'Crushed' by 2 papacies, John Paul I's death eclipsed life
Pope John Paul I is widely recalled not so much for his life but for the murky circumstances of his abrupt death, 33 days after being elected pontiff in 1978, Now, admirers of the so-called "smiling pope” are using his approaching beatification to focus on the accomplishments of the pope instead of the intrigue surrounding his demise at age 65 which spawned best-sellers alleging he was poisoned or his health was neglected by detractors in the Vatican.
Pope moves ahead with plans to meet Shiite leader in Iraq
The Vatican on Monday released the itinerary of Francis’ March 5-8 visit to Iraq, his first foreign trip since being grounded for 16 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 84-year-old pontiff, who has been vaccinated against COVID-19, apparently intends to go ahead with the trip despite the pandemic and lingering security concerns. Francis had intended to visit Iraq that year, as did St. John Paul II in 2000, but both had to call off their trips due to security concerns. The next day, Francis travels to Najaf, home of al-Sistani, one of the world’s leading Shiite leaders. AdThe slow return of displaced Christians to northern Iraq since the territory was liberated from the Islamic State in 2017 remains a contentious issue.
Pope on Iraq trip: Worthwhile even if most watch him on TV
Pope Francis is once again canceling public appearances due to nerve pain. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file)ROME – Pope Francis said Monday he is still planning to visit Iraq in March, even if most Iraqis have to watch him on television to avoid the coronavirus. “I am the pastor of people who are suffering,” Francis told Catholic News Service during an audience to mark the 100th anniversary of the news agency of the U.S. bishops conference. Francis is scheduled to visit Iraq March 5-8 in what would be the first-ever papal trip to the country. AdVirus cases in Iraq have been steadily dropping since peaking in late summer and are averaging around 800 new cases a day.
French doctor who made Down discovery closer to sainthood
FILE - In this Aug.22, 1997 file photo, Pope John Paul II meditates by the grave of his former friend geneticist Jerome Lejeune, during a private visit to the Chalo-Saint-Mars cemetery near Paris. (AP Photo/Arturo Mari/file)ROME – The French doctor who discovered the genetic basis of Down syndrome but spent his career advocating against abortion as a result of prenatal diagnosis has taken his first major step to possible sainthood. Pope Francis on Thursday approved the “heroic virtues” of Dr. Jerome Lejeune, who lived from 1926-1994 and was particularly esteemed by St. John Paul II for his anti-abortion stance. John Paul visited Lejeune's grave during the Paris World Youth Day in 1997. He has likened abortion to hiring a “hit man” to take care of a problem.
Anti-abortion faith leaders support use of COVID-19 vaccines
As the first vaccines neared approval last year, some Catholic bishops warned they might be morally unacceptable. “The Church, on multiple levels, has said that it’s morally acceptable to receive the vaccines that are currently available. Among Protestant evangelical leaders, who generally have strong anti-abortion views, there’s been relatively little anti-vaccine rhetoric, according to the Rev. In the past, the council has ruled that some vaccines for other diseases were unacceptable because they used pork-derived gelatin. But on Friday the council gave its approval to China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for its distribution in Indonesia.
Religious leaders worldwide, across faiths who died in 2020
They were among many religious leaders — some admired worldwide, others beloved only locally — who died in 2020. It occurred in April, during a period in which numerous Church of God in Christ bishops and pastors died of COVID-19. 2 leader, Bishop Amfilohije -- who also died after COVID-19 complications -- both downplayed the dangers of the pandemic and avoided wearing masks in public. Edward Kmiec, 84, who between 1992 and 2012 served as the Roman Catholic bishop of Nashville, Tennessee, and Buffalo, New York. John Yambasu, 63, a bishop of the United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone who died in a traffic accident in August.
Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2020
The world also said goodbye to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement who died in July. Other former political figures who died this year include Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, New York Mayor David Dinkins, Arizona Gov. Here is a roll call of some influential figures who died in 2020 (cause of death cited for younger people, if available):___JANUARY___David Stern, 77. The guitarist who supplied the scratching, seething sound that fueled the highly influential British punk band Gang of Four. He fused African rhythms with funk to become one of the most influential musicians in world dance music.
Pope, with new cardinals, warns church against mediocrity
Cardinals sit as Pope Francis celebrates Mass the day after he raised 13 new cardinals to the highest rank in the Catholic hierarchy, at St. Peter's Basilica, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, Pool)VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis, joined by the church’s newest cardinals in Mass on Sunday, warned against mediocrity as well as seeking out “godfathers” to promote one's own career. The freshly-minted cardinals who did come to the Vatican wore protective masks and purple vestments, as the Church began the solemn liturgical season of Advent in the run-up to Christmas. Among those raised to cardinal's rank on Saturday by Francis was the current archbishop of Washington, Wilton Gregory, the first African-American cardinal. “When the Church worships God and serves our neighbor, it does not live in the night.
Pope elevates 13 new cardinals then puts them in their place
Pope Francis leaves at the end of a consistory ceremony where 13 bishops were elevated to a cardinal's rank in St. Peters Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. Gregory also was one of the only new cardinals who kept his mask on when the group paid a singing courtesy visit to retired Pope Benedict XVI. He also eschewed a red cassock for Saturday's ceremony, using instead his brown hooded friar's robes covered with a white “rochet" vestment. The cardinals greeted Benedict, kissed his hand and sang a prayer as the retired pope, who is 93 and frail, listened. With Saturday’s new cardinals, Francis has named 73 of the 128 voting-age cardinals, compared to 39 for Pope Benedict XVI and 16 for St. John Paul II.
Police block Warsaw march against abortion ruling, force use
People demonstrate against police violence and an attempted restriction on abortion rights in Warsaw Poland, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. Nationwide protests Saturday were scheduled to coincide with Polish women gaining the right to vote 102 years ago. Weeks of protests against a high court's ruling to further restrict Abortion rights have evolved into the largest protest movement since communism fell 30 years ago. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – Police blocked protesters from marching in Poland's capital as demonstrations took place across the country against an attempt to restrict abortion rights and recent police violence. Women's rights activists want authorities to formally approve the name change.
Alleging sex abuse, 4 sue Vatican over handling of McCarrick
FILE - In this March 4, 2015, file photo, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick speaks during a memorial service in South Bend, Ind. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, where McCarrick served as archbishop from the mid-1980s until 2000. McCarrick was defrocked in 2019 after an investigation substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against him. Three of the plaintiffs were parishioners who allege McCarrick abused them as youths in the 1980s. An email message was left after hours Thursday with a spokesperson for the Vatican in Rome.
Takeaways from Vatican's McCarrick report as US bishops meet
U.S. Catholic bishops are holding their annual fall assembly virtually this week with the Vatican's recent report on the rise and fall of disgraced ex-Cardinal McCarrick one of their main topics for discussion. Released last week after a two-year investigation, the report found that three decades of bishops, cardinals, and popes dismissed or downplayed reports McCarrick shared his bed with seminarians. Released last week after a two-year investigation, the report found that three decades of bishops, cardinals and popes dismissed or downplayed reports McCarrick shared his bed with seminarians. Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick last year after a Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused children and adults. Instead, the Vatican’s bishops office urged McCarrick to keep a low profile and minimize his travel.
Polish bishops defend John Paul II after McCarrick report
In a sunlit ceremony of ancient ritual in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II installed a record number of cardinals - 44 new princes of the Roman Catholic Church. The head of the Polish bishops conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, said in a statement that John Paul had been “cynically deceived” by McCarrick as well as other U.S. bishops. It was the Polish bishops’ first response to the publication this week of the Vatican’s two-year investigation into McCarrick, which implicated John Paul and his secretary in covering up McCarrick's sexual abuse. The 449-page report determined that John Paul had received credible reports about McCarrick's misconduct from authoritative prelates in the late 1990s. Yet even after commissioning an inquiry that recommended against a promotion, John Paul in 2000 named McCarrick archbishop of Washington D.C., and later a cardinal.
Vatican's McCarrick report forces debate on power and abuse
(AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti, File)ROME – The Vatican’s report into ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has raised uncomfortable questions the Holy See will have to confront going forward, chief among them what it’s going to do about current and future clergy who abuse their power to sexually abuse adults. It was the first time someone had claimed to be abused by McCarrick while a minor, a serious crime in the Vatican’s in-house legal system. “The reason we had a McCarrick was because he pulled so much power to himself, relatively quickly,” said the Rev. But that wasn’t a firing offense under the church’s canon law — then or now. “Looking at what we have with McCarrick, do we have to fix our canon law?”
'It's crushing': Survivors react to McCarrick abuse report
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)RICHMOND, Va. – Men who have come forward with allegations of abuse by former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick expressed disgust, frustration and outrage after an internal Vatican report outlined what was known about the clergyman's behavior — and what was ignored. McCarrick was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 after a separate Vatican investigation determined he sexually abused minors as well as adults. An attorney for McCarrick, who now lives as a layman in a residence for priests, declined to comment on the report. As pontiff, John Paul appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington, D.C., in 2000, despite having commissioned an inquiry that confirmed he slept with seminarians, according to the report. SNAP and another organization that represents survivors, Ending Clergy Abuse, called on President-elect Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic, to assist their efforts.
Pope Francis vows to end sexual abuse after McCarrick report
The Vatican report blamed a host of bishops, cardinals and popes for downplaying and dismissing mountains of evidence of McCarrick’s misconduct starting in the 1990s — but largely spared Francis. Francis defrocked the 90-year-old McCarrick last year after a separate Vatican investigation found he sexually abused children as well as adults. Noting that Wednesday marked Poland's independence day, Francis quoted John Paul as telling young people what it means to be truly free. “While we thank the Lord for the gift of national and personal freedom, what St. John Paul II taught young people comes to mind," Francis said. John Paul initially agreed.
The Latest: McCarrick accuser sees comfort in Vatican report
Scott Applewhite, File)The Latest on the Vatican's investigation of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and allegations of sexual misconduct (all times local). ___2:30 p.m.A Virginia man who accuses former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of sexually abusing him says he finds some comfort in the Vatican’s release of a report about the former prelate but he wants a public apology. “Its greatest failure is that it lets Pope Francis off the hook: nobody gave him the files, he knew only that there had been rumors, etc.,” she says. ___NoonAn advocate in Argentina for survivors of clerical sex abuse says ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick caused tremendous hurt and laments that church officials knew but did not act. It calls the report “one step in the right direction” but says the Vatican must ensure that past mistakes will not be repeated.
Vatican faults others for McCarrick's rise, spares Francis
Those alarms continued, when a Catholic psychiatrist traveled to the Vatican in 1997 to report that his priest-patient was a victim of McCarrick's sexual abuse. McCarrick, 90, was defrocked by Francis last year after a Vatican investigation confirmed the globe-trotting envoy and fundraiser had sexually molested adults as well as children. “Pope Francis had heard only that there had been allegations and rumors related to immoral conduct with adults occurring prior to McCarrick’s appointment to Washington,” the report said. Vigano’s most explosive claim was that Francis himself lifted “sanctions" imposed by Benedict and made McCarrick a trusted adviser. Investigators interviewed 90 people, including McCarrick’s victims, former seminarians and priests, and officials from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Black D.C. archbishop's rise marks a historic moment
FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2019, file photo, Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, accompanied by other members of the clergy, leaves St. Mathews Cathedral after the annual Red Mass in Washington. Pope Francis on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, named 13 new cardinals, including Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who would become the first Black U.S. prelate to earn the coveted red hat. During that period, the bishops adopted a charter designed to govern its treatment of sexual abuse allegations made by minor children against priests. The Washington D.C. archdiocese has created an anti-racism initiative under Gregory's leadership, offering focused prayer and listening sessions. In addition to his work combating racial injustice and sexual abuse in the church, Gregory has drawn notice for his more inclusive treatment of LGBTQ Catholics.
Divided reactions in US as pope backs same-sex civil unions
Pope Francis listens to a priests introducing the group of faithful attending the weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)LGBTQ Catholics and their allies in the U.S. welcomed Pope Francis’ endorsement of same-sex civil unions, the first time he’s done so as pontiff, while some prominent members including a bishop said Wednesday that he was blatantly contradicting church teaching. “The Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions,” Tobin said in a statement. “It is no overstatement to say that with this statement not only has the pope protected LGBTQ couples and families, but he also will save many LGBTQ lives,” DeBernardo said. “Pope Francis’ words will highlight the inclusive, accepting essence of Christianity that so many people care about,” said Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, a fellow with the faith initiative at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank.
Masked pope, faith leaders pray for peace and pandemic's end
Pope Francis lights a candle for peace during an inter-religious ceremony for peace in the square outside Rome's City Hall, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)ROME – A masked Pope Francis welcomed religious leaders to a socially-distanced interfaith peace prayer Tuesday, appealing for a unified international effort to work for peace and an end to the coronavirus pandemic. “The pandemic is reminding us that we are blood brothers and sisters,” they said in a joint appeal issued at the end of the service. For weeks, Francis has shunned facemasks in his public and private audiences despite a surge in COVID-19 cases across Italy and even inside Vatican City. The service was organized by the Rome-based Sant’Egidio Community, which each year organizes an interfaith peace prayer in the spirit of the first one of its kind, celebrated by St. John Paul II in Assisi in 1986. In the past week 11 Swiss Guards and a resident of the hotel where Francis lives have tested positive.
Pompeo urges Vatican to condemn human rights abuses in China
Pompeo made the appeal at a conference on religious freedom organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, with top Vatican officials in the audience. Pompeo has strongly criticized the accord, penning an essay earlier this month suggesting that the Vatican had compromised its moral authority by signing it. The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Holy See was “surprised” by Pompeo’s article. Both focused instead on the Holy See’s longstanding history of promoting religious freedom as a fundamental human right. After the conference, Pompeo met with Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, the first Group of Seven leader to sign onto China’s infrastructure-building Belt and Road initiative.
Sculpture of John Paul II with rock, red water makes waves
Kalina, 76, said the installation in the museum's fountain relates to John Paul II's efforts in the 1980s to help free Poland from communism, which is symbolized by the red color the water has from a red fabric placed on the fountain's bottom. The sculpture also drew ridicule on social media, with some commenters comparing the life-sized likeness of the canonized pope toting a rock to a cartoon figure. Cattelan's work, which was displayed in Warsaw in 2000, was seen as disrespectful and provoked a huge outcry. Born as Karol Wojtyla in the southern Polish city of Wadowice, John Paul II served as pope from October 1978 until his death in April 2005. Critics say that during his papacy, the church failed to bring priests who sexually abused children to account.
Pope seeks to 'liberate' Virgin Mary from the Mafia
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2019 file photo, Pope Francis blesses a statue of the Mother Mary as he celebrates Mass at the National Stadium, in Bangkok, Thailand. Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a new Vatican think tank that is seeking to prevent the Mafia and organized crime groups from exploiting the image of the Virgin Mary for their own illicit ends. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)ROME – Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a new Vatican think tank that is seeking to prevent the Mafia and organized crime groups from exploiting the image of the Virgin Mary for their own illicit ends. The Catholic Church in Italy has long been associated with the Mafia, thanks in part to their post-war common cause against communism. Marian devotion is particularly important to Francis, history's first pope from Latin America, where displays of such popular piety are common.
What happens when pandemic locks down a globe-trotting pope?
If ever there was a defining moment of Pope Francis during the coronavirus pandemic, it came on March 27, the day Italy recorded its single biggest daily jump in fatalities. What does all this mean for a 83-year-old globe-trotting pope and his ministry to the 1.2-billion-member Catholic Church? Alberto Melloni, a church historian usually sympathetic to Francis, declared that the pandemic marked the beginning of the end of Francis pontificate. As evidence of the conservative wing's desire to look beyond the Francis papacy, two books were published this summer by prominent Catholic authors. But their publication suggests that at least some are thinking about what comes next, not just after the pandemic, but the papacy.
Report: Retired Pope Benedict XVI ill after visit to Germany
BERLIN Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has fallen ill after his return from a trip to his native Bavaria to visit his brother, who died a month ago, a German newspaper reported Monday. Seewald, who has published several book-length interviews with Benedict, handed over a copy of the biography to the former pontiff on Saturday, the newspaper reported. He described Benedict as being optimistic and talking about possibly writing himself if his strength picks up, though he said that Benedict is physically very frail. It was his first trip out of Italy since he resigned as pope in 2013. Benedict has lived at a monastery in the Vatican City since shortly after his retirement.
Mourners attend funeral mass for retired pope's brother
A hearse parks during the funeral service for Priest Georg Ratzinger in front of St. Peter's Cathedral in Regensburg, Germany, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. The elder brother of the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI had died on July 1 at the age of 96 years. Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer, who led the service, told mourners that Benedict was following the mass online. The 93-year-old emeritus pope made a four-day visit to Regensburg to be with his ailing brother just over a week before Ratzingers death.
Funeral planned Wednesday for retired pope's elder brother
Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who earned renown in his own right as a director of an acclaimed German boys choir, has died at age 96. The Regensburg diocese in Bavaria, where Ratzinger lived, said in a statement on his website that he died on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who died Wednesday at the age of 96. The acclaimed boys choir Ratzinger headed for several decades will stage a farewell concert Sunday. Benedict made a four-day visit to Regensburg to be with his ailing brother just over a week before his death.
Polish group seeks pope's action against sex abuse, cover-up
Pope Francis speaks during the Angelus prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square, after celebrating a Mass for the Feast of Rome's Patrons Saints Peter and Paul, at the Vatican, Monday, June 29, 2020. The group EnoughHarm took out a full-page advertisement on Monday in Rome daily La Repubblica, addressed to the pope. It urged Francis to repair our church and heal the wounds of abuse victims. The norms contain detailed steps for investigating negligent bishops, as well as provisions to protect whistle-blowers who report them. So far, a handful of bishops are known to be under investigation according to the new norms.
Trump tries religious gestures to hike support amid protests
Trumps religious outreach marked his latest efforts in a series of overtures to mobilize conservative voters of faith, particularly the white evangelical Christians who are among his most loyal supporters. But religious leaders across denominations accused Trump of trying to coopt religion in an attempt to project leadership at a time of deep national strife. Samuel Rodriguez, a Latino evangelical pastor who has advised Trump, said any president holding up the Bible is a powerful image." Is he somehow shaky with the white evangelical community? Rodriguez said of Trump. Robert P. Jones, CEO of the institute, also cited data showing white evangelical voters are shrinking as a share of the U.S. population, meaning Trump needs to overperform among his core religious supporters to win in November.
Trump tries religious gestures to hike support amid protests
He strode through Lafayette Park to the church after authorities forcefully broke up peaceful protests there. Trumps religious outreach marked his latest efforts in a series of overtures to mobilize conservative voters of faith, particularly the white evangelical Christians who are among his most loyal supporters. But religious leaders across denominations accused Trump of trying to coopt religion in an attempt to project leadership at a time of deep national strife. Samuel Rodriguez, a Latino evangelical pastor who has advised Trump, said any president holding up the Bible is a powerful image." Is he somehow shaky with the white evangelical community? Rodriguez said of Trump.
St John Paul II honored as Poland sees new abuse allegations
FILE - In this 1979 file photo, Pope John Paul II, left, poses with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected Pope on April 19, 2005 and chose Benedict XVI as his papal name. Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is honoring St. John Paul II on the centenary of his birth and floating the idea that he should be called the Great, as only two other popes have been. (AP Photo/File)WARSAW St. John Paul II was honored on the centennial of his birth Monday with special Masses at the Vatican and in his native Poland, an anniversary that comes as the Polish church finds itself confronted by new allegations of clerical sex abuse. Celebrating the memory of Saint John Paul II lets remember this: The Lord loves his people, he visited his people, he sent a shepherd.To Poles, John Paul is best remembered for using the papacy to shake the foundations of an oppressive communist system that was toppled across Eastern Europe 11 years into his papacy. And that issue has also been on people's minds in recent days because of a new documentary exposing alleged sex abuse in Poland's church.
Italy opens churches as virus rules dictate how to eat, pray
Italy partially lifted lockdown restrictions Monday after a two-month coronavirus lockdown. Before I became a priest I was a surgeon, so for me gloves are normal, he joked afterward. The Vatican has its own post-lockdown reopening norms, and as a sovereign state, is not beholden to the Italian government measures. But Wodzisz was thrilled anyway to be able to celebrate the centenary of John Paul's birth by visiting his tomb. We came to be close to the tomb, but we got a Mass!"