Pope, President Trump speak of hopes for peace

Pope Francis exchanges gifts with U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife, Melania, during a private audience at the Vatican May 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Second updated version.

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump spent 30 minutes speaking privately in the library of the Apostolic Palace May 24, and as the president left, he told the pope, “I won’t forget what you said.”

The atmosphere at the beginning was formal and a bit stiff. However, the mood lightened when Pope Francis met the first lady, Melania Trump, and asked if she fed her husband “potica,” a traditional cake in Slovenia, her homeland. There were smiles all around.

Pope Francis gave Trump a split medallion held together by an olive tree, which his interpreter told Trump is “a symbol of peace.”

Speaking in Spanish, the pope told Trump, “I am giving you this because I hope you may be this olive tree to make peace.”

The president responded, “We can use peace.” Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Guatemalan Catholics are heirs of a martyred church, bishop says

Father Stanley Rother, a priest of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese who was brutally murdered in 1981 in the Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor, is shown baptizing a child in this undated photo. The priest will be beatified Sept. 23 in Oklahoma. (CNS)

Father Stanley Rother, a priest of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese who was brutally murdered in 1981 in the Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor, is shown baptizing a child in this undated photo. The priest will be beatified Sept. 23 in Oklahoma. (CNS)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Guatemalan bishops thanked Pope Francis for recognizing the martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the first martyr born in the United States.

Eighteen prelates from Guatemala met with the pope May 22 during their “ad limina” visit, presenting him with an embroidered image of the slain American priest.

Bishop Gonzalo de Villa Vasquez of Solola-Chimaltenango, the diocese where Father Rother lived, worked and died, said the priest who is to be beatified in September is one of many priests and laity in the country who gave their lives for Christ during the country’s brutal 1960-1996 civil war. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

U.S. extends Temporary Protected Status for Haitians for six months

A man argues with a Haitian National Police officer March 1 as a police line blocks a street during a march for better labor conditions in Port-au-Prince. Life for Haitians has not appreciably improved since a devastating 2010 earthquake. (CNS/Reuters)

A man argues with a Haitian National Police officer March 1 as a police line blocks a street during a march for better labor conditions in Port-au-Prince. Life for Haitians has not appreciably improved since a devastating 2010 earthquake. (CNS/Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Tens of thousands of Haitians enrolled under the Temporary Protected Status program can stay in the United States until at least January.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly renewed the designation May 22. The decision affects more than 58,000 Haitians in the U.S.

The designation, also known as TPS, was implemented by the U.S. government for Haiti days after a powerful earthquake in January 2010 leveled much of the country surrounding the capital of Port-au-Prince. It allowed Haitian nationals to stay in the U.S. because of adverse conditions in their homeland.

Kelly’s order extends Temporary Protected Status until Jan. 22, 2018, six months beyond the original expiration date of July 22. Previous extensions had been granted for 18 months. Continue reading

Posted in U.S., World

Devil prefers comfy, business-savvy church that overlooks truth, pope says

Pope Francis celebrates Mass last year in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via EPA)

Pope Francis celebrates Mass last year in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via EPA)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The devil would like to see a church that never takes any risks, never speaks out with the truth and just settles on being wishy-washy, comfortable and business-savvy, Pope Francis said.

God’s prophets always were persecuted because they created a disturbance, much like those today who denounce worldliness in the church and get ostracized, the pope said May 23 during a morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

However, “a church without martyrs gives rise to distrust; a church that takes no risks gives rise to distrust; a church that is afraid to proclaim Jesus Christ and cast out demons, idols and the other lord that is money is not the church of Jesus,” he said. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Pope, English church leaders offer prayers after Manchester Arena attack

A young concertgoer wearing a T-shirt showing U.S. singer Ariana Grande talks to the media near Manchester Arena in England May 23. (CNS/Reuters)

A young concertgoer wearing a T-shirt showing U.S. singer Ariana Grande talks to the media near Manchester Arena in England May 23. (CNS/Reuters)

(Updated 3:24 p.m. ET)

By Simon Caldwell
Catholic News Service

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — Pope Francis decried the “barbaric attack” on concertgoers in Manchester, adding his voice to Catholic leaders dismayed at what British officials said was the deadliest case of terrorism since 2005.

In a telegram sent to English church officials on Pope Francis’ behalf, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said the pope “was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and tragic loss of life” after a suicide bomb killed at least 22 people and injured another 59 at Manchester Arena May 22. Many concertgoers at the Ariana Grande concert were teenagers, young adults and families.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican, World

Be prophets of joy, not misfortune, pope tells nuns

Pope Francis accepts a gift as he greets participants in the general chapter of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master during an audience at the Vatican May 22. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis accepts a gift as he greets participants in the general chapter of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master during an audience at the Vatican May 22. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

By Junno Arocho Esteves
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Consecrated women are called to be prophets of hope and joy in the world and avoid putting on a superficial joy that withers the soul, Pope Francis said.

In order to live out the joy of the Gospel, “it must be a true joy, not a counterfeit joy” that brings about “the cancer of resignation,” the pope told a group from the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master.

“Please, sisters, no resignation. Only joy! The devil will say, ‘We are small, we don’t have many vocations.’ And your face will grow long — down, down, down — and you lose joy,” he said. “No, you cannot live like that; the hope of Jesus is joy.” Continue reading

Posted in Vatican

Geography and geometry: New cardinals fit pope’s formula for faith

Cardinal-designate Gregorio Rosa Chavez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, is one of five new cardinals Pope Francis will elevate at a June 28 consistory. Bishop Rosa Chavez, seen at a march for peace, was a close collaborator of Blessed Oscar Romero. (CNS/Octavio Duran)

Cardinal-designate Gregorio Rosa Chavez, auxiliary bishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, is one of five new cardinals Pope Francis will elevate at a June 28 consistory. Bishop Rosa Chavez, seen at a march for peace, was a close collaborator of Blessed Oscar Romero. (CNS/Octavio Duran)

(Backgrounder and analysis)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis, who described himself as coming from “the ends of the earth,” continues to go to the far reaches of the globe to seek those who will advise him and possibly elect the next pope.

Announcing May 21 that he was adding five churchmen to the College of Cardinals, Pope Francis said their geographic mix — two Europeans, an African, an Asian and a Central American — reflect the catholicity of the church.

After the June 28 consistory, 62 countries will have at least one cardinal elector — a cardinal under the age of 80 and, therefore, eligible both to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope, but also available for membership on various Vatican congregations, councils and dicasteries.

[RelatedPope announces new cardinals from Mali, Spain, Sweden, Laos, Salvador]

Obviously, Pope Francis is continuing the big push begun under Blessed Paul VI to internationalize the College of Cardinals. The cardinal electors that chose St. John Paul II in 1978 came from 49 countries. The group that elected now-retired Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 came from 51 nations (52 if England and Scotland are counted separately). And the cardinals who gathered in the Sistine Chapel to elect Pope Francis hailed from 47 countries. Continue reading

Posted in Vatican