Jorge Mario Bergoglio, From Argentina, Chosen As Next Pope
Attention Catholics, you have a new Pope: Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, a 76-year-old Jesuit.
The new pope will soon step out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, about an hour after white smoke began billowing from the Sistine Chapel. Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke first poured out, as the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica and churches across Rome tolled, signaling a pontiff had been chosen.
Elected on the fifth ballot, Bergoglio was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation.
God Fires The Pope: Benedict Resigns Post
Pope Benedict XVI surprised the world Monday by saying he will resign at the end of the month “because of advanced age.”
It’s the first time a pope has resigned in nearly 600 years.
“Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,” the pope said, according to the Vatican.
After Benedict’s resignation becomes effective on February 28, cardinals will meet to choose a new leader for the church.
“Before Easter, we will have the new pope,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said at a news conference.
The decision was not impulsive, he said. “It’s not a decision he has just improvised,” Lombardi said. “It’s a decision he has pondered over.”
After his resignation, Benedict, 85, will probably retire to a monastery and devote himself to a life of reflection and prayer, he said.
Trial Begins For Pope Benedict’s Butler
The trial is scheduled to beginning today for Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler on an aggravated theft charge over the alleged leaking of hundreds of secret papers from the pope’s personal apartment to an Italian journalist.
The butler, Paolo Gabriele, could face a sentence of up to eight years in an Italian prison if convicted, although it is possible the pope could choose to pardon him.
Gabriele has not entered a guilty plea but has admitted leaking the papers to the Vatican prosecutor, according to Vatican statements.
The Vatican has said Gabriele cooperated with investigators and admits leaking the papers, which consisted of faxes, letters and memos, including some from a high-ranking church official expressing concerns about corruption within the Vatican.
A prosecutor in the case said in a report last month that Gabriele acted out of a desire to combat “evil and corruption everywhere in the Church.”
“I was certain that a shock … would have been healthy to bring the church back onto the right track,” Gabriele is quoted as saying by the prosecutor, Nicola Piccardi.
Gabriele was arrested in May, following a top-level Vatican investigation into how the pope’s private documents appeared in the best-selling book “Sua Santita” (“His Holiness”), by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi.
The Vatican called the publication of his book “criminal” when it was released in Italian.
Nakoula Bassely Nakoula Finally Arrested
The filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims” – the anti-Islam movie that sparked riots in Afghanistan that ended with the death of 5 members of the US Embassy– has been arrested and jailed today in California
Authorities picked up Nakoula Bassely Nakoula—aka Sam Bacile—for violating the terms of his probation on 2010 bank fraud charges. The 55-year-old wasn’t supposed to go anywhere near the Internet without supervision, explains the LA Times, but he apparently did so to post and promote the movie’s trailer.
At his hearing, a federal judge in Los Angeles declared him a flight risk, cited his history of lying to probation officers, and ordered him detained. “The court has a lack of trust in this defendant at this time,” she said, adding that he posed “some danger to the community.”
It’s not clear how long Nakoula will remain in custody. His new charges could result in a two-year prison term which is not enough if you ask me.
Actress Sues ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Producer
An actress in the now infamous anti-Islam movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ is suing the producer. Cindy Lee Garcia says producer Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, aka Sam Bacile, told her the Innocence of Muslims was going to be a harmless desert adventure flick. The lines insulting to Islam and Muhammed were dubbed in afterward, she says.
The suit also names Google and YouTube, and demands that the offending video get pulled. Garcia says she has gone into hiding because of death threats and is seeking unspecified damages.
Iran Vows To Hunt Down ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Makers
Iran is vowing to hunt down the makers of Innocence of Muslims, the anti-islam movie that caused violent protests all over the Middle East. “The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran condemns … this inappropriate and offensive action,” said First Vice-President Mohammad Reza. “Certainly it will search for, track, and pursue this guilty person.” In related news:
Anna Gurji, an actor in Innocence of Muslims, has posted a letter describing herself as “scared” and “shattered”. Like other actors, she insists the original video was not anti-Islamic. “I will not go into hiding (since I have nothing to hide), because if we don’t speak the truth, there is no world worth living for,” she writes.
Family members of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who produced the video, have fled their home in Cerritos, Calif., and gone into hiding with Nakoula, ABC News reports. “They decided they would be safer where they could move about and live a normal life” for the “weeks and months to come,” says a sheriff’s spokesman.
Italy: Let’s Tax Church Properties
Some European countries are eyeing the wealth of the Catholic Church seeking a way out of its financial straits: Italy’s prime minister wants a tax on church properties.
British city councils have cut funds for transportation to religious schools, while Ireland considers similar moves. And a city councilman in Alcala, Spain, is pushing to tax church property that’s not used for religious purposes, the Washington Post reports. “We want to make a statement that the costs of the crisis should be borne equally by every person and institution,” he says.
In Spain, where the church owns vast amounts of property, that could mean a tax bill of nearly $4 billion. And while it’s rich on paper, the church is encountering financial troubles of its own at the moment, with the Vatican reporting a decade-worst $19 billion deficit this year. While 100 Spanish cities have passed resolutions calling on the church to pay municipal taxes, the movement is far from universal; Spain’s prime minister, for instance, opposes it on the grounds that the church serves a “very important social function.” Adds a city council member: “It is in times of economic hardship that we need the church the most and need to support it.”
Anti-Islam Movie Origins Thicken… Who Made This Film?
Can someone please sue this guy?
The cast and crew of the anti-Islam movie that sparked violence in Egypt and Libya say they were “grossly misled” about the nature of the film and are horrified by its consequences
Cast members say they were recruited to star in a movie called Desert Warriors, described in casting ads as a “historical Arabian Desert adventure film.” Crew members, including one with a copy of the original script, say there were no references to Mohammed or Islam in the script that was filmed, but the lines were crudely dubbed in post-production.
“It wasn’t based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn’t anything about Mohammed or Muslims or anything,” a woman with a small role in the film tells Gawker. “Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick.” The search for producer Sam Bacile—who may not even exist—led the AP to Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian and convicted fraudster who admits to helping manage the film’s production.
Nakoula said he knew Bacile but denied posing as him. But the cell phone number the AP had been given for Bacile traced to Nakoula’s address, and as he showed his driver’s license to reporters to confirm his identity, he attempted to cover up his middle name with his thumb.