Former Vatican treasurer George Pell will remain in prison after an Australian appeals court rejected the disgraced cardinal’s appeal against his conviction for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys in the mid-1990s. The most senior Catholic official to be convicted of child sexual assault, Pell was sentenced in March to six years in prison, for an attack described by Chief Judge Peter Kidd as “breathtakingly arrogant.”
The Vatican has released a new document challenging modern conceptions of gender identity. The 31-page teaching guidance, released on Monday, is titled Male and Female He Created Them. It speaks of an “educational crisis” and says the current debate can “annihilate the concept of nature” and destabilize the family institution. It was issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education as teaching instruction to those who work with children.
Pope Francis has approved changes to the Lord’s Prayer after saying some of the words implied God pushes people toward sin. The pontiff revealed in 2017 that he wanted to amend the line “lead us not into temptation” after saying it was based on a flawed translation. He has now approved changing the words to “do not let us fall into temptation” in Italian, with an announcement made at the general assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Italy last month, according to reports.
Pope Francis has issued a new law requiring all Catholic priests and nuns around the world to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities, in a groundbreaking effort to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks. The church law published on Thursday provides whistleblower protections for anyone making a report and requires all dioceses around the world to have a system in place to receive the claims confidentially.
Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a letter which blames clerical sex abuse on the “all-out sexual freedom” of the 1960s. He said that cultural and historical change had led to a “dissolution” of morality in Catholicism. The sexual revolution in the 1960s had led to homosexuality and paedophilia in Catholic establishments, he claimed. The letter sparked fierce criticism from theologians who claim it is “deeply flawed”.
Pope Francis has addressed the mystery of why he withdrew his hand from worshippers’ kisses, explaining it was a “simple question of hygiene”. Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said the Pope was worried about germs when meeting Catholics last Wednesday. Conservative critics rounded on the pontiff, accusing him of shunning the centuries-old tradition. Video showing Pope Francis pulling away his hand from people attempting to kiss him went viral.
During an interview about religious vocations for a new book Pope Francis commented that homosexuality within the clergy ‘worries’ him and is a ‘serious matter.’ The Pope described homosexuality as ‘fashionable’ and said the Church must be ‘demanding’ when choosing priesthood candidates. The Pope’s comments referred to women aiming to become nuns as well.
Pope Francis granted sainthood to murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero at the Vatican on Sunday. The Pope praised Romero for his advocacy for peace and choice to be ‘close to the poor and his people.’ Romero was murdered by soldiers during a 1980 Mass. Pope Francis also canonized Pope Paul VI for 1960s Church reforms.
Pope Francis addressed an audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Wednesday and said abortion is like hiring ‘a hitman to solve a problem.’ The Pope is facing criticism for speaking against abortion which opposes the Roman Catholic Church’s traditional teachings. His remarks have been called ‘absurd’ by campaign group Christians for Choice.
The Vatican rescinded comments by Pope Francis that parents should seek psychiatric help for children displaying homosexual tendencies. The Pope’s comments were not intended to suggest that homosexuality is a mental illness. The Vatican said the comments were removed from official reports to not ‘change the thoughts of the Holy Father.’