Pope Francis said the beatification of an Italian computer whiz-kid was a sign to young people that “true happiness comes from putting God first”. Carlo Acutis, who is on a path to sainthood after being beatified in the Umbrian town of Assisi, helped spread Roman Catholic teaching online before his death from leukaemia aged 15 in 2006. He is the youngest contemporary person to be beatified.
Pope Francis declined to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his trip to Rome on Wednesday so as to avoid being used as a tool for President Trump’s reelection, according to Vatican officials. Pompeo visited Rome on Wednesday to push back against the renewal of a 2018 deal between China and the Vatican. Pompeo is not part of the Trump reelection campaign.
The powerful head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, resigned suddenly Thursday from the post and renounced his rights as a cardinal amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly. Becciu, the former No. 2 in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, has been reportedly implicated in a financial scandal involving the Vatican’s investment in a London real estate deal that has lost the Holy See millions of euros in fees paid to middlemen.
Nearly three years after the release of a damning national report into child sexual abuse, the Australian government has published dozens of previously redacted pages of text relating to Cardinal George Pell. The commission found that, as early as 1973, the former Vatican Treasurer “was not only conscious of child sex abuse by clergy but that he also had considered measures of avoiding situations which might provoke gossip about it.”
In a nearly empty St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis celebrated Easter in virtual solitude on Sunday, calling for the world to come together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The world is “oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family,” Francis said. In the midst of that suffering, Francis said, the message that Christ has risen is “the contagion of hope.”
Cardinal George Pell welcomed Australia’s highest court clearing him of child sex crimes Tuesday and said his trial had not been a referendum on the Catholic Church’s handling of the clergy abuse crisis. Pope Francis’ former finance minister Pell had been the most senior Catholic found guilty of sexually abusing children and has spent 13 months in high-security prisons before seven High Court judges unanimously dismissed his convictions.
Lawyers for George Pell began a final bid on Wednesday to overturn the former Vatican treasurer’s conviction for sexually abusing two choirboys, arguing in Australia’s highest court that he could not have committed the offenses. Cardinal Pell, 78, began serving a six-year prison sentence a year ago, becoming the highest ranking Catholic clergyman worldwide to be jailed for child sex offenses.
Pope Francis has ruled against ordaining married men in the Amazon region as a means of addressing the shortage of Catholic priests. Bishops backed the measure last year, but the decision needed the Pope’s approval to be implemented. Catholic priests are required to abide by the rule of celibacy upon ordination except in cases where married Anglican ministers have converted. Celibacy is seen as the devotion of one’s life to God.
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.