Syrian Christians turn to Turkish churches, not refugee camps, for help
ISTANBUL (CNS) -- Churches and monasteries in Turkey are struggling to shelter a rising number of Syrian Christian refugees who are reluctant to seek help at government-run relief camps because of reported Muslim extremism, said a Catholic Relief Services staffer.
Pope says religions must cooperate to remind humanity God exists
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For the good of all people, the care of the poor and the future of the Earth, religions must cooperate in reminding modern men and women that God exists and has a plan for their lives and their behavior, Pope Francis said.
Pope uniquely positioned to foster peace, says N.J.’s Congressman Smith
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Princes and presidents, diplomats and dictators, patriarchs and pastors came together in St. Peter's Square to witness the inauguration of Pope Francis' ministry. Any signs of animosity or favor were set aside as more than 130 government representatives, as well as dozens of religious leaders, sat side by side at the March 19 ceremony.
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.
In Buenos Aires slum, church counters drugs, evangelicals
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNS) -- Mass at the Christ the Worker Parish is celebrated on a cement soccer pitch. There, parishioners sit on portable pews and relax on the embankment of a highway overpass. The chapel nearby is part church, part community center and serves Villa 31, one of the more than 500 shanties surrounding the Argentine capital. It's an example of the outreach to outcasts and the poor employed by Pope Francis during his 15 years as archbishop of Buenos Aires, where he wanted the church brought closer to the people and sent seminarians and priests to serve them.
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 […]
Salvadoran clergy hopeful for canonization of Archbishop Romero
SAN SALVADOR (CNS) -- Salvadoran clergy are hopeful that the canonization of Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered while celebrating Mass March 24, 1980, during El Salvador's civil war, will move forward under the church's first Latin American pope. "The stars are aligned (for Romero's canonization), but I insist that we should not rush. God has its time and that time will come," said Auxiliary Bishop Gregorio Rosa Chavez of San Salvador.
Despite rocky history, Pope Francis meets with Argentine president
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis held an informal, private meeting and lunch with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner March 18. The previous day, the pope met with the superior general of the Jesuits, Father Adolfo Nicolas, but the Vatican released no information about that meeting. The closed-door meeting with Fernandez was held in […]
Muslim leaders express hopes for improved relations with Catholics
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Muslim leaders expressed hopes the new pope would help improve relations between Muslims and Catholics. A spokesman for Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, president of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, said he hoped Pope Francis' election would help normalize relations with the world of Islam.