Pope Francis on Wednesday called a report detailing decades of abuse in the French Catholic Church “a moment of shame,” and called upon leaders of the Church to ensure “similar tragedies” never happen again. Francis was speaking a day after a landmark report found that members of the Catholic clergy in France sexually abused an estimated 216,000 minors over the past seven decades.
Pope Francis has left hospital, 10 days after an operation to remove half his colon. The Pope had surgery at Rome’s Gemelli hospital on 4 July to tackle a severe narrowing of his large intestine. The 84-year-old pontiff briefly got out of the car carrying him back to the Vatican as it reached the Perugino Gate, greeting security guards.
Pope Francis has rejected the resignation of German Cardinal Reinhard Marx over the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis. Cardinal Marx wrote a letter to the Pope last week offering to resign as the archbishop of Munich and Freising over the Church’s mishandling of abuse cases. However, Francis responded saying he must continue in his role and “shepherd my sheep”.
The Catholic Church can’t bless same-sex unions, the Vatican said Monday, saying it is “not licit” to bless relationships that involve sexual activity outside of marriage. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the ruling in response to a question about whether the church has the “power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.”
Pope Francis, in another step towards greater equality for women in the Roman Catholic Church, on Monday changed its law to allow them to serve as readers at liturgies, altar servers and distributors of communion. In a decree, the pope formalized what already has been happening in many countries for years. But with the change in the Code of Canon Law, conservative bishops will not be able to block women in their diocese from those roles.
The Vatican has urged Catholics to get vaccinated against coronavirus and said it is “morally acceptable” to take vaccines that use cell lines from aborted fetuses. Cells derived from fetuses aborted decades ago have been used by some researchers working on vaccines against Covid-19. The use of such vaccines “does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive”, a note said.
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.”
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.