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.
Cardinal George Pell will have a final chance to overturn his conviction on historical child sexual abuse offenses after the high court in Canberra agreed to hear appeal arguments in a special full court sitting. Led by the high-profile silk Bret Walker SC, Pell’s legal team will argue that the majority of judges in Victoria’s court of appeal erred by finding in August that jurors were not unreasonable to believe the testimony of Pell’s victim.
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 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 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.
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.