Pope Francis apologizes for church child abuse, vows to clean house

In an "unprecedented" letter to the the laity, Pope Francis described priestly child abuse as an atrocity and the Catholic Church's protection of abusers as complicity.

With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.

Read the rest

Vatican: More trained exorcists needed to fight the demonic

According to the Vatican, demonic possessions are on the uptick. In order to meet the rising demand for assistance by those assailed by the demonic, the Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists will be holding a training course for Priests interested in fighting the demonic. According to The Guardian, the course will held at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome between 16-21 April.

The announcement of the upcoming Vatican course comes at a time when concerns over whether the rite of exorcism could be seen as a form of spiritual and physical abuse are being raised.

From The Guardian:

Last year, the Christian thinktank Theos reported that exorcisms were a “booming industry” in the UK, particularly among Pentecostal churches.

But some warn that “deliverance ministry” can be a form of spiritual abuse. Critics also say LGBT people and those with mental health issues are targeted for deliverance in the belief that their sexuality or psychiatric problems are the result of demonic possession.

For their part, the Vatican, as well as the Anglican and Orthodox churches, acknowledge that medical care and psychological assessment of anyone asking for exorcism is a must--mistaking a medically treatable condition for spiritual affliction doesn't help anyone. Of equal importance is the fact that, as part of an exorcist's training, it's reinforced that unwanted touching or unrequested exorcisms should not take place.

No matter where your beliefs (or lack thereof) fall on the issue of exorcism, having more trained exorcists rolling around out there will likely be a good thing for those who feel that their only recourse from torment or spiritual danger is through a cleansing rite. Read the rest

Pope Francis doesn't want to hold Donald Trump's hand either

(/r/gifs) Read the rest

Pope: I don't support homophobic civic layabout Kim Davis

Kim Davis, the bigot who won't issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, said she had a 15-minute audience with the Pope, who told her to stay strong. Read the rest

Pope Leo XII drank coca wine and also endorsed it in ads

As previously posted, Pope Francis plans to chew coca leaves and already drank tea infused with coca, the raw ingredient in cocaine, during his visit to Bolivia.

Psychedelic historian Michael Horowitz points out that Francis is following in the footsteps of Pope Leo XII who appeared in an advertisement for the coca-infused French wine Vin Mariani, popular in the late 19th century. Read the rest

Pope says atheists are OK with Jesus, so long as they "do good"

Yesterday's Papal homily, delivered by the Pope without notes after conducting Mass in his residence, included a story about a priest who told an atheist that he was redeemed by Jesus just as a Catholic would be, so long as the atheist "did good." Read the rest

Pope cool with atheists

Steve Anderson at The Independent:

Pope Francis has said that atheists should be seen as good people as long as they do good, in a move to urge people of all religions - or no religion at all - to get along.

Read the rest

Dead Chavez helped Christ pick pope

Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro: "We know that our commander ascended to the heights and is face-to-face with Christ. Something influenced the choice of a South American pope, someone new arrived at Christ's side and said to him: 'Well, it seems to us South America's time has come.'" [Reuters] Read the rest

Pope resigns, God strikes St. Peter's Basilica with lightning

Just hours after Pope Benedict XVI quit, a lightning bolt struck St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Yeah, yeah, lightning probably strikes the church on days when the pope hasn't resigned too. But it's more fun to ignore that as you appreciate this. (The Guardian) Read the rest

Pope to resign

The BBC reports that Benedict XVI is unexpectedly resigning as pope. I guess you could call it an ex cathedra announcement. /caruso Read the rest

Video: As The Pope Tweets

The His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI sends his very first tweet, on an iPad.