WASHINGTON - The president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said the organization is pleased to be "going on with our normal life, so to speak," now that the Vatican's mandate to reform the group has concluded.

Published in Faith

CATANIA, Italy - Sitting outside the central train station here in eastern Sicily, a 16-year-old who would only give his name as “Simon” hunched his knees up to his chest and wrapped himself up into a ball. With little spoken English, the teenager from Eritrea has taken to miming the way he travelled across the Mediterranean.

Published in International

Pope Francis has declared a special jubilee to help the world encounter the awesome, awful and awe-filled mercy of God. The world prefers cheap grace, and thinks it can get it from the Holy Father. The world — represented recently by Raul Castro and Al Gore — will be disappointed.

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

NEW YORK - Fr. Martin Schlag is a trained economist as well as a Catholic moral theologian, and when he first read some of Pope Francis’ powerful critiques of the current free market system he had the same thought a lot of Americans did: “Just horrible.”

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Promoting dialogue, education and strong families, the Catholic Church in Africa fulfills its mission to proclaim God's love and to work for the common good, Pope Francis said in separate meetings with the bishops of Mozambique and of Togo.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - When Pope Francis tweets, the world listens.

According to “Twiplomacy,” a study of the Twitter accounts of world leaders and their retweet rates, U.S. President Barack Obama has the most Twitter followers, but Pope Francis’ @Pontifex is the most influential Twitter account — his average “retweet” and “favorite” rate is more than eight times higher than Obama’s.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - After spending close to an hour with Pope Francis, Cuban President Raul Castro told reporters he is so impressed by what the Pope does and says that he might start praying and could even return to the church.

Published in International

With Catholics anticipating Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on the environment, many are looking to discuss how they can be stewards of creation within their own communities.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

NEW YORK - It used to be that just saying the words “liberation theology” around Catholics was enough to start a schism-level fight, or at least raise a red flag in Rome.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Never let practice and competition get in the way of going to Mass, studying for school, being with friends and helping the poor, Pope Francis told an Italian sports association.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Catholic charities around the world have no doubt about the reality of a "Francis effect" on their work.
Because of the ongoing global economic crisis, most of the 164 national Catholic charities that form the Caritas Internationalis confederation report no significant increase in donations. However, the secretary-general of the Vatican-based network says Pope Francis has had a huge impact on their programs and priorities, on the number of volunteers and, especially, on their sharing.

Published in International

The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis by Garry Wills. (Penguin, 288 pages, hardcover, $32.95)

At first glance, Garry Wills’ latest book might appear to offer insight into the life and intentions of Pope Francis. But anyone familiar with Wills’ polarizing views might well guess that is not the case. He does discuss Pope Francis — in the introduction and in the epilogue — but his treatment of the Pope is minimal.

Published in Book News

Perhaps the single, most-often quoted line from Pope Francis is his response to a question he was asked vis-à-vis the morality of a particularly dicey issue. His, infamous-famous reply: “Who am I to judge?”

Published in Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Some time next month the Vatican will release the Pope’s much-anticipated encyclical on the environment. It will be the first time a pope has devoted an encyclical to environmental matters and already critics are questioning Pope Francis’ qualifications to address this complex scientific issue.

Published in Editorial

IRBIL, Iraq - The head of the Vatican's Congregation for Eastern Churches visited Iraq to convey Pope Francis' blessing and concern for Church officials and the displaced living and working in difficult circumstances.

Published in International