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Pope Francis honors Ugandan Christian martyrs

NAMUGONGO, Uganda — Pope Francis on Saturday honored Uganda's 19th century Christian martyrs and encouraged its 21st century Christian youths during a day that saw nearly a half-million Ugandans turn out to see the pontiff before he heads to Central African Republic for the final...

Date: 11/28/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis calls for a more decentralized church

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called Saturday for a Catholic Church that is far more decentralized, where the laity play a greater role, bishops conferences take care of certain problems and even the papacy is rethought.Francis issued the call during a ceremony Saturday...

Date: 10/18/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis wraps up U.S. visit with open-air Mass

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis urged hundreds of thousands of the faithful gathered Sunday for the biggest event of his U.S. visit to be open to "miracles of love," closing out his joyful six-day trip with a message of hope for families, consolation for victims of child...

Date: 09/28/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis wraps up U.S. visit with open-air Mass

PHILADELPHIA — Pope Francis urged hundreds of thousands of the faithful gathered Sunday for the biggest event of his U.S. visit to be open to “miracles of love,” closing out his six-day tour with a message of hope for families, consolation for victims of child sexual abuse and a warning to...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Nation & World

Pope reminds: We are in this together

"God bless America" sounds banal coming from politicians but profound when spoken by the shepherd of 1.2 billion souls. In his historic address to Congress, Pope Francis delivered a blessing of encouragement, not admonition — and spoke powerfully about the hot-button...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Pope Francis inspires us to be better people, a better nation

"Oh, so you drank the Kool-Aid," my neighbor superciliously sneered from the stoop he occupies each afternoon to sip wine and critique people's parking skills on our beloved Olive Street.I did, I confessed. I grabbed the pope's chalice, gulped it down and asked...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Congress should listen to pope, Boehner

Even by John Boehner's usual standard of lachrymosity, Thursday was a gusher.The House speaker shed a few tears while watching Pope Francis address a joint meeting of Congress. When he escorted the pontiff to the West Front of the Capitol to bless the masses below, Boehner...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

What the pope can teach Xi, Obama, Putin

Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in America this week the same way, making a slow descent down an airplane ramp toward a waiting entourage. Watching the two, you couldn't help wondering: Which man is more powerful in the world today?Francis is arguably...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Heed the pope and cooperate

Uncertainty, thy name is Congress.With only days remaining — hours, really — to avoid a shutdown of the federal government, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Friday that he will step down from his post and leave Congress all together. His resignation,...

Date: 09/27/2015 | Editorials

Pope Francis to release album called ‘Wake Up!’ on Nov. 27

NEW YORK — Pope Francis is becoming Pop Star Francis: The religious leader is set to release a pop-rock album.

Date: 09/26/2015 | Entertainment

Speaker John Boehner quits in sacrifice to rescue House

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sacrificed his job on Friday — a wrenching decision that he determined was the only way to spare the country the trauma of yet another government shutdown."More than anything, my first job as speaker is to...

Date: 09/26/2015 | Nation & World

Pope decries environmental damage, then visits ground zero

NEW YORK — In a day of both forceful words and eloquent silence, Pope Francis stood before the United Nations on Friday to decry the destruction of the environment through the “selfish and boundless thirst” for profit, then paid tribute to the victims of 9/11 with a prayer service at ground...

Date: 09/25/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis beseeches world leaders to protect environment

NEW YORK — Pope Francis declared Friday that there is a “right of the environment” and that mankind has no authority to abuse it, telling more than 100 world leaders and diplomats at the United Nations that urgent action is needed to halt the destruction of God’s creation.

Date: 09/25/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis makes appeals to Congress

NEW YORK — Pope Francis plunged into the melting pot of New York on Thursday after reminding the country of its immigrant origins in the first papal speech before Congress. At an evening prayer service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he thanked American nuns for their strength and courage in a deeply...

Date: 09/25/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis outlines his issues

WASHINGTON — Cheered by jubilant crowds across the nation's capital, Pope Francis forged common cause Wednesday with President Barack Obama on climate change, immigration and inequality, as the popular pontiff signaled he would not sidestep issues that have...

Date: 09/24/2015 | Nation & World

Pope presses message to Cuba: Be willing to change

HOLGUIN, Cuba — Pope Francis marked a personal anniversary Monday — the day as a teenager he decided to become a priest — by pressing a subtle message to Cubans at a delicate point in their history: Overcome ideological preconceptions and be willing to change.

Date: 09/21/2015 | Nation & World

Pope likely to shift to pastoral message in Cuba

HAVANA — Pope Francis opens his first full day in Cuba on Sunday with what normally would be the culminating highlight of a papal visit: Mass before hundreds of thousands of people in Havana's evocative Revolution Plaza.

Date: 09/19/2015 | Nation & World

Local parishioners become part of the papal journey

MARYSVILLE — The Rev. Dwight Lewis will never forget the day he came face to face with a pope. He was 14 when Pope John Paul II visited his island home of Trinidad Tobago.

Date: 09/19/2015 | Local News

Pope Francis simplifies marriage annulment process for Catholics

Pope Francis on Tuesday announced sweeping reforms to the Catholic Church’s marriage annulment process, changes that are designed to speed up and simplify the often lengthy procedure. The changes, according to Vatican experts, appear to be the most far-reaching made to the church’s annulment...

Date: 09/08/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis makes it an exciting time to be Catholic

Last month Pope Francis made a historic visit via satellite feed to Chicago's Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, where he reminded those of us in attendance that Catholic faith and education are capable of updating themselves.Not surprisingly, he spoke about social...

Date: 09/06/2015 | Commentary

Few Catholics know of pope’s climate views

NEW YORK — A new survey has found fewer than half of U.S. Roman Catholics said they knew of Pope Francis' bombshell encyclical on curbing climate change — and only a fraction of those heard about it from the pulpit — in the month after he released the document with an...

Date: 08/20/2015 | Nation & World

Pope praises Paraguay's women during Mass

CAACUPE, Paraguay — Pope Francis lauded the strength and religious fervor of Paraguayan women Saturday while visiting the country's most important pilgrimage site, where thousands of his fellow Argentines joined with hundreds of thousands of local faithful to welcome Latin...

Date: 07/12/2015 | Nation & World

Pope pops into Burger King for wardrobe change

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia — Burger King has long been providing quick meals. Pope Francis has now used it for a quick change.

Date: 07/09/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis arrives in Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Pope Francis arrived in Bolivia on Wednesday on the second leg of his South American tour and immediately insisted that the Catholic Church continue to play an important role in society amid efforts by the government of President Evo Morales to curb its...

Date: 07/08/2015 | Nation & World

On his native turf, Pope Francis touches on cherished issues

QUITO, Ecuador — History’s first Latin American pope returned to Spanish-speaking South America for the first time on Sunday, bringing a message of solidarity with the region’s poor, who are expected to turn out in droves to welcome their native son home.

Date: 07/05/2015 | Nation & World

Former pope honored for devotion to music

VATICAN CITY — Benedict XVI, emeritus pope and theologian, reflected Saturday on classical music as an “encounter with the divine,” saying listening to Mozart helps him experience “very deeply the Lord’s presence.”

Date: 07/05/2015 | Nation & World

Pope to Christians: Put aside divisions

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis appealed on Friday to faithful from all Christian churches to put divisions aside and concentrate on what unites them amid the persecution and slaying of Christians in parts of the world.

Date: 07/04/2015 | Nation & World

More reasons to limit carbon

The justifications for taking real and effective steps to slow climate change and limit the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere continue to mount.Recent studies and events now add to the warnings and recommendations about the threat to our...

Date: 06/24/2015 | Editorials

Pope’s climate stance political not spiritual

Pope Francis released an encyclical Thursday on climate change — a draft of which was leaked to the Italian magazine l'Espresso on Monday. The New York Times reports that the encyclical is "eagerly awaited, especially by scientists and environmentalists" —...

Date: 06/21/2015 | Opinion Columnists

'Our common home'

Viewpoints: Pope Francis calls for action on climate change

Date: 06/21/2015 | Commentary

Pope challenges world to clean up its filth

VATICAN CITY — With a poet's lyricism, a former chemist's precision and a pontiff's moral thunder, Pope Francis recast humanity's relationship with nature in stark ethical terms, hoping to spur a warming, filthy world to clean up its act "before it's too late."

Date: 06/18/2015 | Nation & World

Pope urges reconciliation during visit to Bosnia

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Pope Francis heard about the horrors of Bosnia's fratricidal war of the 1990s and its slow process of healing Saturday as he visited Sarajevo to urge Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics to put the "barbarity" of the past behind them and work...

Date: 06/06/2015 | Nation & World

Pope or Palin? You decide

A columnist for The Guardian newspaper, Kristina Keneally, a self-described "progressive Catholic" accuses Pope Francis of being nothing...

Date: 05/18/2015 | Editorials

Cardinal sees no change in Catholic family teachings

VATICAN CITY — A senior Vatican cardinal predicted Saturday that there will be no change in the Catholic Church’s practice and teaching about marriage, divorce and the reception of Communion at an upcoming meeting of bishops on family issues.

Date: 05/10/2015 | Nation & World

Friar who evangelized California to be a saint

VATICAN CITY — Friar Junipero Serra, an 18th century Franciscan who brought Christianity to California and is accused by Native American groups of colonial crimes, will be made a saint, the Vatican said Wednesday.The decision was taken by Pope Francis in a Tuesday...

Date: 05/07/2015 | Nation & World

Pope OKs resignation of bishop for not reporting abuse

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis accepted the resignation Tuesday of a U.S. bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser, answering calls by victims to take action against bishops who cover up for pedophile priests.

Date: 04/21/2015 | Nation & World

Shroud of Turin goes back on display

TURIN, Italy — Turin’s archbishop said interest in the Shroud of Turin is so keen that many pilgrims who already saw the burial cloth some believe covered Jesus are returning to see the linen again when it goes back on display starting Sunday.

Date: 04/18/2015 | Nation & World

Vatican ends crackdown on U.S. nuns

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican on Thursday unexpectedly ended its controversial reform of the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns, cementing a shift in tone and treatment of the U.S. sisters under the social justice-minded Pope Francis.

Date: 04/16/2015 | Nation & World

Turkey recalls Vatican envoy after pope cites Armenian genocide

VATICAN CITY — Armenians were the victims of “the first genocide of the 20th century,” Pope Francis said Sunday, prompting Turkey to recall its Vatican ambassador home to Ankara.

Date: 04/12/2015 | Nation & World

Pope presides over Easter Vigil

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis presided over the Easter Vigil service Saturday night amid mounting Vatican concern for modern-day Christian martyrs whose deaths have dominated this Easter season.

Date: 04/04/2015 | Nation & World

Pittsburgh Diocese eliminates annulment fees

PITTSBURGH — The Diocese of Pittsburgh is eliminating all fees for couples seeking an annulment, Bishop David Zubik announced Wednesday.Zubik said the decision was in response to Pope Francis' call to make annulments easier, and free."My staff and I...

Date: 04/02/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis assails death penalty

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said nothing can justify the use of the death penalty and there is no “right” way to humanely kill another person.

Date: 03/21/2015 | Nation & World

Cardinal prepares climate change encyclical

A Vatican official who helped write a first draft of Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on climate change acknowledged disagreement over the causes of global warming but said “what is not contested is that our planet is getting warmer” and Christians have a duty rooted in “ancient biblical teaching”...

Date: 03/14/2015 | Nation & World

Vatican whodunit: What happened to marriage books?

VATICAN CITY — A whodunit is making the rounds at the Vatican.The publisher of a book on traditional Catholic marriage is crying foul, saying someone apparently swiped upward of 100 copies of the book from the Vatican mailboxes of bishops who attended a meeting on family issues last October.

Date: 02/28/2015 | Nation & World

Pope welcomes 20 new cardinals

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis welcomed 20 new cardinals Saturday into the elite club of churchmen who will elect his successor and immediately delivered a tough-love message, telling them to put aside their pride, jealousy and self-interest and instead exercise charity.

Date: 02/15/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis: Spanking children is OK

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis says it's OK to spank your children to discipline them — as long as their dignity is maintained.Francis made the remarks this week during his weekly general audience, which was devoted to the role of fathers in the family.

Date: 02/06/2015 | Nation & World

Pope Francis to address Congress on Sept. 24

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of Congress on Sept. 24. He’ll be the first pontiff to do so.

Date: 02/05/2015 | Nation & World

Analyzing the pope’s words about women

Forget E.F. Hutton. It's P.F. (Pope Francis) these days who, when he talks, people listen.And then they get busy trying to figure out what he was really saying. Even non-Catholics are keen to study his words, so surprised and delighted are they to hear a pope say things that...

Date: 01/21/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Pope on Charlie Hebdo: There are limits to free expression

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis said Thursday there are limits to freedom of speech, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith.

Date: 01/15/2015 | Nation & World

Pope to focus on poor, exploited in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis said Thursday that his visit to the Philippines, Asia’s largest Catholic nation, will focus on the plight of the poor, the exploited and victims of injustice — themes sure to resonate in a nation where poverty afflicts nearly a fourth of the 100 million...

Date: 01/15/2015 | Nation & World

Pope backs search for wartime truth in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Pope Francis brought calls for reconciliation and justice to Sri Lanka on Tuesday as he began a weeklong Asian tour, saying the island nation can’t fully heal from a quarter-century of brutal civil war without pursuing the truth about abuses that were committed.

Date: 01/13/2015 | Nation & World

Manila traffic cops to wear diapers

MANILA, Philippines — When Pope Francis visits the Philippines next week, traffic enforcers won't let the capital's streets get gridlocked if they have to answer the call of nature.About 2,000 traffic enforcers who will be on duty during the Jan. 15-19 papal visit will...

Date: 01/08/2015 | Off the Wire

Pope and politics

Viewpoints: Heed Francis's words on global warming?

Date: 01/04/2015 | Commentary

Billy Graham on most-admired list again

For a record 58th time, evangelist Billy Graham has made the Gallup Poll's annual list of the men Americans most admire.The 96-year-old Graham, who rarely leaves his North Carolina home, tied with former President George W. Bush at No. 4 in the 2014 list of the 11 most...

Date: 01/01/2015 | Nation & World

John Paul II gunman lays flowers at Vatican tomb

VATICAN CITY — The Turkish gunman who shot and wounded John Paul II in 1981 laid white flowers Saturday on the saint's tomb in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican officials said.

Date: 12/27/2014 | Nation & World

Pope sends message to persecuted Middle East Christians

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Tuesday published a special Christmas message for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, telling them he prays for them “every day” and announcing plans to visit them in person.

Date: 12/24/2014 | Nation & World

Obama approves new relations with Cuba

WASHINGTON — The United States and Cuba ended more than a half-century of enmity Wednesday, announcing that they would reestablish diplomatic relations and begin dismantling the last pillar of the Cold War.The historic move, following 18 months of secret negotiations...

Date: 12/18/2014 | Nation & World

Vatican offers olive branch to U.S. nuns

VATICAN CITY — A sweeping Vatican investigation into Roman Catholic nuns in the U.S. that began amid fears they had become too feminist and secular ended up praising the sisters for their selfless work caring for the poor — a major shift in tone that reflected the social...

Date: 12/16/2014 | Nation & World

Pope to theologians: Listen to the faithful

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis urged the Catholic Church’s top theologians Friday to listen to what ordinary Catholics have to say and pay attention to the “signs of the times,” rather than just making pronouncements in an academic vacuum.

Date: 12/06/2014 | Nation & World

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