Pope Francis to Receive COVID-19 Vaccination

Pope Francis is next in line to get a COVID-19 vaccination…

The 84-year-old head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State has announced that the Vatican will begin COVID-19 vaccinations next week and that he’ll receive the shot.

Pope Francis

The pontiff made the comments during an interview with Italy’s Canale 5 channel, set to air on Sunday night.

“It is an ethical duty to take the vaccine, here in the Vatican we will start next week, I am also in line to take it,” he said, according to a news anchor for the channel in a preview of the interview, which was released Saturday.

The full interview, which took place in the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, will air on Sunday at 2.40 p.m. ET (8.40 p.m. local time), according to a press release.

In December, the Vatican deemed that it was morally acceptable to be vaccinated against COVID-19, after some anti-abortion groups raised concerns about how the vaccines were manufactured.

Some groups had suggested the coronavirus vaccines were made using cells from aborted fetuses. The cells are actually engineered and grown in labs from tissue acquired many decades ago, and are not made directly from aborted fetuses.

“It is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process,” the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in a note approved by Francis.

The statement was issued and signed by the head of the Congregation in response to several requests for guidelines regarding the use of the vaccine.

The pontiff used his recent Christmas message to say that coronavirus vaccines must be available for all, and pleaded with states to cooperate in the race to emerge from the pandemic.

Netflix Commissions Four-Part Documentary Based on Pope Francis’ Book “Sharing The Wisdom of Time”

Pope Francis is sharing his time

Netflix has commissioned a four-part documentary series based on Sharing The Wisdom of Time, the book written by the 84-year-old head of the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis

The show comes from Simona Ercolani and production company Stand By Me, partner of Asacha Media Group. It will be released in 2021.

The series will see woman and men aged over 70 from around the world share their stories with young filmmakers under the age of 30 who are from the same country. The elders represent various ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds and religions. It will also feature an exclusive interview with Pope Francis who will offer a unique point of view.

The book was edited Father Antonio Spadaro and first published by Loyola Press in the United States.

Pope Francis Endorses Same-Sex Civil Unions for First Time as Pontiff

Pope Francis is speaking out about same-sex relationships…

The 83-year-old pontiff, the sovereign of the Vatican City State, has publicly supported same-sex civil unions for the first time while in office, declaring that “homosexual people have the right to be in a family.”

Pope Francis

His comments were made in a documentary, Francesco, which premiered at the Rome Film Fest this week.

Directed by Russian filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky, the feature documentary offers an intricate look into the beliefs of the leader of the Catholic Church, during which the Pope covers topics including the environment, poverty and racial inequality, discussing how the human race can prepare for a better future.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” the Pope has been quoted as saying in the film by numerous outlets including AP.

He also said that he “stood up for” legal protections for the rights of same-sex couples in his previous role as archbishop of Buenos Aires. During that time, he publicly supported civil unions for gay couples, though he has also been quoted in the past as calling heterosexual marriages “an anthropological regression”.

The film also features Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy, who has met the Pope on several occasions and tells his story in the doc.

Director Afineevsky spoke to media ahead of the film’s premiere to discuss gaining access to the Pope. He said the two became so close that he showed Francis the film on his iPad ahead of the premiere.

“Listen, when you are in the Vatican, the only way to achieve something is to break the rule and then to say, ‘I’m sorry,’” he told AP today.

Pope Francis Condemns the Death of George Floyd

Pope Francis is speaking out against racism…

During a speech from the Vatican on Wednesday, the 83-year-old Argentine pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church, whose full name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, condemned the death of George Floyd

Pope Francis

He directly addressed “brothers and sisters in the United States,” saying he has “witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days,” following the officer-involved death of Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minnesota.

“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” he said. “At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating.”

Floyd died in policy custody last week after a white officer knelt on his neck, sparking protests across the United States – most of them peaceful. Some demonstrations have turned violent and looting has been seen in cities nationwide. 

The Pope said nothing is gained by violence and much is lost. 

He also lead a prayer for Floyd “and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism.”

“Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world. May God bless all of you and your families,” he prayed.

Lionel Messi Makes YouGov’s List of the World’s Most Admired Men

The world looks up to Lionel Messi

YouGov has released its annual study detailing which public figures the public looks up to, and the 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer has made the list.

Lionel Messi

Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or awards winner who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, comes in at No. 9 on YouGov’s World’s Most Admiredlist of men.

But Messi isn’t the only Latino to make the cut…

Pope Francis comes in at No. 15 on YouGov’s global list of the World’s Most Admired men.

But that’s not all. The 82-year-old Argentine pontiff, the head of the Catholic Churchand sovereign of the Vatican CityState, also appears on the list of America’s Most Admiredlist of men, coming in at No. 9.

He’s actually the only Latino in the Top 10 on the list America’s Most Admired men orwomen.

This year the study expanded to cover the views of people in 41 countries – the most ever – with more than 42,000 people being interviewed to compile the list.

YouGov's World's Most Admired
YouGov's America's Most Admired

Fernando Meirelles to Direct the Pope Francis-Themed Film “The Pope”

Fernando Meirelles is ready to take you to (Catholic) church…

The 61-year-old Brazilian filmmaker is set to direct Netflix’s feature film The Pope, starring Jonathan Pryce as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

Fernando Meirelles

Anthony Hopkins is in talks to play his predecessor Pope Benedict.

Meirelles, best known for helming City of God, will direct the film from a script

by Anthony McCarten, who wrote The Theory of Everything about Stephen Hawking.  McCarten adapted his stage play.

The film tells the story of Pope Benedict’s election, and his subsequent resignation from the papacy. That opened the door for Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian Cardinal who became the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas and the first Pope from outside Europe since the 8th Century.

The drama conveys his reluctance to take the top post in 2013. His humility and devotion to the poor has made him a galvanizing force for tolerance and change.

Filming will begin November in Argentina.

Hayek to Star Opposite Eugenio Derbez in “How to Be a Latin Lover”

Salma Hayek has a new lover

The 49-year-old Mexican actress has joined the cast of Lionsgate and Pantelion Films’ How to Be a Latin Lover, the comedy that marks Eugenio Derbez’s first English-language starring role.

Salma Hayek

Hayek joins Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Raquel Welch, Rob Riggle and McKenna Grace in the film being directed by The State alum and Wet Hot American Summer co-star Ken Marino.

The story, written by Chris Spain and Jon Zack, is about an aging Latin lover forced to return to live with his estranged sister and her young son after being dumped by his sugar mama.

Other actors who have also joined are Renee Taylor, Rob Huebel, Michaela Watkins and Linda Lavin.

Latin Lover is a joint venture between 3Pas Studios, Pantelion Films, Lionsgate and Televisa Cinefrom.

Derbez’s previous collaboration with Pantelion Films, Instructions Not Included, became the highest grossing Spanish-language film released in North America, breaking box office records with a combined domestic and international gross of over $99M.

Hayek, who is a filmmaker as well as an actress, just finished Hitman’s Bodyguard starring opposite Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman.

She was honored only a week ago by Pope Francis with the Olive Medal for her work in the arts, and for the responsible use of her celebrity to promote unity and peace.

Hayek Receives Olive Medal of Peace from Pope Francis

Salma Hayek has been extended a new olive medal…

Pope Francis has honored the 49-year-old Mexican actress, awarding her the Olive Medal of Peace at a Vatican event to promote the Scholas Occurrentes foundation.

Salma Hayek

In addition to Hayek, Richard Gere and George Clooney and Salma Hayek with the Olive Medal of Peace in an event.

Hayek and her fellow honorees have agreed to work as ambassadors for the foundation’s arts projects, said The Hollywood Reporter.

According to its website, Scholas is an International Organization founded in 2013 and operating under the auspices of the Vatican, which “connects technology with arts and sports in order to promote social integration and the culture of encounter for peace.”

Hayek was joined by husband Francois-Henri Pinault and daughter Valentina.

“Important values can be transmitted by celebrities,” said Lorena Bianchetti, an organizer of the event.

Pope Francis Opens Instagram Account

Pope Francis is expanding his social media network…

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has joined Instagram gaining 325,000 followers in a matter of two hours.

Pope Francis

In his first post on the photo-sharing application, the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, who holds the username @Franciscus, wrote “I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God I want to walk with you along the way of God’s mercy and tenderness.”

He also shared an image of himself kneeling, bedecked in his white robe with the caption “Pray for me” in nine languages.

Pope Francis

Instagram is the second social media channel that the beloved Catholic leader has joined.

In 2013, Pope Francis took over both the Papacy from Pope Benedict XVI and his Twitter account (@Pontifex), which has 8.89 million followers.

He also shared the news of his most recent account on Twitter, informing his followers, “I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of mercy and the tenderness of God.”

Pope Francis to Make Cameo Appearance in Faith-Based Film “Beyond the Sun”

Pope Francis is ready for his close-up…

The 79-year-old Argentine pontiff, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is set to appear in the family adventure film Beyond The Sun from AMBI Pictures.

Pope Francis

It’s the first time in cinematic history that the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church will play himself in a big screen feature.

The casting came about after the pope asked the filmmakers to make a movie for children that communicates the message of Jesus.

All profits from the faith-based film will be donated to two charities, El Almendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, which help aid at-risk children and young adults in need, and are located in the Pope Francis’ home country.

The inspirational story of Beyond The Sun is based on the Gospels and told in several tales. It will focus on children from different cultures who emulate the apostles while searching for Jesus in the world around them. The filmmakers say it is intended to “spiritually engage and encourage audiences of all ages to transmit Jesus’ words, to understand them and integrate them to live a better life, make good choices and help others.”

Graciela Rodriguez wrote the screenplay. The producers are currently out to directors.

“Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words. This is not just a movie for us, it’s a message, and who better to have on your side to deliver an important societal and spiritual message than the Pope… This movie will provide funds to support extremely worthwhile causes that we take very seriously. This message and cause are very dear to the entire AMBI family and we are honored and inspired by the level of collaboration from the Vatican,” says AMBI Group co-founders Andrea Iervolino.

Principal photography is slated to begin in early 2016 in Italy.