FaithWorld

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.

That prompted a sharp rebuke from victims, with one group calling the assertion “disingenuous”.

Since his election nearly a year ago, Francis has promoted the idea of a more humble Church focused on the needs of the poor, winning huge popularity and raising expectations that it would soften its rules on such issues as contraception, cohabitation, sacraments for the divorced who remarry, and gay relationships.

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.

Pope Francis meets lovers for St. Valentine’s, jokes about mothers-in-law

(A heart-shaped balloon flies as Pope Francis leads a special audience with engaged couples, to celebrate Saint Valentine’s day, in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile )

Signs of affection were as common as signs of the cross in St. Peter’s Square on Friday as couples from around the world attended a special Valentine’s Day gathering with Pope Francis.

Some 25,000 people engaged to be married were invited to the unprecedented event. But as news of the gathering spread, couples of all ages, including many elderly who have been married for decades, flocked to the square.

A year after resignation, ex-Pope Benedict has no regrets – Gänswein

(Pope Francis (L) embraces Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he arrives at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence March 23, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano )

A year after his shock resignation, Pope Emeritus Benedict has no regrets and believes history will vindicate his tumultuous and much-criticised papacy, the man closest to him told Reuters in a rare interview.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who now works for the former pope as well as being the head of Pope Francis’s household, shed new light on how Benedict spends his days, his health, his feelings about his momentous decision and the relationship between the two popes.

Reuters Q&A with Archbishop Georg Gänswein in English and Italian

(Pope Benedict XVI and his personal secretary Georg Gänswein at the Vatican February 16, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandra Tarantino/Pool )

Following is the Q&A text of our interview with Archbishop Georg Gänswein. The original Italian text is attached below the English. For the accompanying news story, click here.

Reuters:  This is a very particular anniversary for the Church but even for Benedict. How is he living these days and how is his health?

Disgraced Catholic order denounces founder Maciel, apologises to victims

(Pope John Paul II blesses Father Marcial Maciel during a special audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on November 30, 2004. REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

A disgraced Catholic religious order whose late founder lived a double life as a paedophile, womanizer and drug addict officially denounced him on Thursday and apologized to his “many victims”.

The Legionaries of Christ, which former members said was run like a cult rooted in secrecy, accused Father Marcial Maciel of “reprehensible and objectively immoral behavior” as head of the order from 1941 until former Pope Benedict removed him in 2006.

The real-life Philomena meets Pope Francis and says all is forgiven

(Philomena Lee poses following a news conference in downtown Rome, February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Philomena Lee, whose long search for the son she was forced to give up as an unwed teenager in Catholic Ireland inspired the Oscar-nominated film bearing her name, says that after meeting Pope Francis she feels forgiven and has forgiven.

“He really made me feel so good inside because I carried the guilt inside me for 50 years, without telling anybody,” Lee, 80, said on Thursday, a day after a brief meeting with the pope.

You’ve got mail, Pope Francis. Lots of it…

(Pope Francis receives a postcard with a photograph of himself as a gift at the end of his Wednesday general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 8, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

He’s nowhere near Santa Claus yet, but Pope Francis gets so much mail that the tiny office that deals with it is swamped and working overtime.

“Mostly, they are requests for comfort or prayers,” Monsignor Giuliano Gallorini, the head of the office, told Vatican Television (CTV).

Italian police recover blood-stained cloth from relic of Pope John Paul II

(A broken glass of a niche where the stolen reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II was located is seen next to a painting of the late Pope in the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the city of L’Aquila January 28, 2014 .REUTERS/Max Rossi )

Police on Friday recovered the piece of cloth stained with the blood of the late Pope John Paul, a day after they found the stolen gold and glass case which once contained the relic.

They told a news conference in L’Aquila, east of Rome, that they found the fragment in the garage of two men who were detained for having stolen the reliquary last week.

Move over Superman. It’s time for … Superpope

(A priest and a nun walk by a large drawing of Pope Francis depicting him as a superhero on a wall near the Vatican January 29, 2014. The Argentinian Pope is shown taking off into air with his right fist clenched in a classic Superman style. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Pope Francis may already be a hero to the world’s downtrodden but at least one pop artist thinks he’s more than that. Move over Superman, it’s time for Superpope.

A large painting has appeared on a building near the Vatican showing the Argentine pope taking off into the air, his right fist clenched ahead of him in classic Superman style.