Pope Lays Out Vision for Evangelization, Meets President Putin, Displays St. Peter’s Bones


It’s been a busy week at the Vatican. Pope Francis released a mission statement for the church titled “The Joy of the Gospel,” saying the church should take a joyful, invitational posture toward the world. “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty,” he said, “because it has been out on the streets.” Francis warned Catholics against the temptation of becoming pessimists and, as the Vatican translated it, “sourpusses.” He reaffirmed traditional teachings against abortion and women’s ordination, but he also called for women to have a greater leadership role in the church. Francis also welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Vatican. They discussed ways to bring about peace in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. Putin gave the pope a Russian Orthodox icon, the Madonna of Vladimir. And during a mass in St. Peter’s Square, Francis displayed for the first time what the church believes to be bone fragments of St. Peter. The bones were discovered under St. Peter’s Basilica in the 1940s, but they have been kept in the pope’s private chapel until now.