Pope, meeting Iraqi leader, urges work for reconciliation
Meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Pope Francis expressed his hopes that Iraq and other war-torn countries would have leaders strong enough to bring once-divided peoples together. "I wish for Iraqis and for all of us -- for the whole world -- leaders like this," the pope said Feb. 10 as he gave the Iraqi leader a medallion featuring an olive tree -- a sign of peace -- that holds together a split rock.
Supreme Court, states give death penalty laws another look
The death penalty in the United States is repeatedly getting hit by the pause button -- which doesn't mean it is going away anytime soon, but at the very least it is getting a second look by state legislatures, courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. This year, several states are looking at legislative reform of the death penalty and some are considering repealing it. In early February, both Delaware and Florida announced they were halting executions until the states' Supreme Courts determine the constitutionality of death penalty laws.
Lent is a time of pruning and reconciliation, Pope Francis says
In his Ash Wednesday homily, Pope Francis said that Lent is the perfect time to let go of selfish and indifferent attitudes, returning to God with the help of prayer, penance and acts of charity. “Lent is a beneficial time of pruning from falsity, from worldliness, from indifference: to not think that everything is ok if I am ok; to understand that what counts is not approval, the pursuit of success or consensus, but purity of heart and life,” the Pope said Feb. 10. It’s a time to rediscover one’s Christian identity, “which is love that serves, not selfishness that uses,” he said.
Live in relationship with God the Father, Pope tells Pompei’s youth
Pope Francis has sent an audio message to the Territorial Prelature of Pompei in support of its Lenten youth initiative. “Jesus asks us to do good for the sake of good,” he said. “He asks us to feel we are under the watchful gaze of our heavenly Father at all times and to live in relationship with Him – not in relationship with the opinion of others.”
Giving to the poor is part of jubilee year, pope says
A jubilee year that does not open people's wallets to share what they have with others is not a true jubilee, Pope Francis said. "This pope isn't inventing that," he insisted. "It's in the Bible." At his weekly general audience Feb. 10 in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis spoke about the description of a jubilee year in the Book of Leviticus. The religious feast also had serious social implications, he said, because it proclaimed a forgiveness of debts, the freedom of indentured servants and special generosity toward the poor and the stranger.