Papal Transition

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.

Friendship began with soccer, led to improved Catholic-Jewish ties

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNS) -- Rabbi Abraham Skorka recalls meeting Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio at a Mass for a national holiday two decades ago. They shook hands afterward, and "he looked deep into my eyes," Rabbi Skorka recalled of the man who would be elected Pope Francis. "He told me, 'I think this year we're going to eat chicken soup.'" The line referred to Argentine soccer. Rabbi Skorka pulls for the River Plate club, whose fans are commonly called "chickens" by rivals. Pope Francis, meanwhile, supports the San Lorenzo club. "I felt there was a meta-message: If you want to talk with me, the door is open. There are no protocols," said Rabbi Skorka, rector of the Latin American rabbinical seminary in Buenos Aires and a leader in the country's Jewish community.

Changes in style send clear message from Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis had been pope for less than six days when he was formally installed March 19, but he had already made a distinctive and overwhelmingly favorable impression on the world.

Pope begins ministry with biblical symbols, signs of universal ministry

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although attempts were made to simplify the ceremony, Pope Francis officially inaugurated his ministry as pope and bishop of Rome in a liturgy filled with biblical symbolism and signs of the universality of his mission. (See a photo gallery with scenes from the pope's first week in his new ministry.)

Pope Francis begins papacy pledging to protect church, human dignity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis formally began his ministry as bishop of Rome and as pope by pledging to protect the Catholic Church, the dignity of each person and the beauty of creation, just like St. Joseph protected Mary and Jesus. “To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon […]

Pakistani church condemns arson attack on Christian colony in Lahore

NEW DELHI (CNS) -- The Catholic Church in Pakistan condemned a March 9 attack by an estimated 3,000 Muslims on a Christian colony in Lahore that left more than 175 buildings, including two churches and dozens of homes, torched and hundreds of people homeless. The attack came after a Christian sanitary worker allegedly criticized Mohammed three days earlier.

Venezuelan president Chavez changed nation, had rocky relations with bishops

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CNS) -- Hugo Chavez, a socialist president who transformed Venezuela while acting as chief protagonist in what was one of the worst Catholic Church-government relationships in Latin America, died March 5. He was 58.

Catholic agencies aid Japanese tsunami survivors in struggle to recover

Rosalinda Nakanome's home in a northeastern Japanese coastal town was washed away nearly two years by a tsunami caused by an earlier earthquake. Her whole family -- two small children, husband and in-laws -- were safe but today they continue to live in cramped quarters in temporary housing, like thousands of others. "If you visit places hit by the tsunami, you see nice buildings, and also kids going to school," said Divine Word Father Daisuke Narui, executive director of Caritas Japan. "They do their work, they do daily living. But their mental side ... they need help."

In farewell to cardinals, Pope Benedict pledges obedience to next pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Clementine Hall is traditionally the place where cardinals bid farewell to popes at the end of a pontificate, but usually when the pope in question is lying in state before his funeral. But on Feb. 28, hours before resigning from the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI briefly addressed the College of Cardinals, calling for unity and harmony among the men who will choose his successor and pledging his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to the next pope.

Faithful throw big farewell at pope’s last general audience

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The last general audience in St. Peter’s Square turned into a farewell party with balloons, flowers, flags, posters, cheers, standing ovations and a touching thank-you speech from Pope Benedict XVI. Authorities estimated about 130,000 people were in attendance, most of them packed in the square, with some spillover onto the long […]