NCR Today: Pope Francis has created a new Vatican commission to study a reform of the Catholic church's processes and laws surrounding the sacrament of marriage.
The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Wash., as the new archbishop of Chicago, confirming Friday's early reports of the appointment.
The Catholic church should make "unconventional couples" feel at home instead of making them targets of "de facto discrimination," the leader of the Italian Bishops Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said this week.
"Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice," said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, an apparent reference to divorced and remarried Catholics.
Pope Francis, a Jesuit, celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola by meeting the family of a Jesuit kidnapped in Syria a year ago and joining them and priests at the Jesuit headquarters for lunch.
Jesuit Fr. Giuseppe Bellucci said the pope had "communicated at the last minute" his desire to join the community at the Jesuit headquarters for lunch Thursday, the feast day of the founder of the Society of Jesus.
"It was a private and simple visit," Bellucci said.
As the Catholic church wrestles with changing community attitudes on key social issues, a new Italian survey finds more support for abortion, gay rights and euthanasia than for cosmetic surgery.
According to the survey published in the daily La Stampa this week, 61 percent of Italians support abortion and 76 percent believe they should be able to request the right to die.
Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, superior of the Jesuits, has named Fr. Thomas H. Smolich, outgoing president of the U.S. Jesuit Conference, to be the next director of Jesuit Refugee Service.
The JRS international office in Rome announced the appointment Tuesday. Smolich will succeed German Jesuit Fr. Peter Balleis.
The crisis of child abuse by clergy is not a thing of the past -- it will linger until the church humbly and courageously reaches out to all people still suffering in silence, said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.
"To some it might seem less than prudent to think that the church would go out of its way to seek out even more victims and survivors," opening up further possibilities for lawsuits, anguish and "trouble," he told representatives from bishops' conferences from around the world.
Only two weeks after Pope Francis announced he was excommunicating the Mafia, a religious procession in southern Italy has provoked uproar after paying homage to a convicted mobster.
Catholic bishops condemned the detour of the traditional procession, which carried a statue of the Madonna past the house of 82-year-old Peppe Mazzagatti, a Mafia boss serving a life sentence under house arrest.
After a pledge by Pope Francis to "excommunicate" mobsters from the Catholic Church, an archbishop in southern Italy has proposed a 10-year ban on naming godparents at baptisms and confirmations as a way to stop the mafia from spreading its influence.
Msgr. Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, the archbishop of Reggio Calabria, wrote to Francis some time ago with his suggestion "to prevent the exploitation of the church," in particular by the powerful Calabrian mafia known as 'Ndrangheta, and discussed his proposal with the pope at the Vatican last weekend.
Patients and staff at a Rome hospital were ready to meet the pope when they heard Francis had to postpone his visit because he was not feeling well.