From a dramatic snowstorm in Buffalo, N.Y. and the slaying of worshipers in a Jerusalem synagogue to Obama’s immigration plan and the murder of Honduras’ beauty queen, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.
The Vatican said it is raffling off objects that the Pontiff has received as gifts
Pope Francis’ four-wheel-drive Panda Fiat is just one of a collection of items the Vatican is raffling off to raise money for charity.
Posters around the Vatican announced the raffle will also include his Homero Ortega brand hat, bicycles, and an espresso coffee machine, Reuters reports, among 13 objects and 30 unspecified “consolation prizes.”
Tickets on sale at the Vatican will cost $12.50, and the winner will be announced on Jan. 8. The Vatican announced last week that Pope Francis, who has made fighting poverty a priority, was building bathrooms for the homeless in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The statement seems at odds with the Vatican leader's push to make the church more accepting of nontraditional families
“Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother,” said the Pope during a speech at the Complementarity of Man and Woman conference in Rome.
The statement, made to the attending conservative religious leaders around the world, was the only concrete reference the Pope made to heterosexuality, with the rest of the speech remaining largely ambiguous on the concept of complementarity between man and woman.
Many religious leaders present at the conference took this to mean an unequivocal support of traditional families. “Pope Francis made clear that male/female complementarity is essential to marriage and cannot be revised by contemporary ideologies,” Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention tweeted.
However, the Pontiff’s announcement at the conclusion of his speech that he will attend Philadelphia’s World Meeting of the Families in September was conversely deemed a nod toward more acceptance of nontraditional families.
Sister Simone Campbell, an advocate on various social-justice issues who has taken on the church in the past, predicted that there would be several nontraditional families present at the Philadelphia conference. “He’s bringing in the various realities and letting people speak for themselves, and that creates change,” Campbell told the Washington Post. “He’s opening hearts. He’s not changing definitions.”
Thorny issues surrounding family life, the LGBT community and divorced and remarried couples will be at the fore of the Pope's 2015 visit stateside
After months of speculation, Pope Francis made it official Monday: he plans on visiting the United States in September 2015. For his first ever trip to the nation, Francis will go to Philadelphia for the 8th World Meeting of Families.
This much anticipated gathering will take place just weeks before the Vatican’s 2015 Synod of the Family. The meeting and the synod will serve as the conclusion of a year long discernment process by the Church on the best way forward in approaching thorny issues surrounding family life, particularly pastoral outreach to the LGBT community and communion for divorced and remarried couples.
Last month, the Church began this discernment process at an extraordinary synod called by Pope Francis. The meeting’s blockbuster midterm report affirmed the “gifts and qualities” of the LGBT community and courageously asked, “are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?” Though the attending bishops rejected this language in the final report, it’s clear that this conversation about family life has advanced forward and will dominate the Church in the next year.
On all these issues, Pope Francis has consistently been revealing his cards throughout the process. For one, Francis has asked the Church to be open to a new way forward. In a September homily, the pope debunked the worst myth in and about the Catholic Church: that it doesn’t change. In fact, the Church asks us, Pope Francis says “to leave aside the old structures: they are of no use! And to take up new wineskins, those of the Gospel.”
The Church that Pope Francis dreams of is a home for everyone: “the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.” This Church is with people and engaged in their sufferings. Francis puts it this way: “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.” And finally, this is a Church that distributes its sacraments widely and doesn’t use them as a weapon to divide its flock. The Eucharist, Francis says, “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
Pope Francis is hoping that the Church that gathers in Philadelphia will be open to what he calls the “newness” of God. But clearly not everyone is on board with the Francis agenda. American Cardinal Raymond Burke–who was recently demoted–has been Francis’s most vocal critic: “The pope rightly speaks of the need to go out to the peripheries….The people have responded very warmly to this. But we cannot go to the peripheries empty-handed….Faith cannot adapt to culture but must call to it to convert. We are a counter-cultural movement, not a popular one.”
Cardinal Burke’s critique perhaps lays out the biggest question of the 2015 meeting in Philadelphia. Yes, the Church must go and encounter the world. But what must be the contours of this engagement look like? And how far is the Church willing to modify its practices in this effort? Even Francis doesn’t know the answer to these detailed questions, but less than a year away from this historic gathering in the City of Brotherly Love, he’s sure of his basic hope: “Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved and forgiven.”
Christopher Hale is a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and the co-founder of Millennial. He helped lead national Catholic outreach for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
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The pope will attend the triennial World Meeting of Families+ READ ARTICLE
Pope Francis has confirmed he will travel to the U.S. next year to attend a gathering in the city of Brotherly Love, marking his first visit to the U.S. as pontiff.
“I wish to confirm according to the wishes of the Lord, that in September of 2015, I will go to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families,” Pope Francis said Monday, according to Vatican Radio. “Thank you for your prayers with which you accompany my service to the Church. Bless you from my heart.”
The World Meeting of Families is a triennial gathering and claims to be the world’s largest meeting of Catholic families. It will be held Sept. 22-27, with the Pope set to attend the final weekend events. During his visit, the pope will host a mass at the close of the event in Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Details of his visit, however, have not been finalized.
“A hallmark of his papacy has been a keen focus on the many challenges that families face today globally,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. “I believe that the presence of the Holy Father will bring all of us –Catholic and non-Catholic alike – together in tremendously powerful, unifying and healing ways.”
Pope Francis hinted he’d be traveling to the U.S. in 2015 in August, but it had yet to be confirmed.
(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis denounced the right to die movement Saturday, saying it’s a “false sense of compassion” to consider euthanasia as an act of dignity when in fact it’s a sin against God and creation.
Francis made the comments to the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors.
Earlier this month, the Vatican’s top bioethics official condemned as “reprehensible” the assisted suicide of an American woman, Brittany Maynard, who was suffering terminal brain cancer and said she wanted to die with dignity.
Francis didn’t refer to the Maynard case specifically.
While denouncing euthanasia in general, he also condemned abortion, in vitro fertilization (or “the scientific production of a child”) and embryonic stem cell research (or “using human beings as laboratory experiments to presumably save others.”)
“This is playing with life,” he said. “Beware, because this is a sin against the creator, against God the creator.”
While shying away from hot-button, culture war issues such as abortion, Francis has spoken out frequently about euthanasia. He considers the assisted suicide movement as a symptom of today’s “throw-away culture” that views the sick and elderly as useless drains on society.
Francis urged doctors to take “courageous and against-the-grain” decisions to uphold church teaching on the dignity of life, even if it requires resorting to conscientious objection.
The Vatican’s U.N. envoy is dropping hints
Pope Francis could be planning a visit to New York in time for the United Nations’ 70th anniversary in 2015, the Vatican’s U.N. envoy has hinted.
The Holy See has already said he would like to attend a family rally in Philadelphia next year and his permanent observer to the U.N., Archbishop Bernardito Auza, told the Associated Press, “if he comes to Philadelphia, he will come to New York.”
A papal visit in 2015 would also coincide with an upcoming exhibition at the U.N. headquarters in New York City that will feature century-old manuscripts relating to the Pope’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.
Auza said people had been hoping the exhibition would serve as a kind of announcement that the Pope intended to visit the States.
Three showers are going up near St. Peter's
The Pope traditionally washes the feet of the poor on the day before Good Friday. But now the Vatican has unveiled plans to offers bathrooms to the poor all year round.
Rome’s homeless will soon be able to shower in the shadow of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Vatican plans to build the showers for Rome’s homeless to wash and change, the Vatican Insider, run by the Italy’s La Stampa, reports. It’s also helping ten parishes across Rome provide access to showers.
Pope Francis, TIME’s Person of the Year in 2013, has made poverty alleviation a priority, and this week he called on leaders converging in Australia for the G20 meeting to take responsibility for the “poor and marginalized.”
"Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision"
Pope Francis warned heads of states attending the annual G20 meeting in Australia about the effects of “unbridled consumerism” and called on them to take concrete steps to alleviate unemployment.
In a letter addressed to Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is chairing this year’s G20 Leaders’ Summit which begins Sunday, the Pontiff called for its participants to consider that “many lives are at stake.”
“It would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle,” Pope Francis wrote in the letter.
Pope Francis, who has made a habit of addressing the leaders of the G20 meetings, has often raised his concerns with the global economy. Last year, in lengthy report airing the views of the Vatican, he criticized the “idolatry of money” and denounced the unfettered free market as the “new tyranny.”
In the letter published Tuesday, he said that, like attacks on human rights in the Middle East, abuses in the financial system are among the “forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious.”
“Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level,” he wrote.
Cardinal Raymond Burke was the Vatican's highest ranking American
Pope Francis has demoted a conservative American cardinal who has criticized his leadership of the Catholic Church.
The pontiff removed Cardinal Raymond Burke as the leader of the Vatican’s highest court and appointed him to a ceremonial position as chaplain of the Knights of Malta, a charity group, according to a press bulletin issued Saturday.
That is a significant demotion, according to the National Catholic Reporter. “The position of Patron of the the Order of Malta is usually given to a retired cardinal, or as a second task to an active cardinal,” Michael Sean Winters writes. “It has almost no responsibilities.”
The move was not a surprise, as Burke, the Vatican’s highest ranking American, had said last month that he was going to have a new post.
The outspoken, conservative bishop — who pushed for the Vatican to revise and water-down its recent, tentative step toward greater acceptance of LGBT people — has butted heads with the pope since the Argentine was elected last year. Last month, he compared Pope Francis’ leadership to “a ship without a rudder” during an interview with a Spanish magazine.