Sep 29, 2019

Pope Francis denounces countries that sell weapons but deny refugees

Pope Francis with a statue depicting migrants and refugees. Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis in a sermon at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday criticized countries that produce and sell weapons for wars beyond their borders and then refuse to admit refugees fleeing those same conflicts, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: The Argentine pope, whose parents were Italian immigrants, has used his pontificate to defend migrants and scorn strict immigration policies enacted by President Trump and populist anti-immigrant politicians in Europe, per Reuters.

What they're saying: "Wars only affect some regions of the world, yet weapons of war are produced and sold in other regions which are then unwilling to take in the refugees generated by these conflicts," Francis said.

  • The solution, he said, was "being a neighbor to all those who are mistreated and abandoned on the streets of our world, soothing their wounds and bringing them to the nearest shelter, where their needs can be met."

Of note: Pope Francis also inaugurated a statue in St. Peter’s Square depicting migrants and refugees from different faiths and different periods of history to mark the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

Go deeper: Big Oil backs carbon pricing, climate disclosures in meeting with Pope Francis

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Pope Francis meets with Jesuit criticized for LGBTQ outreach

Pope Francis. Photo: Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Monday privately met with American Jesuit Rev. James Martin, who has been criticized by conservative U.S. Catholics for advocating for members of the LGBT community, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: While most of the pope's private meetings are kept confidential, the Vatican noted the conference with the Martin on a list of the pope’s daily activities.

Go deeperArrowSep 30, 2019

Pope opens debate on allowing married Catholic priests in Amazon region

Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Sunday formally opened a 3-week Vatican meeting of bishops that will debate whether the Catholic Church should allow married men in South America's Amazon region to be ordained, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: A change to the Church's 1,000-year-old requirement of celibacy for priests could help fill a shortage of priests in the Amazon. Critics say it would "undermine the distinctive character of the priesthood," per WSJ.

Go deeperArrowOct 6, 2019

Pope weighs allowing female deacons and married priests in Amazon region

Pope Francis talks to bishops at the end of the closing session of the Synod on the Pan-Amazon region, Oct. 26, Vatican City. Photo: Alessandra Benedetti-Corbis/Corbis

Pope Francis announced that a study into ordaining female deacons would be reopened after a Vatican meeting of bishops from the Amazon voted for the move and to allow the ordination of married men as priests in the region, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The overhaul of centuries of Catholic teachings on priests' celibacy and women's role in the church would address the issue of a priest shortage in the Amazon region, but many traditional conservatives are against such moves.

Go deeperArrowOct 27, 2019