TIME Pope Francis

Pope Francis Kicks Off Holy Land Visit in Jordan

JORDAN-VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE
Pope Francis blesses the crowd before celebrating a mass at the Amman stadium in the Jordanian capital on May 24, 2014. Khalil Mazraawi—AFP/Getty Images

The Pontiff's historic, three-day journey to the Middle East begins with a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman. In a papal first, he is traveling with both a rabbi and an imam

Pope Francis arrived in Amman, Jordan on Saturday morning, kicking off a jam-packed three-day trip to the Holy Land.

In his first official visit to the region, the Pontiff will meet with King Abdullah II, then celebrate mass at the International Stadium, visit the site of Jesus’ baptism, and meet with refugees from neighboring Syria and Iraq. On Sunday, he will take a helicopter to Bethlehem in the West Bank, then head to Jerusalem later that night.

As TIME’s Elizabeth Dias writes, the Pontiff’s reputation as a trend-bucker will be on display throughout the trip. He has refused to use a bulletproof car and is traveling with an imam and a rabbi, marking the first time an official papal delegation has included members of other faiths.

The Pope’s visit is under particular scrutiny from Palestinians, many of whom are Christian, who are hoping that he will spotlight the Israeli occupation. Francis has emphasized that the pilgrimage to the region is for “strictly religious” purposes, but his decision to fly directly into the West Bank rather than go through Israel’s security barrier from Jerusalem has already drawn note.

“We feel he has been able to speak about the poor in Latin America,” Naim Ateek, an Anglican priest, told TIME ahead of the trip. “Now we would like to see him speak about the oppressed in Palestine.”

Christians in the region are also hoping that the Pope’s visit might rejuvenate the dwindling minority of Christians in the region.

But the Pope, who was TIME’s Person of The Year in 2013, is set to meet with representatives of many faiths and groups. He is expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday and with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

TIME World

Pope Francis Says He Would Baptize Martians If They Asked

VATICAN-POPE-EDUCATION
Andreas Solaro / AFP / Getty Images

And then he'd probably take a selfie with them afterwards

In a homily delivered Monday, Pope Francis said he’d totally baptize Martians if they showed up at the Vatican demanding to be baptized.

He was trying to illustrate the point that everyone has the right to receive the Holy Spirit — even aliens from faraway planets.

If tomorrow, for example, an expedition of Martians arrives and some of them come to us … and if one of them says: ‘Me, I want to be baptized!’, what would happen?” the pontiff said, according to AFP.

He defined these hypothetical beings as “green men, with a long nose and big ears, like children draw.” For extra emphasis, he added, “Who are we to close doors?”

TIME Vatican

Pope Francis to World: Redistribute The Wealth

Pope meets Ban Ki-moon in Vatican
Pope Francis meets UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and members of UN System Chief Executives Board for the biannual meeting on strategic coordination in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City on May 9, 2014. Osservatore Romano/EPA

Pope Francis reaffirmed his plea on Friday for world leaders to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor during an address before top U.N. officials and called for a global initiative to reduce the income gap

Pope Francis on Friday renewed his call on global leaders to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.

Francis made his plea during an address to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other U.N. leaders gathered in Rome for an audience with the pope, CBS News reports.

Railing against an “economy of exclusion,” Francis called for a state-led global initiative to close the widening gap between rich and poor through redistribution.

Specifically, this involves challenging all forms of injustices and resisting the economy of exclusion, the throwaway culture and the culture of death which nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted,” Francis said.

The comments were in keeping with the Pope’s previous critiques of income inequality at the World Economic Forum in January and in a private March meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Pope and Ban skirted the issue of an ongoing U.N. investigation into the Vatican’s handling of sexual abuse cases and briefly touched upon the Catholic church’s stances on birth control and abortion.

[CBS News]

TIME Vatican

Vatican Reveals It Punished Thousands of Priests For Sex Abuse

SWITZERLAND-UN-VATICAN-CHURCH-CHILD-SEX-ABUSE-RIGHTS
The Vatican's Ambassador to the United Nations Monsignor Silvano Tomasi (R) gestures next to Vatican Secretary of State Professor Vincenzo Buonomo (L) during a hearing before the United Nations (UN) Committee Against Torture on May 5, 2014, in Geneva. FABRICE COFFRINI—AFP/Getty Images

The Vatican's ambassador released comprehensive figures during the second day of grilling by a U.N. committee that monitors an international convention against torture, claiming to have defrocked hundreds and sanctioned thousands of priests in the last decade

The Vatican on Tuesday revealed a rare, year-by-year tally of how many priests it had disciplined over the past decade for alleged sexual abuses against children.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, a Vatican ambassador, revealed to a United Nations committee that the Vatican had defrocked a total of 848 priests and sanctioned another 2,572 over the last 10 years, the Wall Street Journal reports.

A U.N. committee charged with monitoring an international convention against torture has been investigating whether the Vatican’s senior officials are liable for the abuses, and whether it constitutes torture under the terms of the treaty.

[WSJ]

TIME Vatican

Papal Commission Wants Abusive Priests Held to Account

A church commission investigating child sex abuse called for the establishment of "clear and effective protocols" for dealing with the problem and says that all clerics proven guilty of sex abuse or negligence will be held accountable, regardless of rank

A commission set up to advise Pope Francis on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church will recommend that negligent and accused church officials be held accountable no matter their rank, a cardinal said Saturday.

“Our concern is to make sure that there are clear and effective protocols to deal with superiors in the church who have not fulfilled their obligations to protect children,” Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said. Accountability should apply to “every one in the church regardless of what their status is … both for those who perpetrate the crime of sexual abuse and those who are negligent in child protection.”

The eight-person commission, made up of four men and four women, met for the first time since the commission’s March formation, Reuters reported. The commission said in a statement that it sees “ensuring accountability in the Church as especially important.”

The commission will draw up protocols for the pope to consider in order to address the frequent cases of child abuse over the years within the church. In many cases, bishops have protected accused priests by moving them between parishes rather than handing them over to the police or defrocking them.

Pope Francis asked for forgiveness last month for the “evil” committed by priests who have molested children.

[Reuters]

 

 

TIME

Thousands Gather for Canonization Mass

800,000 people descended on St. Peter's Square Sunday to bear witness to Popes John XXIII and John Paul II becoming saints

TIME TIME 100

The Most Surprising Photos of Pope Francis

In his short time in the papacy, TIME 100 honoree Pope Francis has led by example, attending to the poor, embracing the sick and washing the feet of the less fortunate

TIME

Watch: Pope Francis and Easter at the Vatican

Watch highlights of Pope Francis’s Easter prayers for peace in Syria and Ukraine via Vatican Radio and TV.

TIME faith

Scientists Say Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Probably Not Fake

Papyrus, Jesus' wife
Karen L. King Hollis, Professor of Divinity at Harvard University, in her office with a papyrus fragment of the gospel of Jesus' wife. Bill Greene—Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Vatican called a papyrus fragment which suggests Jesus was married a "clumsy forgery" when it emerged in 2012, but forensic analysis now appears to have proved its authenticity

A highly contested ancient Egyptian papyrus that references Jesus as a married man is more likely an authentic ancient text rather than a modern forgery, says a paper published in the Harvard Theological Review Tuesday.

In 2012, Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen L. King presented the fragment, called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” at a conference in Rome. Controversial passages read: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…'” and also “she will be able to be my disciple.” The latter caused a stir amid the backdrop of a continuing debate within the Catholic Church on whether women should be allowed to be priests.

Although the Vatican immediately dismissed the text as a “clumsy forgery,” teams of engineering, biology, and chemistry professors from Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded after carbon testing that it is written on papyrus from the ancient era. An Egyptologist at Brown University, however, maintained that the document is a fraud. The University of Arizona said that it could not come to a firm conclusion given the small sample size.

King told the Boston Globe that the important argument isn’t whether or not Jesus was married, as one text doesn’t prove fact: “I’m basically hoping that we can move past the issue of forgery to questions about the significance of this fragment for the history of Christianity, for thinking about questions like, ‘Why does Jesus being married, or not, even matter? Why is it that people had such an incredible reaction to this?'”

[Harvard Theological Review]

TIME Pope Francis

Pope Francis Greets Queen Elizabeth In Vatican

The Queen And Duke Of Edinburgh Visit Rome And The Vatican City
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, have an audience with Pope Francis, during their one-day visit to Rome on April 3, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Oli Scarff—Getty Images

Last week, Obama gave the Pope seeds. Today, the Queen gave him whiskey

A highly anticipated meeting between Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth was held on Thursday afternoon in the Vatican, where the two world leaders exchanged words and gifts in person for the first time. The pair met for half an hour, including 17 minutes in private.

Last week, President Obama gave Francis a chest filled with seeds from fruits and vegetables used in the White House garden. But the Queen one-upped the American leader during her visit, presenting the Pope with whiskey and venison. Francis was the fifth Pope with whom Queen Elizabeth has met during her fifty-year reign. This trip marks the first foreign trip for the British monarch in three years.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser