Pope Francis said he would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, making it the first confirmed stop on what is expected to be a more extensive papal visit to North America.
The archbishop who distributes charity on behalf of Pope Francis has announced that the public restrooms in St. Peter’s Square will include showers where the homeless can wash.
The secrecy of a confession is maintained so seriously and completely by the Catholic Church that a priest would be excommunicated for revealing the contents of a confession when ordered to testify by a court or even after the penitent dies, Vatican officials said.
“With great trepidation, I am following the dramatic incidents of Christians in several parts of the world being persecuted and killed because of their religious beliefs,” the pope said. “I must express my deep spiritual closeness to the Christian communities so harshly struck by an absurd violence that does not show signs of stopping.”
With little discussion except over a handful of minor amendments, the U.S. bishops accepted four liturgical items Nov. 11 during their annual fall general assembly in Baltimore.
Though there were no actions on the U.S. bishops’ agenda in Baltimore dealing with immigration, poverty and other public policy issues, the president of their conference said Nov. 11 that he hopes to meet with President Barack Obama and House and Senate leaders soon on several topics.
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, told the bishops the committee — extended for another three years — planned to focus more on teaching and expanding networks with Catholic lay groups and interfaith and ecumenical partners.
October’s extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was just one event, but “a tale of two synods” emerged from it, according to the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The president of the German bishops’ conference praised Catholics who helped bring down the Berlin Wall, but also urged the church to look ahead to its future mission.
“Where there is a wall,” he said, “there is a closed heart. We need bridges, not walls!”
The Vatican’s new rules for budgeting and financial reporting, which will go into effect Jan. 1, call for heightened transparency and consistency in the church’s central administration and underscore the oversight powers of two economic bodies Pope Francis established in February.