June 13th, 2013
02:15 PM ET

The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) –Pope Francis has challenged his flock of 1 billion Catholics not to be “starched Christians” who chat about theology over tea.

He’s been taking his own advice.

Since his election in March, Francis has delivered sharp and unscripted remarks on everything from homosexuality to atheism to his unlikely election to the seat of St. Peter.

Anyone who bet the 76-year-old Jesuit from Argentina would become Supreme Pontiff likely won a lot of dough, Francis joked on Sunday.

We’re wagering this pope’s got a few more surprises up the sleeves of his white cassock.

Meanwhile, here are six eye-openers Francis has uttered thus far.

1) There’s a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican

Meeting with Catholic leaders from his native Latin America and the Caribbean on Sunday, the pope said that there’s a lot of holy people in the Curia, Catholicism’s Rome-based bureaucracy.

But there is also a “stream of corruption,” Francis said, including a “gay lobby.”

"We need to see what we can do," he added, somewhat cryptically.

Only the pope knows exactly what he means. The Vatican has clammed up, refusing to explain.

Catholic experts believe Francis was referring to a secret dossier presented to his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI that investigated a series of embarrassing leaks from Vatican insiders to Italian journalists.

The dossier referred to a Vatican network of sexually active gay clergy who might have been subject to blackmail, according to Italian reports.

2) All atheists go to heaven?

During a homily in Rome on May 22, Francis said that God redeems everyone – not just Christians, but atheists, as well.

“We must meet one another doing good,” the pope said. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

So, was the pope saying that people can go to heaven, even if they don’t believe in God?

Probably not, say church experts.

Catholicism has long held that salvation is open to everyone – but with a really big caveat. If you know about the church and don’t become a member, the door to heaven is likely closed, a Catholic spokesman later clarified.

Many American atheists say they appreciated the olive branch from the pope, however unclear his remarks may have been.

3) “I didn’t want to be pope”

Meeting with Catholic students from Italy and Albania on June 7, Francis ditched his “boring” speech and instead took questions from the children.

A little redhead in a blue scarf elicited laughter by bluntly asking, “Francis, why did you want to become pope?”

“I didn’t,” Francis answered. In fact, “a person who wants to become pope doesn’t love himself. And God doesn’t bless him,” the pontiff said.

4) Sleepy prayers

In May, the pope shared intimate details about his spiritual life with a crowd of 200,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Every day, Francis said, he prays at an altar before he goes to bed. On occasion, the sandman arrives before the end of his prayers, the pope said.

“Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but God understands,” Francis said.

5) Christians should mind their own beeswax

In some of his sharpest comments as pope, Francis criticized Christian busybodies in May.

“We all chat in church,” the pope said. “As Christians we chat.

“It is as if we want to put each other down,” Francis continued. “Instead of growing, one makes the other feel small while I feel great. That will not do.”

Gossip, the pope said, is like honey. It tastes sweet at first, but large doses deliver stomach aches.

6) Throwing food away is stealing from the poor

The first Latin American pope has made fighting poverty a top priority of his papacy. Scarcely a speech or homily ends without a mention of the homeless and disabled.

On June 5, Francis lambasted a “culture of waste” in which consumerism trumps compassion, people become just another disposable object, and little care is given to those who need help.

“This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. ” Francis said.

“We should all remember, however, that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (1,006 Responses)
  1. Steve

    I guess this article won't make the pope very pope-ular.....

    June 14, 2013 at 7:29 am |
  2. Reality

    This will be the last papacy as it disintegrates into oblivion with all the other religion-based cons. And why is that?

    Only for the new members:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    June 14, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • The real Tom

      Has anyone EVER "requested" details from you?

      Has anyone EVER even asked you to copy and paste your drivel over and over?

      June 14, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Thinker...

      Please don't feed the troll. Nothing it posts is worthy of a response.

      June 14, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Reality

      As requested many times:


      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".


      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:


      June 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  3. be honest

    "We’re betting this pope’s got a few more surprises up his white cassock. " like gay father doyle?

    June 14, 2013 at 7:15 am |
  4. R.M. Goodswell

    Yes this pope does seem to be different – now to see if he gets hamstrung by factions within his own church. hopefully not.
    #1 should even be an issue
    #2 am an atheist therefore.....
    #3 If this is true then he's right where he should be, It seems that those in this world that hate the thought of being in power do a hell of a better job than those that think they can run it all.
    #4 lol prayer.....
    #5 End conflict between the faiths? ....lol ...the Joseph Smiths will keep popping up as long as we are saddled with Faiths...so good luck with that.
    #6 I agree with wholeheartedly...nice to see a pope that seems to have some concerns in THIS world.

    time will tell....

    June 14, 2013 at 6:38 am |
  5. marsilius

    What Pope Francis seems to have said wasn't that *all* atheists go to heaven, as it is claimed here that he did. That wouldn't make sense in Catholic Christian theology, anyway. Francis appears to have just said that atheists *can* go to heaven, or that *some* atheists go to heaven.

    June 14, 2013 at 4:52 am |
    • be honest

      your too wrapped up into your delusion.. Never a single proof of a heaven or even a god. Jesus was mentally ill and needed help.

      You need to grow up

      June 14, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • HeavenSent

      be honest, without Jesus' teachings, we'd be immature too.

      June 14, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Avdin

      Be honest you have hit upon a very interesting subject. Jesus Christ was indeed either Lord, lair or a lunatic as the fraze commonly goes. In other words, if he wasn't who he claimed he was then he was a lair or delusional. If the first were the case his story would have broken down upon his death and little would survive of him other than some of his philosophical teachings and the historical records of his death. This is because most of his teaching and following was surrounded by miraculous signs observed and witnessed by thousands. Without these signs few would have followed him or rallied behind him thinking he could deliver them from the Romans. The few that did would have heard his teaching and understood it to contain lots of good advice but this is all they would have retained after his death, the rest they would have discarded or viewed with disgrace and distain.
      If he were a lunatic this would have been one of the best arguments his enemies had at the time, yet it was never broached. His teachings also bear no evidence of lunacy. Even most modern secular scholars disregard this argument as itself being crazy. This leaves his own personal claims to Pilate and before the Sanhedrin of his equality and oneness with God. If these claims were never made his enemies would have had the easiest time refuting them simply by deny that they were ever made. However, this is again not the case.
      Finally people still would have had no reason to believe his claims unless they were back up with evidence such as the signs and miracles that followed him where ever he went that indicated at least the possibility that his claims were legitimate.

      June 14, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Avdin

      Also, there is not a place on this planet where women are respected and have equal rights as men, where slavery has been abolished , where science has advanced, where education is on the rise, where tolerance is taught, where poverty is actively being fought by the greater community, where the gospel of Christ Jesus has not already gone before it.
      While it is true that wars have been fought in His name, it is when people actually live by his teachings as Pope Francis does that these other things follow. No other religion, world view, or way of life has that type of effect, and no other historical figure has ever had such a profound influence on the world.

      June 14, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  6. Apple Bush

    Sorry, I was a little ...low...at the social club.

    June 14, 2013 at 3:27 am |
  7. The Eternal Light Tabernacle of the Whispering Cheeselog

    Repent! The time of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is nigh! They shall trample the unbeliever and rend their netherbits into trodden mushy things! Only Lord Zoltar can save you!

    June 14, 2013 at 3:01 am |
    • Chancho

      What good does this do but make you look weak and unsure about your own beliefs?

      June 14, 2013 at 3:09 am |
    • The Eternal Light Tabernacle of the Whispering Cheeselog

      Lord Zoltar will not be mocked! the end is near! repent!

      June 14, 2013 at 4:48 am |
    • ignatzz

      *yawn* How unoriginal.

      June 14, 2013 at 6:18 am |
  8. Sho Nuff

    Come on you weak punks! Come and fight me! Nobody wins against me! Nobody! Sho Nuff said!

    June 14, 2013 at 2:54 am |
  9. jNW

    hE IS not catholic by def.
    he is a humanis.t
    he understands no god(s of man)
    death IS eternal (no waking soul place of pleasure{heavan} or pain{hell}
    flesh i s real
    time is more real (Hadron colides will execute incorrect 1.378 century data_

    June 14, 2013 at 2:48 am |
    • Sleepy One

      How do you know? Have you experienced death yourself and came back to report your findings? What about those who had near death experiences? What about recorded medical miracles? You can't prove or disprove an unknowable, therefore, Atheism by its definition is folly.

      June 14, 2013 at 5:42 am |
  10. GUIDE

    The world now is ruling by the antichrist but no one wants to believe.
    CNN is one of his official channels which through he can control the brains and concepts of people.
    He planned for the 9/11 attacks and they said Muslims did it, and as usual people believe whatever they are saying.
    See now how he can play with your brains and eyes using numbers,letters and words to know what is going on and what CNN is:
    Take a look on the CNN logo and read it upside and down you will get............. MD.......it means (M)onth and (D)ay.
    Read it from left to right you will get.............. 911.
    Read it from right to left and be ready for the shoke as you will get...............WTC......... read the T upside down.
    Please tell those who are sleeping to awake before it is too late

    June 14, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • LinCA


      Take your medicine!

      June 14, 2013 at 2:12 am |
    • breathe deep

      So then please inform us who this "He" is, from your quote "He planned for the 9/11 attacks and they said Muslims did it, and as usual people believe whatever they are saying.
      See now how he can play with your brains and eyes using numbers,letters and words to know what is going on and what CNN is:" is, please!!

      June 14, 2013 at 2:22 am |

    • I'm running this world and I don't need CNN. Your Guide is a troll. Fuck off, all of you.

      June 14, 2013 at 2:26 am |
    • GUIDE

      35% of Americans believe that 911 attacks were an internal issue.and what I wrot is an evidence about that.

      when we give you something to read with your eyes and to touch with your hands but you don't believe also,then let us congratulate the antichrist how he could control your minds and concepts.

      you will not believe any one but them.

      June 14, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • up2late45

      @ Destroy the RCC and free the victims now...how do Catholic terrorize the world? Did Catholics fly planes into the World Trade Center on 9-11? No, that was muslims. What 'terrorist' activity are you talking about? I'm Catholic. am I a victim? No one is forcing me to be Catholic. Your comment doesn't make any sense.

      June 14, 2013 at 3:25 am |
    • up2late45

      @Guide. Are you on medication?

      June 14, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • GUIDE

      Now I am sure that there is no way to give blinds a proof that Sun is in the sky.

      June 14, 2013 at 3:45 am |
    • Savvy

      Ooooh yeah, Guido, I see that Sun. Apollo carries it across the sky each day in his invisible chariot, right?

      June 14, 2013 at 4:47 am |
    • Thinker...

      Don't be silly; Apollo's chariot IS the sun.

      June 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  11. Capt Jean-Luc Picard

    *shakes head*

    June 14, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • Capt Jean-Luc Picard


      June 14, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • Capt Jean-Luc Picard

      Number One, take a boarding party and secure me that ship.

      June 14, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • Number One

      Aye aye, Captain. {beams away}

      June 14, 2013 at 1:37 am |
    • Data

      What's that smell? Did he fart just before he left? My sensors are burnt out. I will need reprogramming and new sensors now.

      June 14, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • Capt. Jean-Luc Picard

      As soon as he's across I want warp 12 towards the nearest Klingon massage parlor.

      June 14, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  12. Apple Bush Reporting;

    Big Homasexshool wagon-train has gentle urges at ouster of Boy Scout execs previously not known to be Nancy-boys.

    In other news, Zenith has introduced their twelve inch black and white television entertainment unit. Be the envy of your neighbors!

    June 14, 2013 at 1:13 am |
  13. Apple Bush

    Sphincter Victories

    People have a voice just like machines birds and gerds

    & those sounds are voices

    together that sound can defeat us

    Too much of, blow a kiss.

    June 14, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  14. Reality

    Dear Francis,

    Some references you need to read:

    o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 T-itus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter

    3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
    – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
    4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
    6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
    7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
    8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
    9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

    June 14, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • james

      it was after midnight you need to get to bed or get a life.

      June 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  15. fellowtraveler

    You said, "For as long as history can see, religion has been the prime force used to murder our humanity."

    PRIME force for murder? Not hardly. A quick look at, say, "List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll", in WIKI, shows that religiously motivated slaughter pails in comparison to plain old conquest and ethnic genocide.

    1-3 million died in the crusades... 30-70 million from the Mongols...sigh...

    Unfortunately, people never need a specific reason to exploit, torture, or kill their fellow man.

    June 13, 2013 at 11:54 pm |

    Like like it. Tis' pope may change the stale catholics for the better

    June 13, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Dippy

      Tis'? What the fuck does that mean?

      June 13, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • Dippy

      And what does "like like" mean?

      June 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      Someone peed down the front of their pants again. Uh oh!

      June 13, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • Princess X

      Agreed! Take a look at the Pope in the new YouTube video "FREE" that celebrates peace, love, and freedom: youtu.be/emMptHv4b3k

      June 14, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  17. Much Ado

    I would be more apt to believe Francis truly believes in helping the poor by his becoming more Christ-like once he gets off that chair of gold at the Vatican and sells all of the treasures contained therein and picks up his cross and truly follows Jesus as Jesus said we should do. Until then, it's Much Ado About Nothing.

    June 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm |

      Ah, one of the Muchado clan. You never show up at the Yakuza meetings. Fingers cannot erase this insult!

      June 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • ignatzz

      1) He sits on a wood chair.

      2) What makes you think he CAN sell "the treasures of the Vatican"? Do you think he owns them?

      3) While SOME of the opulence is over the top, I think it would be an enormous tragedy and loss to the world if the Vatican got rid of the great artwork and beauty (which they commissioned in the first place).

      June 14, 2013 at 6:22 am |
  18. Jim

    I like this pope. I am not religious, but he seems to genuinely care more about people and doing good than towing the catholic "party line". I wish him well.

    June 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Akira

      I like him as well, Jim. He seems very down to earth and genuine.

      June 13, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Destroy the RCC and free the victims NOW

      For me, it doesn't matter what sort of show he puts on. He is still the leader of an international criminal organization.
      Making kissy noises doesn't make him a saint nor change the fact of his criminal organization still terrorizing the world.

      June 13, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Al

      Don't believe for a second that this pope won't sweep things under the rug when the time comes.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      The only thing he's going to sweep is the dust off his gay lover's backside before going at it like a badger in a pocket.

      June 14, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • Dora

      Thank you.

      June 14, 2013 at 12:43 am |
  19. LIGHT

    The world now is ruling by the antichrist but no one wants to believe.

    Especially US is completely under the antichrist control because he is ruling the world thru it.

    CNN is one of his official channels which through he can control the brains and concepts of people.

    He planned for the 9/11 attacks and they said Muslims did it, and as usual people believe whatever they are saying.

    See now how he can play with your brains and eyes using numbers,letters and words to know what is going on and what CNN is:

    Take a look on the CNN logo and read it upside and down you will get............. MD.......it means (M)onth and (D)ay.

    Read it from left to right you will get.............. 911.

    Read it from right to left and be ready for the shoke as you will get...............WTC......... read the T upside down.

    Please tell those who are sleeping to awake before it is too late.

    June 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Uncle Reamus

      Them boogiemans is gunna getcha! And they'm's black, too! Like a burnt stump that comes alive it reaches out with claws!

      June 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm |

      In a footrace, the winner is said to "breast" the tape at the finish line. With shaky tlts, this can be problematic.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • NorthVanCan

      people like you make the world a dangerous place.

      June 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      Someone woke me up again. It's a conspiracy to deprive me of my vitamins! You russians! I'll get you!

      June 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Senior Moment

      Okay I'm going to have some meds now. The noise has spoken. This will be my last transmission from this space station.

      June 14, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • simple simon

      "Light" in brain mass.

      June 14, 2013 at 3:21 am |
  20. Andacar

    You had me going for a while, but lost me when you started talking about how we need to worship ourselves. I see no shortage of people who worship themselves or what they like. I'd be willing to bet you wouldn't like the kind of world that seven billion malignant narcissists would create.

    June 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.