Pope Francis and Universal Church Latest News

Another Pope Francis Interview: 1.10.2013


Yet another unprecendented interview of Pope Francis by a leading Italian atheist journalist has been published in Italy. A full English translation is attached as a PDF below. It's an extraordinary read to discover the person of Pope Francis. 

Pope Francis Interview 2
Pope Francis Interview 24.9.2013.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 413.6 KB

Canonization Date: 27 April 2014


Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will both be canonized (declared Saints) on Sunday 27 April, 2014: the feast of Divine Mercy. Pope Francis announced the date for the joint canonization ceremony at an ordinary consistory (meeting of Rome-based Cardinals) in Rome on Monday 30 September.

Pope Francis Interview: 19 September 2013


The full text of Pope Francis's first wide-ranging interview is attached below. It is some 12,000 words and covers a range of very thought-provoking comments. Perhaps it is something we all could read and ponder....

Pope Francis Interview
Pope Francis Interview.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 333.4 KB

3 July 2013: Pope Francis attends his first Vatican Finances Meeting


Financial statements for both the Holy See and the Vatican City State for 2012 were presented to the Council of Cardinals and the Pope this week. They show a return to a profit after considerable losses in 2011.

The Holy See showed a £1.87million surplus, with careful financial management measures to turn around the £13million loss in 2011. Most expenditure is on the 2,823 employees, building taxes and extensive expenditure on communications. Most income came from the worldwide collection Peter’s Pence at £44million and the annual donation from the Vatican Bank at £43million.


The Vatican City State, which operates on its own separate budget, showed a £19.77million surplus. Revenues are mostly from visitors to the Vatican Museums, Post Office, and other attractions. Expenditure is mostly on the 1,936 employed by the Vatican City State.


So, in total, there are 4,759 paid employees, and a total operating surplus of £21.64million. But, without the annual donation from the Vatican Bank, there would be an annual loss of more than £21million - which shows how important it remains on many levels that the well-documented internal problems at the Vatican Bank are resolved once and for all.

The Worldwide Catholic Church: Facts & Figures 2011


Statistical information relating to 2011 was approved for publication by Pope Francis on 13 May 2013. Despite our northern European perception, it shows that the Church continues to grow, but with conspicuous differences across the continents. Perhaps these are useful FACTS in our everyday discussions with non-Catholics...

Roman Catholic Population

Increased to 1.214 billion (up 1.5% from 1.196 billion in 2010). Distribution by continent is: the Americas (48.8%), Europe (23.5%), Africa (16%), Asia (10.9%) and Oceania (0.8%). Over the last 3 years Catholics have remained as 17.5% of the world’s overall population.



Bishops increased slightly from 5,104 in 2010 to 5,132 in 2011.


The steady growth in the number of priests which began in 2000 continues: 413,418 in 2011 compared with 412,236 in 2010. (Africa +39.5%, Asia +32%, Americas: no change, Europe: -9%)

Permanent Deacons

Up from 29,000 in 2001 to 41,000 in 2011 (97.4% of these are in North America & Europe).

Male Religious (non-ordained)

Increased to just above 55,000 (Africa +18.5%, Asia +44.9%, Americas -3.6%, Europe -18%, Oceania -21.9%).


Female Religious

Strong decrease, down to 713,000 in 2011 from 792,000 in 2001 (Africa +28%, Asia +18%, Europe -22%, Oceania -21%, the Americas -17%).


Increased steadily to 120,616 in 2011 from 112,244 in 2001 (Africa +30.9%, Asia +29.4%, Europe -21.7%, the Americas -1.9%)

Pope Francis meets Bishops of England and Wales: 17 April 2013


During their special Retreat together at Palazzola Villa, Rome, the Bishops of England and Wales, including our own Bishop Terence Brain, visited Vatican City this Wednesday, 17 April 2013. They celebrated Mass together at the Altar of the Tomb of St Peter, presided at by Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Wednesday is the day of the General Papal Audience, so Pope Francis took this opportunity early in his pontificate to meet with our Bishops personally.

It was a warm and informal meeting with short speeches from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster) and Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster). 

Pope Francis: An Early Sculpture
Pope Francis: An Early Sculpture

Pope Francis Announces First Steps to Reform Roman Curia: 13 April 2013


Pope Francis has established a group of cardinals to advise him in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for reforming the Roman Curia. These Cardinals are:

Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Co-ordinator)

Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State

Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, Archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, India

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich & Freising, Germany

Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, USA

Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia

The Pope is already in contact with these Cardinals and the group's first meeting will be 1-3 October.

Pope Francis washes feet of 10 young men & 2 young women in Young Offenders Prison: 28.3.2013
Pope Francis washes feet of 10 young men & 2 young women in Young Offenders Prison: 28.3.2013


Maundy Thursday 2013


Pope Francis reminds us of the commandment of Jesus at the Last Supper to show our love for God by our love for our neighbour.


Instead of the usual venue of St John Lateran's Basilica, the Pope chose to celebrate Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper in a youth detention centre in Rome. 


The group chosen for the feet washing included two women, one of whom was a Muslim.


We are all reminded of the call of Jesus to live out our discipleship in the service of all people. 

Pope Francis Coat of Arms
Pope Francis Coat of Arms

Pope Francis Chooses Coat of Arms


The new papal coat of arms and motto are the same that Pope Francis used as a Bishop. The shield has a bright blue background, at the centre top of which is a yellow radiant sun with the IHS Christogram on it representing Jesus (it is also the Jesuit logo). The IHS monogram, as well as a cross that pierces the H, are in red with three black nails directly under them. Under that, to the left, is an eight-point star representing Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church (8 alludes to the Beatitudes). To the right of the star is a nard flower representing Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. With these symbols the Pope demonstrates his love for the Holy Family. The coat of arms also bears the same symbols of papal dignity as that of Benedict XVI: the papal mitre and crossed silver and gold keys joined by a red cord.

His motto – “Miserando atque eligendo” (because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him) - is on parchment and is taken from the Venerable Bede's homily on the Gospel account of the call of Matthew. It holds special meaning for the Pope. When he was only 17, after celebrating Reconciliation on the Feast of St. Matthew in 1953, he perceived God's mercy in his life and felt the call to the priesthood, following the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Our New Pope Francis
Our New Pope Francis

Our New Pope Francis


The Conclave of Cardinals has ended quickly on its second day at the fifth ballot, with the election of the 266th Pope, after gaining the necessary two-thirds majority of the 115 Cardinal electors.


He is His Eminence Jorge Mario Bergoglio, age 76, the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the first Jesuit Pope, the first Latin American Pope, the first non-European Pope for more than a millenium and he has chosen the name of Pope Francis.


After leading the Church in prayer for his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict, the new Pope Francis humbly bowed his head and in silence asked us the faithful to pray for him in his new ministry. So, we remember him in our prayers. Pope Francis said:


"Brothers and sisters, good evening.

You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have come almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.

First of all, I would say a prayer pray for our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady protect him: Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory to the Father…

So now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of fellowship in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of fellowship. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with help of my Cardinal Vicar, be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.

And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favour. Before the bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.

Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon. We will see one another soon. Tomorrow I want to go to pray the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.

Good night and sleep well!"

Pope Francis at prayer before celebrating Mass with staff at St Martha Domus, Vatican
Pope Francis at prayer before celebrating Mass with staff at St Martha Domus, Vatican

Pope Francis Official Biography

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite, was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires. He studied as and holds a degree as a chemical technician, but then chose the priesthood and entered the seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he moved to the novitiate of the Company of Jesus where he finished studies in the humanities in Chile. In 1963, on returning to Buenos Aires, he obtained a degree in philosophy at the St. Joseph major seminary of San Miguel. Between 1964 and 1965 he taught literature and psychology at the Immacolata College in Santa Fe and then in 1966 he taught the same subjects at the University of El Salvador, in Buenos Aires.

From 1967 to 1970 he studied theology at the St. Joseph major seminary of San Miguel where he obtained a degree. On 13 December 1969 he was ordained a priest. From 1970 to 1971 he completed the third probation at Alcala de Henares, Spain, and on 22 April 1973, pronounced his perpetual vows.


He was novice master at Villa Varilari in San Miguel from 1972 to 1973, where he also taught theology. On 31 July 1973 he was elected as Provincial for Argentina, a role he served as for six years. From 1980 to 1986 he was rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel as well as pastor of the Patriarca San Jose parish in the Diocese of San Miguel. In March of 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis. The superiors then sent him to the University of El Salvador and then to Cordoba where he served as a confessor and spiritual director.

On 20 May 1992, John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, He received episcopal consecration in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires from Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Apostolic Nunzio Ubaldo Calabresi, and Bishop Emilio Ognenovich. of Mercedes-Lujan on 27 June of that year. On 3 June 1997 he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998.

He was Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2001.

He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.

He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Blessed John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, of the Title of S. Roberto Bellarmino (St. Robert Bellarmine).

He was a member of: The Congregations for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Clergy; and for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; the Pontifical Council for the Family; and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.