Pope Francis

Pope Francis has created a commission to study whether women could serve as deacons within the Roman Catholic Church.

News.va, the official news network for the Vatican, announced the commission of seven men and six women on its website:

Pope Francis says it is wrong to equate violence with Islam, adding that "I do not believe that it is true or right that Islam is terrorist."

On a flight back to the Vatican after a five-day visit to Poland, Francis was asked by a reporter about remarks he made following last week's attack on a church in northern France in which an elderly priest was brutally murdered. The reporter asked the pope why he refers to terrorists but never to Islam when talking about such violent incidents.

Pope Francis visited the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz on Friday, keeping a near-total silence to honor the more than 1 million people — almost all of them Jews — who were systematically killed there during World War II.

He said a few quiet words to a group of survivors of the concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, and wrote the following message in Spanish: "Lord, have mercy on your people. Lord, forgive us for so much cruelty."

Aboard a flight home from Armenia, Pope Francis fielded a pointed question from reporters: Did he agree with German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who, in the wake of the Orlando shooting, said gays deserve an apology from the Church?

His answer was frank.

Illustration by Amanda Rabines / WLRN

Pope Francis and Imam Syed Rahman share a problem. They want to have it both ways when it comes to LGBT people.

The Pope tells us to love gays and lesbians. Yet he sticks with the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine that homosexuality is a mortal sin.

Dario Lopez-Mills / AP via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

The last time I reported from Juárez, Mexico, about five years ago, it was the most murderous city in the world – a desert slaughterhouse for drug lords like Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán.

One evening a colleague and I popped into Juárez’s most famous bar, the Kentucky Club (supposedly the birthplace of the margarita). We had the place to ourselves. A homicide rate of more than 200 per 100,000 residents tends to depress nightlife.

Pope Francis, in an address to a joint meeting of Congress, encouraged lawmakers to work together to solve the problems of ordinary Americans and to show compassion for people across the globe who are suffering from war and hunger.

The Sounds Of Pope Francis' Visit To Cuba

Sep 22, 2015
Alex Castro / AP

The first three days of Pope Francis' whirlwind binational trip took him to the home of a world famous communist leader and through the streets of a little-known Cuban town.

The pope's message of embracing change found its literal representation in the further opening of Cuba, which has spent decades shrouded in secrecy, to media outlets and TV screens worldwide.

His three-day visit to the communist island ended Tuesday and was immediately followed by his arrival in Washington, D.C. and a welcome from President Obama. It is the first U.S. visit for the 78-year-old pope. 

President Obama is taking some heat over who's been invited to attend Pope Francis' large arrival ceremony at the White House this Wednesday. The list includes the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, an activist nun and a transgender activist — guests the Vatican reportedly objected to, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Alessandra Tarantino / AP

Just as Cuba prepares for its first papal visit in 17 years -- one laden with questions of human rights, religious devotion and the future of normalizing relations -- the Obama administration released a new set of trade rules Friday morning in an effort to further thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations.

The rules will take effect Monday, and aim to weaken the U.S. trade embargo imposed on the island nation since 1962.

Pope Francis' Visit Means More Than Religion To Cubans

Sep 20, 2015
Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Pope Francis' arrival in Cuba was met at Havana's Plaza de la Revolución by 300,000 spectators who braved the heat Sunday morning to hear the Holy Father deliver Mass and talk about the need to serve. 

"The importance of one person is always based on how they serve the frailty of their brothers," the pope told the assembled crowd. "In this we find one of the true fruits of humanity. Because, brothers and sisters, those who don't live to serve, do not have a life worth living."

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

As Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Cuba on Sunday, Cuban-Americans did the same here in South Florida – but most prayed that the Pope would convince Cuba’s communist leader, Raúl Castro, to adopt more democratic reforms on the island.

At La Ermita Roman Catholic church in Coconut Grove – a shrine to Cuba’s patron saint, Our Lady of Charity – Sunday morning Mass was standing-room-only. And many had just finished listening to Pope Francis’ homily live from Havana on Spanish-language radio.

Belen Jesuit Students Pray For Pope's Visit To Cuba

Sep 18, 2015
John O'Connor / WLRN

Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba and the United States is being closely watched by students at a school that once moved from Cuba to South Florida.

Hundreds of Belen Jesuit Preparatory students gathered before classes Friday morning to send prayers to Pope Francis before his arrival in Cuba.

The first Latin American pope will celebrate Mass in three Cuban cities before continuing on to Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia.

Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald

Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba this weekend showcases the island’s Roman Catholic recovery after half a century of communism.

But that narrative is misleading. In reality, Catholicism wasn’t all that vibrant in Cuba before communism.

Pope Francis will give 18 speeches in five days during his visit to the United States.

Of those 18 speeches, the Argentine will deliver four in English; he'll deliver the rest in his native Spanish.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Tuesday that while Francis polished his English during recent trips to Asia, he finds it easier to express himself in Spanish.

Francis' speech at the White House and his speech to Congress will be in English, as will two greetings to U.N. staff and benefactors in Philadelphia.

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