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Mar 5, 2014

Don’t be obsessed by possessions, Pope says in starting Lent

ROME (Reuters) – Pope Francis, leading the world’s Roman Catholics into the penitential season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, urged them not to be obsessed with possessions and to shun a culture where everything can be bought and sold.

Ash Wednesday is the day Christians are reminded of mortality and hear the phrase ‘from dust you came and to dust you shall return’ as ashes are smudged onto their foreheads.

Mar 5, 2014

I’m not a superman, Pope Francis says

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – 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.

Feb 28, 2014

Pope skips seminary visit because of slight fever -Vatican

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis skipped a planned visit to student priests at a Rome seminary on Friday evening because he was suffering from a slight fever and was advised to rest, the Vatican said.

It was the first time since his election nearly a year ago that the 77-year-old pope had cancelled a public engagement and came after a very busy period for the pontiff, with a number of events outdoors in cold weather.

Feb 26, 2014

Ex pope Benedict denies he was forced to resign

VATICAN CITY, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Former Pope Benedict, in
one of the few times he has broken his silence since stepping
down nearly a year ago, has branded as “absurd” fresh media
speculation that he was forced to quit.

Church law says a pope’s resignation is valid only if he
takes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from

Feb 24, 2014

Pope revolutionises Vatican by opening finances to scrutiny

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Monday revolutionised the Vatican’s scandal-plagued finances, inviting outside experts into a world often seen as murky and secretive and saying the church must use its wealth to help the poor.

Francis, elected nearly a year ago with a mandate for reform, used a document known as a Motu Proprio – Latin for “by his own initiative” – to implement immediate changes including appointing an auditor-general.

Feb 24, 2014

In sweeping move, Pope creates office to oversee Vatican finances

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis has taken his boldest step yet to overhaul the Vatican’s scandal-plagued finances, creating a new department with broad powers to oversee all of its economic and administrative affairs, the Vatican said on Monday.

The Secretariat for the Economy will answer directly to the pope and will be headed by Australian Cardinal George Pell, currently the archbishop of Sydney.

Feb 23, 2014

Pope tells cardinals to shun intrigue, cliques of a royal court

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis urged cardinals, who make up the top echelon of the Roman Catholic Church, on Sunday to shun the intrigue, gossip and cliques typical of a royal court.

Since his election nearly a year ago, Francis has often told his top aides not to live or behave like a privileged class. The eight-year papacy of his predecessor, Benedict, was marked by mishaps and missteps, which were often blamed on a dysfunctional Vatican bureaucracy and intrigue befitting a Renaissance court.

Feb 22, 2014

Pope Francis inducts new cardinals as predecessor Benedict looks on

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis urged 19 freshman cardinals to shun rivalries and factions at an induction ceremony on Saturday where his scandal-plagued predecessor, pope Benedict, made a surprise appearance.

It was the first time Benedict attended a papal rite since his resignation a year ago. His presence offered the remarkable scene of a former pope, a reigning pope and a potentially future pope in St. Peter’s Basilica at the same time.

Feb 20, 2014

Pope tells cardinals to tackle divisive family issues with courage

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Thursday urged cardinals gathered to discuss family-related issues such as contraception, cohabitation, divorce and gay relationships to be “intelligent, courageous and loving” in their debate.

He was opening two days of closed-door sessions with some 185 cardinals from around the world to prepare for an autumn synod of bishops that will discuss the issues at greater length.

Feb 19, 2014

Cardinals present pope with proposals for financial reform

VATICAN CITY, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Cardinals advising Pope
Francis on reforming Vatican finances gave him their proposals
on Wednesday with one suggesting a new central economic ministry
that would incorporate the Holy See’s scandal-plagued bank.

An eight-member advisory board of cardinals from around the
world had concluded three days of meetings and reached its
conclusions, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told
reporters at a briefing.