FaithWorld

Mega salaries are evil, papal preacher tells Vatican Good Friday service

(Pope Francis lies on the ground as he prays during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 18, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer)

The Vatican’s official preacher, at a Good Friday service attended by Pope Francis, said huge salaries and the world financial crisis were modern evils caused by the “cursed hunger for gold”.

The pope presided at a “Passion of the Lord” service in St. Peter’s Basilica, the first of two papal events on the day Christians around the world commemorate Jesus’ death by crucifixion.

The long service is one of the few times during the year that the pope listens while someone else preaches.

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, whose title is “preacher of pontifical household,” weaved his sermon around the character of Judas Iscariot, who the Bible says betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Queen Elizabeth gives Pope Francis eggs, whisky, beer at Vatican meeting

(Britain’s Queen Elizabeth (C) and Prince Philip (L) present gifts to Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

Queen Elizabeth met Pope Francis for the first time on Thursday and gave a bemused pontiff culinary delights from the royal estates, including a dozen eggs and a bottle of whisky.

“I’ve also brought something from all our estates, which is for you personally,” said the queen, wearing a lavender dress and a purple hat, as she handed Francis a wicker basket full of food at the end of a 17-minute private meeting in the Vatican.

Vatican removes German ‘bishop of bling’ over luxury home

(A car drives past the residence of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst next to Limburg Cathedral (L) in Limburg October 14, 2013.REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

The Vatican has removed a German bishop because he spent 31 million euros ($43 million) of Church funds on an extravagant residence when Pope Francis was preaching austerity.

It said the atmosphere in the diocese of Limburg had become such that Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst could no longer carry out a “fruitful exercise” of his ministry there.

Timeline: The first year of the papacy of Francis

(Pope Francis on the flight to Rome from Brazil where he made his “who am I to judge?” comment, July 29, 2013. REUTERS/Luca Zennaro/Pool)

Below is a timeline of the major events since then and the key decisions he has made.

March 14: On the morning after his election, the pope makes a surprise visit to the Rome hotel for clerics where he was staying before his election and pays the bill.

Most memorable quotes of Pope Francis from his first year

(Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina appears on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica after being elected by the conclave of cardinals, at the Vatican, March 13, 2013. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez )

Thursday marks the first anniversary of the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis, the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years.

Below are some memorable quotes from the pontiff, arranged in chronological order.

In Vatican shake-up, Pope Francis redefines the role of his second-in-command

(Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic palace in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 9, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi )

When he was elected a year ago, Pope Francis promised to shake up the bureaucracy of the world’s smallest country. He has started at the top – curbing the once-overarching role of the secretary of state.

The cardinal who oversees the Vatican’s relations with other countries has served as the top ranking official in the Holy See’s bureaucracy since the 17th century. And in recent decades the office accumulated increasing authority over finances and job hires, taking on roles analogous to prime minister and chief of staff in the papal court, as well as that of top diplomat.

Pope Francis confesses to pilfering a cross from a dead priest

(Pope Francis at the Vatican June 17, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

Pope Francis revealed on Thursday he had succumbed to “that thief in all of us” and broke the seventh commandment by stealing a small cross from the coffin of a priest so he could remember the man.

In off-the-cuff comments to Roman priests (here in English and in Italian), Francis recalled when he was in his native Buenos Aires, he went to the funeral of an elderly priest he admired.

He noticed that there were no flowers in the coffin. He bought some and laid them out in the coffin where the dead priest was holding a rosary in his hand.

Italian publisher launches Pope fan magazine, including centerfold pictures

(Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead the general audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

An Italian publisher on Wednesday launched a fan magazine devoted exclusively to Pope Francis – including a centerfold – just as the pope said he did not want to be seen as a superstar.

Il Mio Papa (My Pope), hit the newsstands with a 69-page first edition full of photos of the pope, his life story, his appeals for peace and articles about what people think of him.

I’m not a superman, Pope Francis says in new interview

(Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead the general audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

Pope Francis has played down the notion that he is a “superman” who will bring sweeping reforms to the Roman Catholic Church, stressing that its ban on contraception and opposition to gay marriage will remain in place.

The pope, in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper published on Wednesday, also said no institution had moved with more “transparency and responsibility” than the Church to protect children in the wake of its sexual abuse scandals.

Rockers in the sacristy: new book recounts St. Francis’ famous fans

(A screen shows pictures of Pope Francis inside San Francesco Basilica in Assisi October 4, 2013. Pope Francis visits Assisi, the Italian town that was home to his namesake St. Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis took his name from the saint who is revered around the world as a symbol of austerity, simplicity, concern for the poor and a love of the environment. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini )

What do Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger’s daughter, Carlos Santana and Patti Smith have in common? It’s not only rock and roll: all of them are fans of a saint who lived 800 years ago.

St. Francis of Assisi, known worldwide for his simple spirituality, his closeness to the poor, his love of nature and his preaching of peace, has some unlikely admirers.