- Pope proclaims sainthood of Jesuit companion of St. Ignatius Catholic News Service. 12/17/13. Pope Francis issued a decree declaring one of his favorite Jesuits, Blessed Peter Faber, a saint.
- Happy Birthday Holy Father! - Pope Francis invited four homeless people to celebrate his 77th birthday at the Vatican. National Catholic Register 12/17/13.
- Pope Francis makes significant changes in the Congregation for Bishops (La Stampa);
Francis Dumps U.S. Cardinal Who Is Outspoken Critic Of Abortion, Gay Marriage (Associated Press); Reality Check: Burke's star will shine on, by Thomas Peters (CatholicVote.com) 12/17/13:
The knives are out for Cardinal Burke this morning. He’s on the next plane out of Rome after Pope Francis sacked him and summarily ended all of his duties this morning. . . . Oh wait, that’s not what happened.
- Pope Francis’ Christmas Gift to Rome’s Poor: Phone Cards and Metro Tickets, by Kathy Schiffer. Seasons of Grace 12/16/13. On his first Christmas as Pope, the Holy Father is giving 2,000 prepaid telephone cards and 4,000 day tickets for the Metro, Rome’s underground rail system, to Rome’s poorest and most marginalized citizens.
- Padua prison inmates send Francis Italian panettoni for Christmas La Stampa 12/07/13:
Benedict XVI was the first Pope to place an order in for 250 Christmas treats produced by Giotto’s prisoner workforce. Given that it’s Vatican spending review time, it was thought that the Pope would not be placing an order this year. But Francis decided to continue the tradition and will be offering a number of home made Christmas sweets, prepared by the prisoners. Bergoglio’s fondness for the prisoners is no secret: every eleven days, on a Sunday, he calls up a group of them who are being held in an Argentinean establishment. “When I telephone the prisoners I ask myself: “Why not me? … Why did he fall and I didn’t? Because we have the same weaknesses and for me it is a mystery that makes me pray and brings me closer to the,” Francis told the prison chaplains.
“We are so grateful to Francis for continuing this tradition. It means so much to our inmates. The cooperative employs 120 prisoners, 15 of them externally. A part from the pastry lab there is also a catering service that employs another 25 prisoners,” Mr. Boscoletto stated.
- Pope Francis Creates Commission on Sexual Abuse National Catholic Register 12/06/13. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, a member of the council, told reporters this afternoon that the creation of the commission continues “decisively along the lines undertaken by Pope Benedict XVI.”
- Pope, cardinal council begin work on reorganizing Roman Curia Catholic News Service. 12/4/13. Pope Francis and the eight members of his international Council of Cardinals have begun their discussions on specific ways to reorganize the Roman Curia with the aim of "a renewal that will truly be a service to the universal church," the Vatican spokesman said.
- Pope ramps up charity office to be near poor, sick Associated Press. 11/29/13:
As Americans gathered for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Krajewski described how Francis has redefined the little known office of papal almoner and explained the true meaning of giving during a chat with journalists over coffee and pastries a few steps from the Vatican gates.
"The Holy Father told me at the beginning: 'You can sell your desk. You don't need it. You need to get out of the Vatican. Don't wait for people to come ringing. You need to go out and look for the poor,'" Krajewski said.
Krajewski gets his marching orders each morning: A Vatican gendarme goes from the Vatican hotel where Francis lives to Krajewski's office across the Vatican gardens, bringing a bundle of letters that the pope has received from the faithful asking for help. On the top of each letter, Francis might write "You know what to do" or "Go find them" or "Go talk to them."
- Pope Dedicates 2015 to "Year of Consecrated Life" Zenit. 11/29/13.
- Pope Names Personal Secretary to Oversee Financial Reforms Zenit 11/28/13. Msgr. Alfred Xuereb will inform the Pope on the working procedures of the Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) -- colloquially known as the Vatican Bank -- as well as Pontifical Commission for Reference on the Organisation of the Economic-Administrative Structure of the Holy See.
- Pope Francis, the comic book hero Argentine pope features as a cartoon character in a children's comic that has gone on sale across Italy. Telegraph UK. 11/28/13.
- Argentina weighs putting Pope Francis' face on a coin CNN. 11/27/13.
- Study finds massive 'Francis effect' in Italy, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 11/11/13. One of Italy’s best known sociologists of religion says more than half the country’s pastors report an increase in attendance at Mass and the sacrament of reconciliation that they attribute to a “Francis effect,” and that “hundreds of thousands” of Italians have returned to the practice of the faith because of the new pope.
- Pope Francis backs public breastfeeding! And that makes him traditional…, by David Gibson. RNS (Religion News Service) 12/17/13.
- Pope Francis' Missionary Church, by James V. Schall. Catholic World Report 12/13/13. The Pontiff's focus (and impatience) is “this-worldly,” but it is not “utopian” or modernist.
- Just how cool is the Pope? Wayward millennials flocking to church New York Post 12/12/13.
- “The change Francis is bringing risks being downplayed,” says Community of Sant’ Egidio founder, La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 12/9/13:
“We must all take the changes introduced by Francis as an opportunity to do a bit of soul searching instead of downplaying the importance of his work. There is a great interest and sense of expectation among Catholics and non-believers. But some have shown a lazy opposition to what Francis has been doing, claiming they already do it.”
- 'In our time': Francis moves beyond Nostra Aetate, by Jordan Denari. Commonweal 12/08/13:
Francis’ writing on Islam reminds us that spreading the joy of the Gospel isn’t about simply about proselytizing or conversion. Rather, telling the Good News is about encountering the Love of God and pointing it out, even when it appears in unexpected places. Francis challenges us to see that Love, those “rays of Truth,” in Islam, too.
- Fox News columnist rips Pope Francis, loses Catholic News Service gig, by David Gibson. Religion News Service. 12/06/13. Adam Shaw, an editor for the Fox News website, has been taking a lot of heat, even from some conservatives, for a rip-roaring assessment of the pope’s recent apostolic exhortation.
- Wall Street vs. Main Street: Pope's words on economy stir controversy, by Francis Rocca. Catholic News Service. 12/3/13.
- Why Netanyahu Gave Pope Francis His Father’s History of the Spanish Inquisition "It might seem undiplomatic, but it was actually pretty clever." The Tablet 12/02/13.