NPR : News

Filed Under:

New Pope Praises Benedict, Asks Cardinals To Evangelize

Pope Francis, in his first audience with the cardinals since becoming head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, praised his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and urged the evangelization of the church's message.

Francis said of Benedict, who served as pontiff for eight years before his historic resignation last month, that he "lit a flame in the depths of our hearts that will continue to burn because it is fueled by his prayers."

On his first full day as pope Thursday, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires called on the cardinals "to find new ways to bring evangelization to the ends of the Earth" and cautioned against giving into pessimism — "that bitterness that the devil offers us every day."

The 76-year-old pontiff, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, encouraged the prelates — many in their 60s and 70s — to pass their wisdom to younger members of the church. "Like good wine, [it] gets better with the years. Let's give the young the wisdom of life."

Meanwhile, the Rev. Francisco Jalics, a Jesuit priest who was abducted along with fellow priest Orlando Yorio by Argentina's military during the country's so-called "dirty war," says he and Yorio reconciled with Bergoglio, who was accused at the time of having not done enough to prevent the kidnapping.

According to The Associated Press:

Bergoglio has said he told the priests to give up their slum work for their own safety, and they refused. Yorio, who is now dead, later accused Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work.

'It was only years later that we had the opportunity to talk with Father Bergoglio ... to discuss the events,' Jalics said Friday in his first known comments about the kidnapping, which occurred when the new pope was the leader of Argentina's Jesuits.

Update at 11:20 a.m. ET: Vatican Lashes Out At "Anti-Clerical Left-Wing":

The Vatican on Friday released a statement saying the accusations against Pope Francis related to the period when Argentina was ruled by a junta are part of a "defamatory" campaign by the "anti-clerical left wing."

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Argentine courts had never accused Bergoglio of any crime and that instead, there was plenty of evidence that he protected people from the country's death squads during the military's "dirty war" to eliminate leftist opposition, according to the AP.

Lombardi said the accusations were made long ago "by anti-clerical left-wing elements to attack the church and must be decisively rejected."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Under The Streets Of Naples, A Way Out For Local Kids

A priest in Naples' tough Sanità neighborhood has put local kids — some from mob families — to work restoring underground catacombs full of early Christian art. The result? 40,000 tourists a year.
NPR

Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange

The color of food can affect how we perceive its taste, and food companies aren't afraid to use that to their advantage. An artist tests perceptions by dousing familiar foods with unorthodox colors.
NPR

Holy Bible Could Become Louisiana's Official Book

Lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make the Bible the state's official book, but critics say it is unconstitutional and would open Louisiana up to legal challenges.
NPR

When Parents Are The Ones Too Distracted By Devices

Parents often complain that smartphones keep their kids distracted from conversation. What happens when it's the other way around, when kids can't get their smartphone-glued parents' attention?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.