FaithWorld

Pope Francis ‘snub’ of concert stuns cardinals and sends them a signal

(An empty papal throne is pictured as Archbishop Rino Fisichella (standing at right) reads a message from Pope Francis before a RAI National Symphony Orchestra concert in Paul VI hall at the Vatican June 22, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito)

A last-minute no-show by Pope Francis at a concert where he was to have been the guest of honor has sent another clear signal that he is going to do things his way and does not like the Vatican high life.

The gala classical concert on Saturday was scheduled before his election in March. But the white papal armchair set up in the presumption that he would be there remained empty.

Minutes before the concert was due to start, an archbishop told the crowd of cardinals and Italian dignitaries that an “urgent commitment that cannot be postponed” would prevent Francis from attending.

The prelates, assured that health was not the reason for the no-show, looked disoriented, realizing that the message he wanted to send was that, with the Church in crisis, he – and perhaps they – had too much pastoral work to do to attend social events.

Pope Francis laments ‘gay lobby’ and corruption in Vatican – report

(Pope Francis adjusts his skullcap as he leads the weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 12, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile )

Pope Francis has acknowledged the existence of a “gay lobby” and a “stream of corruption” in the Vatican, according to reports in Catholic media not denied by the Vatican.

The pope made the remarks last week in Spanish during a private meeting with representatives of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious (CLAR), according to the Chilean Catholic website “Reflection and Liberation”.

Italian professor says has found world’s oldest complete Torah in Bologna

(A scroll identified by Italian professor Mauro Perani as the world’s oldest complete scroll of the Torah is seen in Bologna, Italy,  May 29, 2013.
REUTERS/Mauro Perani/Handout via Reuters)

An Italian professor said on Wednesday he has identified what he believes is the world’s oldest complete scroll of the Torah, containing the full text of the first five books of Hebrew scripture.

Mauro Perani, professor of Hebrew at the University of Bologna, said experts and carbon dating tests done in Italy and the United States dated the scroll as having been made between 1155 and 1225.

Vatican marks anniversary of the 1972 attack on Michelangelo’s Pieta

(A combo photo shows a detail view of the damaged Michelangelo’s Pieta and it after restoration works at the Vatican. Musei Vaticani/Handout via Reuters)

Forty-one years ago, a crazed Hungarian named Laszlo Toth jumped an altar railing in St. Peter’s Basilica and dealt 12 hammer blows to Michelangelo’s Pieta, severely damaging the Renaissance masterpiece.

To mark the attack on May 21, 1972, the Vatican Museums held a day-long seminar on Tuesday on the statue, the incident, and what subsequently became one of the most delicate and controversial art restorations in history.

Church must help the poorest, not discuss theology over tea, Pope Francis says

(Pope Francis speaks as he leads a Pentecost vigil mass in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 18, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

Pope Francis shared personal moments with 200,000 people on Saturday, telling them he sometimes nods off while praying at the end of a long day and that it “breaks my heart” that the death of a homeless person is not news.

Francis, who has made straight talk and simplicity a hallmark of his papacy, made his unscripted comments in answers to questions by four people at a huge international gathering of Catholic associations in St. Peter’s Square.

Three popes in Vatican as Egypt’s Coptic leader visits Francis

(Pope Francis (R) and the Coptic Orthodox leader Tawadros II pose during a private audience in the pontiff’s library at the Vatican, May 10, 2013. REUTERS/Andreas Solaro/Pool)

At the Vatican on Friday not one, not two, but three popes were inside the tiny city-state’s walls at the same time.

Coptic Pope Tawadros II and Catholic Pope Francis, each addressing the other as “Your Holiness”, prayed together for reconciliation among communities and nations without mention of events in Egypt. Tawadros has previously denounced a wave of anti-Christian attacks there.

Pope Francis to review Vatican bureaucracy and its scandal-ridden bank

(St Peter Basilica is seen over Sant’Angelo bridge on the Tiber river in Rome December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Pope Francis, who has said he wants the Catholic Church to be a model of austerity and honesty, could restructure or even close the Vatican’s scandal-ridden bank as part of a broad review of its troubled bureaucracy, Vatican sources say.

Francis, who inherited a Church mired in scandals over priests’ sexual abuse of children and the leak of confidential documents alleging corruption and infighting in the Vatican’s central administration, is mulling his options as he sets the tone for a reformed and humbler Holy See.

Pope Francis includes women, Muslims for first time in Holy Thursday rite

Pope Francis washes the foot of a prisoner at Casal del Marmo youth prison in Rome March 28, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

Two young women were among 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed at a traditional ceremony in a Rome youth prison on Holy Thursday, the first time a pontiff has included females in the rite.

The pope traveled to the Casal del Marmo prison on Rome’s outskirts for the traditional Mass, which commemorates Jesus’s gesture of humility towards his apostles the night before he died.

Vatican denies Pope Francis stayed silent during Argentine dictatorship

(Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, checks out of the church-run residence where he had been staying in Rome before his election. March 14, 2013,  REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

The Vatican on Friday strongly denied accusations by some critics in Argentina that Pope Francis stayed silent during systematic human rights abuses by the former military dictatorship.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters the accusations: “Must be clearly and firmly denied.” He added that, “They reveal anti-clerical left-wing elements that are used to attack the Church”.

By-the-book Vatican braces for an unscripted papacy

(Newly elected Pope Francis I (2nd R) walks in the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit in Rome March 14, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

The Vatican, an age-old institution used to having almost everything done by the book, is bracing for the unscripted papacy.

In less than 24 hours after he became the first non-European pope in some 1,300 years, Francis seemed to break more rules than his predecessor did in eight years.