FaithWorld

Not your average Popemobile: Pope Francis sells his Harley Davidson

(Harley-Davidson bikes are parked outside Saint Peter’s Square before the start of a mass led by Pope Francis in Rome June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi)

Signed “Francesco” on its tank, the 1,585 cc Harley Davidson Dyna Super Glide that will be auctioned for charity in Paris on Feb. 6 has an unusual owner – Pope Francis.

The pope will sell his Harley Davidson to raise funds for Caritas Roma, a charity working on behalf of the church, auctioneer Bonhams said on Monday.

The motorcycle was presented to the head of the Roman Catholic Church in June 2013 to mark the motorcycle brand’s 110th anniversary. It is not clear if the pope actually rode it.

“I suspect that it will (have) a very limited mileage,” said Ben Walker, head of motorcycles at Bonhams.

French comedian Dieudonné drops show deemed anti-Semitic

(French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, also known as just “Dieudonne”, attends a news conference at the “Theatre de la Main d’or” in Paris January 11, 2014.REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes )

A French comedian has dropped a show banned for its anti-Semitic language, and was planning one that would cause no objections.

On Friday, France’s highest administrative court upheld a ban on a show by the black comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala in the central city of Tours, days after it was also banned in the western city of Nantes.

Pope’s choice of new Catholic cardinals puts emphasis on the poor

(Faithful watch a maxi screen as Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican January 12, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

Pope Francis put his first stamp on the group at the top of the Roman Catholic hierarchy on Sunday, naming 19 new cardinals from around the world and emphasizing his concern for poor countries.

Sixteen of them are “cardinal electors” under 80 and thus eligible to enter a conclave to elect a pope. They come from Italy, Germany, Britain, Nicaragua, Canada, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, Chile, Burkina Faso, the Philippines and Haiti.

Russian Orthodox Church under fire over monastery’s Stalin calendar

(A man carries a portrait of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as people attend a gathering marking the 130th anniversary of his birthday in Stalin’s hometown town of Gori, some 80 km (50 miles) west of Tbilisi, December 21, 2013. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili )

The Russian Orthodox Church has come under heavy criticism on the Internet this week over a 2014 wall calendar published by a revered monastery’s printing house that features portraits of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

The black-and-white calendar, titled “Stalin” and costing 200 roubles ($6), is advertised as “a great gift for veterans and history fans”. Historian Mikhail Babkin brought it to public attention on his blog on Jan.7.

Book Talk: Bill O’Reilly on strong leaders and Jesus

(Television commentator Bill O’Reilly checks himself in a mirror during the 2004 Republican National Convention, at Madison Square Garden in New York, September 1, 2004. REUTERS/Lisa Miller )

Having written two biographies about Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, political commentator and television host Bill O’Reilly and his co-author, Martin Dugard, focus on the rise and crucifixion of Jesus in their latest book “Killing Jesus.”

The best seller does not attempt to convey any particular religious message but rather describes the ascendance of Jesus in the context of a brutal Roman regime.

Conservative Roman Catholic order meets to turn page on scandalous past

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

How can an order of priests go on serving the Catholic Church and the faithful after revelations that the man who founded it was a fraud who lived a double life as a pedophile, womanizer and drug addict?

That is the dilemma facing the Legionaries of Christ, as the conservative religious order started a six-week meeting on Wednesday to write a new constitution and chart a future course that would put the stain of scandal behind it.

Reported Christian ‘martyr’ deaths double in 2013, Open Doors survey says

Bishop-General Macarius, a Coptic Orthodox leader, walks around the burnt and damaged Evangelical Church in Egypt’s Minya governorate, about 245 km (152 miles) south of Cairo, August 26, 2013.  REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

Reported cases of Christians killed for their faith around the world doubled in 2013 from the year before, with Syria accounting for more than the whole global total in 2012, according to an annual survey.

Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 “martyr” killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said.

Pope Francis set to name new cardinals to reflect his vision of the Catholic Church

Cardinals attend the Consistory ceremony in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican November 24, 2007. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis is set to make the most important decisions of his young papacy in the next few weeks by naming new cardinals – the “princes of the Church” who will help him set its future course and one day elect his successor from their number.

A pope’s choice of cardinals is one of the clearest signals of the direction in which he wants the 1.2 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church to go, and what type of man he wants to succeed him.

Remaining Armenians pray for peace at Orthodox Christmas in Damascus

Armenian Orthodox Christians gather at their church of St Sarkis in Old Damascus for Christmas service January 6, 2014, in this handout photograph released by Syria’s national news agency SANA. A small congregation of Armenian Orthodox Christians prayed for peace at a Christmas service in Old Damascus on Monday and reflected on the hardships of living in an uneasy middle ground in Syria’s increasingly sectarian conflict. They lamented a low turnout compared to previous years – many have fled Syria and others were unable to get through a maze of checkpoints and traffic bottlenecks to reach the church of St. Sarkis for Armenian Christmas, celebrated on Jan. 6. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

A small congregation of Armenian Orthodox Christians prayed for peace at a Christmas service in Old Damascus on Monday and reflected on the hardships of living in an uneasy middle ground in Syria’s increasingly sectarian conflict.

They lamented a low turnout compared to previous years – many have fled Syria and others were unable to get through a maze of checkpoints and traffic bottlenecks to reach the church of St. Sarkis for Armenian Christmas, celebrated on January 6.

Death threats against secular MPs disrupt Tunisian constitution debate

A general view of Tunisia’s Constituent Assemblyat the beginning of voting on the country’s draft constitution in Tunis January 3, 2014. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Death threats against Tunisian secular lawmakers on Sunday disrupted voting on a new constitution, underscoring tensions over the role of Islam and the transition to democracy three years after the nation’s revolution.

Tunisia’s parliament started voting last week on the new charter, which is meant to put democracy back on track after deadlock between ruling Islamists and secular parties since the 2011 fall of autocratic leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.