National News

Sister Helen Garvey, former LCWR president, dies at 82

Sister Helen Maher Garvey, former president of both the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and of her order, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, died Aug. 6. She was 82.

Pope Francis meets retired Pope Benedict, says ‘we’re brothers’

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- With a warm embrace, a helping hand, shared prayer, a long discussion and lunch together, Pope Francis spent several hours with retired Pope Benedict XVI March 23 at the papal summer villa.

Vatican releases Pope Francis’ schedule, details of surprise visits

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican released an official schedule for Pope Francis March 17-24, but if his first two days as pope were any indication, the schedule was only an outline destined to expand at a moment's notice. The only event on the new pope's schedule March 15 was an audience with the world's cardinals. But shortly before that meeting, he shocked the receptionist at the Jesuit headquarters by telephoning the order's superior general; he made an evening visit to a Rome clinic to visit 90-year-old Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mejia who had had a heart attack; then he stopped at the replica of the grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens to pray before a statue of Mary.

Argentineans paint Pope Francis as kind, outspoken, good administrator

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNS) -- Oscar Justo, 60, begs for bills and coins from a perch next to St. Joseph Parish in Barrio de Flores, the neighborhood where Pope Francis was born. As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis passed by often, walking from the bus stop or surfacing from a nearby subway station. But he always took time to greet Justo, offer a blessing and provide a few pesos.

Pope pledges renewed ties to Jewish community

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said he plans renewed cooperation to further Catholic-Jewish relations and hopes to contribute to a world where all people live in harmony with the “will of the creator.” In a message to Chief Rabbi Riccardo di Segni of Rome, the pope said he “profoundly hopes to be able to […]

U.S. interfaith leaders congratulate pope, look forward to leadership

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Here are excerpts of statements by U.S.-based leaders of non-Christian faiths about the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the new Pope Francis. — Muzammil H. Siddiqi, religious director, Islamic Society of Orange County (Calif.), and chairman, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California: “Please convey my best […]

Vatican releases papal coat of arms, motto by English doctor of church

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis' papal motto is based on the Gospel account of "The Call of St. Matthew," the tax collector, in a homily given by St. Bede the Venerable. The pope decided to keep his episcopal motto and coat of arms for his pontificate with just a few minor adjustments in line with a papal emblem. For example, the blazon adds the bishop's miter and the keys of St. Peter.

Archbishop says authenticity, simplicity mark his mentor, Pope Francis

ROME (CNS) -- For the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, "authenticity and simplicity" characterize the man who mentored him as a young bishop and who has just been elected Pope Francis.

Pope Francis: Without faith in Christ, church is just ‘pitiful NGO’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Without faith in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the church is nothing more than a “pitiful NGO,” Pope Francis said in his first homily as pope. “When one does not confess Christ,” he said, “one confesses the worldliness of the devil.” The pope spoke at Mass March 14 in the Sistine […]

Pope Francis: Don’t give in to pessimism, courageously share Gospel

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Never give in to the devil's pessimism, discouragement and bitterness, Pope Francis said; Christians need to share the Gospel message with joy and courage because it will truly answer people's deepest needs. Young people also need the wisdom and knowledge of older people, whose insight is like "fine wine that gets better with age," he told the College of Cardinals March 15.