Day: December 21, 2013

Pope Francis Urges Vatican to Stop Gossiping, Exercise Professionalism


World

Pope Francis urged Vatican officials Saturday to remember to practice professionalism and competence to evade the trappings of mediocrity and bureaucracy that have long mired the Catholic Church.

Francis made the remarks at a Christmas address to the Vatican Curia, the administrative governing body of the Catholic Church, the Associated Press reports.

The Holy See also emphasized that Church officials should act as “conscientious objectors” to gossip, calling the practice harmful to their work, and pushed for a church focused on mercy over moralizing.

Named TIME‘s Person of the Year, Pope Francis has spent his first year pushing reforms for the often antiquated Vatican system. He has already begun to shake up the Congregation for Bishops by removing a U.S. cardinal who was a flashpoint over the abortion and gay marriage wars, and other conservative figureheads. He will soon name his first set of cardinals and oversee recommendations for…

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Couples Flood Utah County Clerk Offices After Gay Marriage Ruling


U.S.

Hundreds of gay couples descended on country clerk offices across Utah to obtain marriage licenses following the landmark federal ruling that struck down the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

Among the first to wed were state Sen. Jim Dabakis, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, and his partner Stephen Justesen, the Associated Press reports. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled Friday that the ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, marking the first federal decision addressing whether states can refuse to recognize same-sex marriage following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act in June.

The typically conservative state, which is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, filed an appeal of the ruling and an emergency stay to prevent the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples just hours after the ruling, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. It is unclear when the judge…

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The Most Surprising Photos of 2013


NewsFeed

While the culture of social media did its best to ensure that 2013 had its fair share of entertaining, surprising and, above all, shareable photo moments, ultimately the past twelve months included as many genuinely shocking as surprising pictures. The year left us in varying states of outrage, bewilderment, bemusement and astonishment.

But there were some wonderfully unexpected and unusual images—a shark inside a shark and selfies with the Pope to a bear on a tightrope and a bundle of baby pandas—that delighted, enthralled and distracted us. Here, LightBox looks back over the past twelve months and presents a selection of underreported, improbable and astounding images that caught the attention of TIME’s photo editors—and which, we trust, maintain their ability to utterly, thoroughly surprise.

Phil Bicker is a senior photo editor at TIME.

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