VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said the Catholic Church should not allow its bans on gay marriage, abortion and contraception to dominate its teachings, but must be a more welcoming Church where priests are understanding pastors and not cold, dogmatic bureaucrats.
In a dramatically blunt interview with Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit monthly, Francis did not hold out the prospect of any changes soon to such moral teachings but appeared to be trying to shift the Church’s tone on them from condemnation to mercy.
ROME (Reuters) – The Vatican department in charge of paying salaries and managing real estate acted improperly as a parallel bank, providing accounts to outsiders, an arrested prelate who worked there for 22 years has told Italian prosecutors.
The latest allegations of misdoings come as Pope Francis struggles to tackle years of financial scandals involving the Vatican bank, which has long been in the spotlight for failing to meet international standards against tax evasion and the disguising of illegal sources of income.
Pope Francis plans to drive around Vatican City at the wheel of a “popemobile” that is a lot like him: frugal, clad in white, and with a fair bit of mileage.
ROME (Reuters) – Nearly three-quarters of Italians think ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi should be barred from the Senate after a conviction for tax fraud, and a majority want to avert a government crisis over the issue, according to a poll published on Friday.
The issue threatens the survival of the fragile ruling coalition because Berlusconi’s supporters have threatened to pull out of Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s left-right government if Berlusconi loses his seat.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican said on Thursday it would cooperate with Dominican Republic authorities investigating the Holy See’s former ambassador on suspicion of pedophilia and denied the envoy had been recalled to protect him from local justice.
Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, 55, was recalled in August and relieved of his duties after local media accused him of sexual abuse of children.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A sombre-looking Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal to avert a widening of Syria’s conflict on Saturday, urging world leaders to pull humanity out of a “spiral of sorrow and death”.
Francis, who two days ago branded a military solution in Syria “a futile pursuit”, led the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in a global day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East and the world.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis, in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the G20 summit, urged world leaders on Thursday to “lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution” in Syria.
The United States and France are considering military action against Damascus in response to a chemical attack on August 21 that killed hundreds of people.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican has recalled its ambassador to the Dominican Republic and relieved him of his duties pending an investigation, after local media accused him of pedophilia, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church said on Wednesday.
The Dominican Attorney General later announced that a special prosecutor had been appointed to investigate Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, who has been nuncio, or ambassador, in the capital Santo Domingo for nearly six years.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday invited people of all faiths to join him and the world’s Catholics in a day of prayer and fasting on September 7 to end the conflict in Syria.
Addressing tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square, he issued a long, impassioned appeal for peace in Syria and across the Middle East, saying God and history would be the judge of those who promoted violence or prevented peace.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis attempted to set a new tone for a Vatican beset by scandals on Saturday by naming a veteran diplomat as secretary of state, a role often called the “deputy pope”.
Archbishop Pietro Parolin’s appointment ends the era of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was widely blamed for failing to prevent ethical and financial scandals that marked the eight-year reign of former Pope Benedict, who resigned in February.