Retired Pope Benedict XVI greets Pope Francis at the conclusion of a consistory at which Pope Francis created 19 new cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Feb. 22. Pope Benedict's presence at the ceremony marked the first time he had joined Pope Francis for a public liturgy. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

ANALYSIS: The surprising afterlife of Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY (RNS) When Pope Benedict XVI officially left the Vatican in a helicopter a year ago this week (Feb. 28), becoming the first pontiff in 600 years to resign, many in his conservative fan base were aghast, even angry. He has betrayed us, said those who thought Benedict’s papacy would be the final triumph of old-school Catholicism. He has undermined the papacy itself, they worried. Lightning even struck the cupola of St.

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sept. 11, 2013. Photo by Paul Haring/Catholic News Service

Excerpts from Pope Francis’ explosive new interview

(RNS) Pope Francis has given a lengthy, wide-ranging interview with journalists from his own Jesuit order in which he made a number of stunningly frank comments that are likely to rattle the church and cement his reputation as a pastoral rather than a doctrinal leader. Here are excerpts featuring his most provocative comments, plus links to the full transcript.


Should Christians celebrate the death of Hugo Chavez?

When news of Hugo Chavez’s death was first released, some people broke out their party hats. More than 200 patrons of El Arepazo, a Venezuelan restaurant outside of Miami, celebrated late into the night. Jim Treacher of The Daily Caller penned a column entitled, “Buh-Bye, Hugo Chavez,” saying, “The Vice President [of Venezuela] claims Chavez’s cancer was induced by his enemies … I don’t know about you guys, but I’m happy to take credit.” And under a giant picture of Hugo Chavez’s face, the editors at the Drudge Report posted the following caption: “HELL’S A-BURNING.”

They weren’t the only ones. Some Christians joined in too, using Twitter to announce their jubilation. Todd Starnes is a Fox News Radio Commentator who is an outspoken Christian.