

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(ROME) -- Speaking from his balcony in St. Peter’s Square Sunday, Pope Francis spoke out against the Mafia.

The pope’s harsh words against the mob came the day after a Sicilian anti-Mafia activist priest was beatified by the Catholic Church, a final step before sainthood.

Reverend Giuseppe Puglisi was known for helping young people resist joining the Scicilian mob, the Cosa Nostra. He was murdered by the mafia in Sicily in 1993.

"I think of the great pain suffered by men, women and even children, exploited by so many mafias, who make them slaves, through prostitution, through many social pressures," said Pope Francis, according to BBC News.

"They cannot do this,” the pope said. “They cannot make our brothers slaves."

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Pope Francis Visits, Dines with Pope Emeritus Benedict

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- A historic meeting took place Saturday morning when Pope Francis met for lunch with the Pope Emeritus Benedict.

Pope Francis took a helicopter to meet with the former pope at Castel Gandolfo for a private lunch. The castle has been the home of the pope emeritus since he resigned the post last month. Benedict was the first pope in six centuries to resign, according to BBC News.

Father Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman told reporters that the two popes embraced when they met, before going to the chapel to pray. According to reports, Benedict told Pope Francis to pray on the pontifical pew, but Francis declined. The two prayed together, kneeling at another pew.

Pope Francis gave the pope emeritus an icon depicting The Madonna of Humility, chosen to represent the humility Benedict had shown while serving as pope.

According to BBC News, Saturday's meeting involved the sharing of details related to the handover of the pontificate, including a document related to last year's scandal surrounding leaked documents.

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Thousands Pack St. Peter's Square for Pope Francis' Inaugural Mass

L'Osservatore Romano/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Tens of thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square on Tuesday to welcome Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, and celebrate his inaugural Mass in front of numerous heads of state from around the world.

The 76-year-old Argentine rode around the square in an open-air jeep as he waved and kissed babies along the way.  He exited the jeep at one point to bless a man who was in a wheelchair.

Speaking at his inaugural Mass, Pope Francis reflected on Joseph, whom Catholics consider a saint, and his responsibilities in protecting Jesus and Mary, and said such responsibility extends to the pope himself.

"He is in touch with his surroundings," Francis said.  "He can make truly wise decisions.  In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God's call.  Gladly and willingly."

"In his heart you see great tenderness.  Which is not the virtue of the weak, but rather a sign of strength, of spirit and a capacity of concern for compassion, for genuine openess to others.  For love, the capacity to love," the pope said.

Francis, dressed simply in the papal white cassock, arrived in St. Peter's Square earlier than expected.  Upwards of 200,000 people jammed into the square, according to Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See press office.

People began flooding into St. Peter's square at 6:30 a.m. local time, more than two hours before Pope Francis was schedule to arrive.

During the ceremony, Francis received the Ring of the Fisherman and the pallium, a special circular strip of cloth.  Later, six cardinals approached the pope as an act of obedience to the new pontiff.

In past inaugural Masses, every cardinal in attendance professed his obedience, but Francis shortened that part of the ceremony.

Numerous heads of state from around the world were in attendance.  Delegations from 132 countries were in Rome for the event, according to the Vatican.

The largest delegation, consisting of 19 people, comes from the pope's homeland of Argentina.  The pope's fellow Argentine, President Cristina Kirchner, was in attendance.  They have clashed in the past on social issues, but held a lunchtime meeting on Monday.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is Catholic, represented the United States at the event.  He flew into town Sunday evening.

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Pope Francis to Meet with Argentine President Cristina Kirchner

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff in history, on Monday meets with a familiar face -- in fact, a familiar foe: Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, with whom he has clashed in the past over a slew of social issues.

As then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis was at odds with Kirchner in Argentina as she successfully fought to legalize gay marriage in recent years.  Defying the church, Kirchner adopted a series of measures such as mandatory sex education in schools, free distribution of contraceptives in public hospitals, and the right for transsexuals to change their official identities.

The two compatriots' lunchtime meeting -- Francis' first with a head of state -- will take place at the Santa Marta residence in Vatican City.

Kirchner is one of many world leaders in Rome for the new pontiff's inaugural mass Tuesday morning.  Vice President Joe Biden, representing the United States, arrived Sunday evening.

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Pope Francis Delivers Message of Mercy to Massive Crowd

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Before an astounding crowd of some 300,000 in and around St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis delivered his first angelus as pontiff on Sunday, urging the faithful to be merciful and forgiving.

Hours earlier, the humility and spontaneity of the 76-year-old Argentine was on display when he greeted onlookers near the edge of Vatican City.

As the pope was entering a mass in St. Anna Parish, he decided to stop and greet a crowd of people awaiting his arrival. Walking up to the crowd, Francis shook hands, held a baby, and even motioned for two priests he recognized in the crowd to bypass the barricades and approach him.

It was the latest sign of the informality of the new pontiff. In the days since he was selected by his fellow cardinals to lead the Roman Catholic Church, Francis has shunned the fancy red shoes of his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in favor of simple black shoes, declined a ride in a limousine in favor of a mini-van, and donned simple white robes and a wooden cross. The new informal style has been welcomed by followers and colleagues worldwide.

"I think just the way he is behaving is very discreet. It is very ordinary," Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa said. "It's very much like, 'I am the pope, but I can still sit down at any table with anybody. I can share my stories. I can talk about my life. I can share about my ministry.'"

In St. Peter's Square today, Americans in the crowd marveled at the pope's humility.

"He just seems very humble in the way that he presents himself," said Christina Senour, who now lives in Rome.

"It has really struck me that he is so without frills," added her brother-in-law, David Uebbing.

Uebbing's wife Jennifer predicted that the pope's displays of modesty will help the church grow.

"I think he's working very honestly and simply to transmit his humility to the world and to set an example, to say 'here is the church, it's not rich and grand and aloof, but it is down with the people and for the people,'" she said.

On Tuesday morning, Francis will return to the square for his papacy's inaugural mass.

Vice President Joe Biden is set to arrive in Rome Sunday afternoon to attend the mass. On Monday, Francis is scheduled to meet the president of his homeland, Christina Kirchner, whom he has criticized in the past.

Next weekend, Francis will meet with his predecessor, in a unique and historic meeting between the current pope and a fellow living pope.

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia told reporters Sunday that Francis is delivering a similar message to that delivered by Benedict, who earlier this year became the first pope in nearly six centuries to resign.

"He's pronouncing the same message of God's mercy. That is what is so important," Rigali said of Francis. "But he is doing it in his way, just as Benedict did it in his way.

"We all have our gifts," he added.

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Pope Francis Addresses Media for First Time

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(ROME) -- The newly elected Pope Francis met with thousands of reporters Saturday morning for the first time since he was selected to lead the Catholic Church.

Before the pontiff addressed the media throng, a Vatican spokesman made clear that he would not be answering questions. Pope Francis did speak in 4-5 languages, showcasing his linguistic skills.

Much of the half-hour address was interrupted by laughter and applause, according to USA Today, as the former cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio showed a level of comfort at his new post.

Much of the pope's address made clear that he was determined to make sure that the church understands the needs of the poor around the world. The Vatican gave approximately 5,000 credentials for the event, to media members from 81 different countries.

According to USA Today, the pope explained how he came to select his papal name honoring St. Francis of Assisi, a man who gave away his many riches to work with the poor. Pope Francis also revealed that one of the first things one of his fellow cardinals said to him after the election was decided in his favor was a simple message, "Don't forget the poor."

The message was similar to a speech the pontiff gave about a week before the secret conclave, in which he explained to the other cardinals that it was important for the church to focus on issues outside the realm of the Vatican.

In that speech, which helped convince many of the other cardinals that he was the right leader for the Catholic Church, Cardinal Bergoglio stressed that the core mission must be "humility, dignity and justice," according to the Wall Street Journal.

Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with his predecessor, Benedict XVI next Saturday.

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Humble Beginnings for New Pope

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(ROME) -- Is Pope Francis determined to become the low-profile pontiff?

On his first full day of assuming duties as leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, the new pope seemed to eschew the media spotlight in Rome by leaving through a side door of a basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary after 30 minutes of private prayers.

The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio also returned to the priests' residence on Thursday, where he and other cardinals stayed before the conclave, to fetch his suitcases and pay his bill.

Francis' life has been dedicated to humility as those who know him well have revealed and it was clearly on display immediately following his election Wednesday to replace Benedict XVI when he greeted cardinals while standing instead of taking the throne where new popes traditionally sit for the ceremony.

At one point, the pope also passed up a trip by the papal limousine to the cardinals' residence, preferring to take the bus instead with those who made him pontiff.

Francis, an Argentine who became the first non-European pope since the eighth century, will be formally inaugurated next Tuesday.

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Cardinal: Not a 'Dry Eye in the House' at Pope Francis' Election

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- There was not a "dry eye in the house" at the Sistine Chapel the moment when former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the next pope, with the 115 cardinals meeting for the conclave then bursting into applause, according to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

"[It is] a remarkably emotional experience, even though we weren't surprised, because we could see it coming as the votes was tallied, and we see the direction that the Holy Spirit was leading us," Dolan told ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday.  "But, still, the moment he got to the number needed, 77, was wonderfully inspirational.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the house."

Bergoglio, 76, the cardinal from Buenos Aires, Argentina, from now on to be known as Pope Francis, is the first pope ever from the Americas and the first Jesuit pope.

Dolan described how the nature and identity of Jorge Bergoglio was changed and formed into Pope Francis on Wednesday.

"He was a man who just a couple of hours before we were pouring coffee with and walking through the halls of St. Martha and chatting with," he said.  "Now, all of a sudden, he's our holy father, and we're pledging him our love, and our allegiance, and our loyalty and our prayer."

Pope Francis was described as "serene" at the time of his election.

"As it became clear to all of us that he was probably going to be the man, we watched him closely, and he was remarkably at peace," Dolan said.  "He did not seem to be rattled, and did not seem to agonize over things.  He was just a man of resignation."

On his first full day as the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, Pope Francis was rumored to plan to do something no other pope has had the option of doing for centuries: meet with a predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  The Vatican said early on Thursday that Pope Francis won't be calling on his predecessor, but would see him another day.

After Bergoglio was chosen by his peers Wednesday, Dolan told reporters Francis expressed a desire to meet with Benedict on Thursday.

"Very touchingly," Dolan said Wednesday, "he said tomorrow -- we knew we were going to have Mass with him in the Sistine Chapel -- he said, 'Is it OK if we have Mass in the afternoon together because in the morning I want to visit former Pope Benedict?' which is very beautiful."

Benedict has retired to Castel Gondolfo, approximately 30 miles away from the Vatican.

Pope Francis opened his first morning as pontiff by praying Thursday morning at Rome's main basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  The coming days will be busy ones for Pope Francis.

The new pope will celebrate a Mass on Thursday at the altar in front of Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" in the Sistine Chapel, as dictated by tradition, and he will pray at Rome's St. Mary Major basilica.

On Friday, he will hold an audience with the cardinals in the Sala Clementina in the Apostolic Palace.

On Saturday, it will be time to meet the media: a morning session with journalists in the Paul VI Audience hall.

Finally, on Sunday, the pope will recite the Angelus from the window of his papal apartment.

The main event, though, will come on Tuesday morning with the new pontiff's installation mass.  The ceremony will take place on the church feast day of St. Joseph, a holiday for many in Rome, and Father's Day in Italy.  Vice President Joe Biden will lead the delegation from the United States.

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Pope Francis’ Official Schedule

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has taken the name of Pope Francis, became the new leader of the Catholic Church on Wednesday.

Bergoglio, 76, is a Jesuit from Buenos Aires and is the first pope from South America.  He is also the first pope to take the name of Francis.

“Let’s pray always for each other.  Let’s pray for the whole world.  May there be a great brotherhood,” Pope Francis said in Italian.

Here’s a look at the new pontiff’s schedule for the next coming days:

  • March 14: At 5 p.m., the pope will concelebrate mass with the Cardinal Electors in the Sistine chapel.
  • March 15: At 11 a.m. the Holy Father will have an audience with all the cardinals in the Sala Clementina in the Apostolic Palace.
  • March 16: At 11 a.m. the pope will hold an audience for journalists in the Paul VI Audience hall.
  • March 17: The pope will recite the Angelus from the window of the Papal apartment at noon.
  • March 19: On the Feast of St. Joseph, there will be the mass for the solemn inauguration of the Pontificate in St. Peter’s Square at 9:30 a.m.
  • March 20: The pope will have an audience with the Fraternal Delegates.  There will not be a general audience.

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