Three months after he gave 19 new cardinals their red hats, Pope Francis gave new responsibilities to the 16 who are under the age of 80.
It sounds a little far-fetched and for some purists perhaps unthinkable: A pope, a rabbi and a sheik decide to travel to the Holy Land and follow in the steps of Jesus.
But that is just one of the groundbreaking aspects of Pope Francis’ three-day visit to the Middle East that starts on Saturday (May 24), a visit in which he hopes to shore up interfaith dialogue, strengthen diplomatic relations and find new ways to build peace.
Cardinal James Harvey told the future priests gathered at a fundraiser in Rome: "People don't care what you know until they know that you care."
The Italian cardinal who served as the Vatican's No. 2 official under Pope Benedict XVI has rejected allegations that he mishandled 15 million euros ($20 million) from Vatican bank accounts.
A senior Vatican official tried to defuse the damaging rift between the Vatican and U.S. nuns after a recent rebuke over obedience and doctrinal differences.
The number of suspicious transaction reports filed grew from six in 2012 to 202 in 2013. The majority of those involved transactions carried out through the Vatican bank.
Pope Francis Sunday, citing the day’s Gospel reading from the Acts of the Apostles, assured those gathered in St. Peter’s Square that all church problems can be solved with perseverance and prayer. He said the Apostles, when faced with difficulties, took control of the situation and therefore overcame their problems.
Pope Francis will be accompanied on his first visit to the Middle East by Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Muslim leader Omar Abboud -- two friends from Buenos Aires.
It is the first time a pope has made an official visit accompanied by members of other faiths, and it underscores the interfaith focus of Francis' trip to the Holy Land, the Vatican said Thursday.
No matter how sophisticated and how many algorithms are programmed to help a drone or other machine make calculations before firing on a target, autonomous weapons systems could never comply with international human rights law, a Vatican official said.
"Meaningful human involvement is absolutely essential in decisions affecting the life and death of human beings," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva, told experts meeting May 13-16 to discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems.
"I hope [Müller's] focus on this issue will stimulate many, both within the Catholic church and outside it, to deepen human understanding of conscious evolution."