Friday, November 14, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup

  • The Francis Effect--on Patti Smith?!, by Kevin Clarke. America "In All Things" 11/14/14. "Aging punk-rock fans (are there any other kind?) will be pleased to learn that the irrepressible "Godmother of Punk" (do we really call her that?) Patti Smith has been invited by Pope Francis to perform at the Vatican's annual Christmas concert."
  • Is There A Pope Francis-Cardinal Burke Feud?, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. Aletia. 11/13/14:
    Those who dispute the feud theory point out that, while Cardinal Burke is being transferred, this is not a reaction on the part of Pope Francis to Burke’s playing opposition at the synod. This Vatican re-shuffle had been on the cards for months. It may be part of a larger, intentional change of direction on the part of the pontiff, as Fr. Mark Drew observes in an excellent article here at the UK’s Catholic Herald, but set against this opinion is the fact that Cardinal Burke has just completed the usual five year term traditional for Prefects of the Apostolic Signatura. Those who shrug their shoulders at gossip about feuds say, “It’s no big deal. He was due for a transfer.” In answer to those who suggest that Burke’s transfer is a deliberate attempt on the part of Pope Francis to silence his enemies the shoulder shruggers would say, “Silence Burke? His new job as Patron of the Order of Malta gives him virtually no responsibilities, while providing him with a base in Rome and the time to travel, lecture, write and lead and make his point. Rather than silencing Cardinal Burke it could be that Pope Francis is giving him his voice and therefore encouraging the “loyal opposition” in a healthy way.
  • Pope Francis orders showers to be built for homeless in the heart of St Peter's Square The Telegraph 11/13/14:
    The initiative, which will be paid for from Vatican charitable funds, was inspired by the experience of the Pope's chief almsgiver, a Polish archbishop called Konrad Krajewski.

    Known officially as the Vatican almoner, a job that dates back to the 13th century and which involves handing out money to the poor, he recently met a 50-year-old homeless man from Sardinia on the streets of Rome and offered to buy him dinner.

    But the man, identified only as Franco, regretfully declined, explaining apologetically: "I can't, because I stink."

    "I took him to dinner anyway," Archbishop Krajewski told La Stampa newspaper. "We went to a Chinese restaurant. While we were eating, he explained that for the homeless in Rome it was not difficult to find something to eat, but what they really lacked was a place to wash."

  • Pope Francis launches new panel to speed up abuse cases Religion News Service. 11/11/14.
  • Pope removes Cardinal Burke from Vatican post Catholic News Service. 11/08/14:
    Pope Francis removed U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, 66, as head of the Vatican's highest court and named him to a largely ceremonial post for a chivalric religious order.

    Cardinal Burke, formerly prefect of the Apostolic Signature, will now serve as cardinal patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, the Vatican announced Nov. 8.

  • Pope Francis to open Vatican conference on traditional marriage Catholic News Service. 11/04/14. A month after closing a Synod of Bishops on the family stirred by controversy over divorce, same-sex unions and other nonmarital relationships, Pope Francis will open an interreligious conference dedicated to traditional marriage. The Vatican-sponsored gathering, on the "Complementarity of Man and Woman," will take place Nov. 17-19, 2014.
  • Pope Francis Gives Blessing to Exorcist Conference The Daily Beast 10/29/14. Pope Francis has given a special blessing to a group of some 300 Catholic exorcists meeting in Rome this week ahead of All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead (and, yes, Halloween).
  • A meal fit for a Pope: Swiss Guards produce cookbook on Pontiff's favourite meals Daily Mail 10/23/14. "A new cookbook - Bon Appétit, Swiss Guard - reveals the favourite dishes of Pope Francis and his two predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II."
  • Pope Francis' Address to the Synod Fathers Zenit News Service. 10/19/14:
    "Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church"
  • Pope's Address to Jesuits on Restoration America 09/27/14. Pope Francis celebrated a special liturgy of thanksgiving in the Church of the Gesù in Rome ... to mark the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus. Vatican Radio's English translation of the prepared text of the Holy Father's homily for the occasion.
  • Pope Francis celebrates 20 weddings at St. Peter’s Basilica, invokes 'merciful love' for spouses America 09/14/14:
    Pope Francis presided over the weddings of 20 couples in a historic ceremony Sunday at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. As noted in an announcement put out by the Diocese of Rome, among the couples married at the Mass were some who had children or cohabited before marriage, as well as a groom granted an annulment for a previous marriage. "We didn't feel worthy,” one bride recalled, when told that she and her husband were invited to be married by the pope.
  • Pope Francis did a Google Hangout with students from five continents Crux. 09/04/14. "Pope Francis notched yet another first today, becoming the first pontiff, and for that matter the first head of state of any sort, to simultaneously speak with teenagers from around the world by holding a Google Hangout session with high schools from five continents."
  • Pope Francis Donates $1 Million to Iraqi Refugees National Catholic Register 08/22/14.


  • Is Pope Francis an Evangelical, Charismatic Catholic?, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. Catholic World Report 11/05/14. Experts in Evangelical Christianity and the Charismatic Movement discuss the roots and focus of the Holy Father's ecumenical dialogue and interaction.
  • Pope Francis not sure how to make sense of what he just said Eye of the Tiber. 11/14/14. "“I said what?” Francis asked those gathered. “There’s no way I just said that. OK, that’s just weird. Seriously, what the heck is it with me?"
  • The Pope’s Unforced Error, by Benedict Kiely. National Review 11/08/14. "Despite the image of Francis as a man of dialogue and compromise, he is regarded in Rome as the most authoritarian pope in decades. He is also a man known to settle scores." His demotion of Cardinal Burke, a loyal but eloquent critic, could turn out to be his greatest mistake.
  • Did Pope Francis get what he wanted from the synod?, by Francis S. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 10/31/14:
    The pope never expressed his views at the synod; he kept silent throughout the two weeks of discussions. Yet there are good reasons to think he and the assembly were not of the same mind on these questions.

    Pope Francis had invited the author of the Communion proposal, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, and no one else, to address a gathering of the world's cardinals on the family in February. And the synod's controversial midterm report was the work of the pope's handpicked team, who presumably would never have departed from the usual tone of official Vatican documents on moral teaching unless they had understood that to be what the pope wanted. So if they were right, the synod's reaction must have disappointed him.

    But at the same time, the pope got just what he asked for: a more assertive synod.

  • Burke: “There is a strong sense that the Church is like a ship without a helm”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 10/30/14:
    “Many have expressed their concerns to me. At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the Church is like a ship without a helm, whatever the reason for this may be; now, it is more important than ever to examine our faith, have a healthy spiritual leader and give powerful witness to the faith.”

    “I fully respect the Petrine ministry and I do not wish it to seem like I am speaking out against the Pope. I would like to be a master of the faith, with all my weaknesses, telling a truth that many currently perceive. They are feeling a bit sea sick because they feel the Church’s ship has lost its bearings. We need to set aside the reason for this disorientation because we have not lost our bearings. We have the enduring tradition of the Church, its teachings, the liturgy, its morality. The catechism remains the same.”

  • Pope Francis Didn’t Revolutionize the Catholic Church’s Stance on Evolution, and the media should stop saying he did, by Yair Rosenburg. The Tablet 10/30/14. "To judge by the breathless media reports, Pope Francis’s comments this week about the compatibility of evolution and religion signaled a sea change in Catholic teaching. ..."
  • The Rise of Bergoglianism, by Christopher A. Ferrera. The Remnant 09/26/14. "Bergoglianism in particular, and the “spirit of Vatican II” in general, represent an ideological demand that the Church be historicized in her doctrine and practice, accommodating both to "changing times.'"
  • THe Pope's War with the Vatican, by Damian Thompson. The Spectator 08/23/14:
    The first non-European Pope was elected to do one thing: reform the Roman Curia, the pitifully disorganised, corrupt and lazy central machinery of the church. He is determined to pull it off — but he’s 77 and has part of a lung missing.
  • Would the Real Pope Please Stand?, by Georg Conger. The Media Project. 08/05/14. "Why, from a journalistic perspective, do we know so little about someone who talks so much?"
  • Misuse of Prayer, by Maureen Malarkey. First Things 06/09/14. "Francis’ interfaith pageant soothes because it posits a moral equivalence between the Palestinian Authority with its newly sworn in unity government—Hamas and Fatah conjoined—and the state of Israel. Who benefits from that equivalence?"

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup

  • Pope asks for international action to help Iraq's persecuted Christians Catholic News Service. 08/07/14:
    Pope Francis asked Catholics around the world to pray for tens of thousands of Christians from villages in northeastern Iraq who were forced from their homes in the middle of the night by Islamic State militants.

    The pope also made a "pressing appeal to the international community to take initiatives to put an end to the humanitarian drama underway, to take steps to protect those involved and threatened by violence and to ensure the necessary aid for so many displaced people whose fate depends on the solidarity of others," the Vatican spokesman said Aug. 7.

  • Pope lifts suspension of Father D'Escoto, former Sandinista official Catholic News Service. 08/06/14:
    Pope Francis has lifted the suspension of Maryknoll Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, who was ordered 29 years ago to stop exercising his priestly ministry because he refused to give up his political position in Nicaragua's Sandinista government.

    The pope made his decision after Father D'Escoto, 81, formally requested permission to resume priestly duties, Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, assistant director of the Vatican press office, said Aug. 4. Vatican Radio reported that Father D'Escoto had written that he wanted to be able to celebrate Mass again "before dying."

  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? The Pope Zenit News Service. 08/01/14. Thursday evening, to mark the feast of St. Ignatius, the Holy Father made a surprise visit for dinner at the Jesuit General Curia in Rome, reported Vatican Radio.
  • Pope is inspiration for first privately funded refugee rescue operation La Stampa 07/31/14. "Regina Catracombe a businesswoman living in Malta is using her personal wealth to help desperate immigrants trying to cross Mediterranean waters."
  • Let me call you 'brother': Pope takes ecumenism one step at a time, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 07/29/14. "The only name Pope Francis wants divided Christians to call each other is "brother" or "sister."
  • Pope has casual Q&A with priests of Caserta Vatican Radio. 07/29/14. Pope Francis met with the priests of the Diocese of Caserta on his visit there on Saturday afternoon. The Pope engaged in a question-and-answer period with the priests in the Palatina della Reggia di Caserta Chapel.
  • Francis' sober apology to the Evangelicals, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 07/29/14.
    The sober words Pope Francis addressed to pastor Giovanni Traettino and the rest of Evangelical Pentecostal community in Caserta yesterday morning continued a path started by St. John Paul II on the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. On and in order to mark that occasion John Paul II was keen for the Church to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes made by Christians – and men of the Church –during the course of history, as a gesture of penitence. With this initiative - which cardinals did not agree with because they feared the Church would have to apologise for things that had no real historical basis – John Paul II wished to show that the Church was not afraid to recognize the betrayals, excesses, exploitation and violence that had been committed over the centuries in the name of the Christian God; behaviour that was not in the least bit Christian-like.

    Pope Francis apologised to the Pentecostal community especially for what had gone on during the fascist period when Evangelical pastors were deported, churches destroyed and miniscule Evangelical movements were declared “harmful to the physical and mental identity of the [Italian] race.” Many clerics back then kept silent and some parish priests reported Evangelicals to the OVRA, the Italian fascist regime’s secret police. Laws and provisions were passed by Christians, by baptized people. Francis also wants the word “sect” to be used more carefully when referring to the various new branches of the Evangelical faith.

  • In latest interview, Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 07/29/14.
  • Pope Gets in Line at Vatican Canteen Zenit News Service. 07/25/14. "The Pope spent his lunchtime today queuing up for food in the Vatican canteen and dining with Vatican staff. ... Saying how emotional of an experience it was, the chef added that 'it is one of the most satisfying things that can happen to you in life.'"
  • The Pope’s conversation with Scalfari and the words Francis never pronounced, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 07/14/14:
    Fr. Lombardi’s immediate response to the article published by Italian newspaper La Repubblica illustrates the surprise it caused in the Vatican: The Pope never made any mention of "paedophile cardinals", neither did he speak about celibacy in the terms described, nor did he say he would come down hard on paedophile priests "like Jesus did".
  • Pope meets sex abuse victims, says clergy actions cloaked in complicity, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 07/07/14:
    Asking for forgiveness, Pope Francis told abuse survivors that "despicable actions" caused by clergy have been hidden for too long and had been "camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained."

    "There is no place in the church's ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not," and to hold all bishops accountable for protecting young people, the pope said during a special early morning Mass for six survivors of abuse by clergy. The Mass and private meetings held later with each individual took place in the Domus Sanctae Marthae -- the pope's residence and a Vatican guesthouse where the survivors also stayed.


  • The Strange Silences of a Very Talkative Pope, by Sandro Magister. Chiesa. 08/01/14. Not a word for the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, nor for the Pakistani Asia Bibi, sentenced to death on the charge of having offended Islam. And then the audiences denied to former president of the IOR Gotti Tedeschi, driven out for wanting to clean house.
  • Why in the Devil Does Pope Francis Speak So Much About the Prince of This World?, by Fr. Thomas Rosica. Zenit News Service. 07/31/14:
    Francis refers to the devil continually. He does not believe him to be a myth, but a real person, the most insidious enemy of the Church. We may be tempted to ask, why in the devil is Pope Francis so involved with the prince of demons?
  • Francis's Secret Friend in Caserta Sandro Magister. 07/23/14. "He is not Catholic, but Pentecostal, a part of those Christian communities which are in breathtaking expansion all over the world. Little by little the pope is meeting with their leaders. From rivals he wants to become friends, to the point of asking their forgiveness."
  • Is a Period of Papal Reserve Now Overdue?, by Dr. William Oddie. Crisis "A period of reserve would now be a good thing. There needs to be less, not more, spontaneous papal activity. Especially on the phone."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup

  • Pope Francis sacks entire board of Vatican's financial watchdog The Independant 06/17/14:
    Pope Francis’s battle to clean up the Vatican’s scandal-mired bank, the Institute of Religious Works (IoR), has entered a new stage, with his removal of the entire board of the Holy City’s financial watchdog.

    The five Italians heading the Financial Information Authority (AIF) have been replaced with an international group of experts, including a woman, two years before they were supposed to step down. Vatican insiders say the drastic move followed clashes between the board members, who formed part of the old boys’ network and the body’s Swiss director, René Brülhart, an anti-money laundering expert, who remains in charge. ...

  • Pope: It's 'intolerable' markets have the power to decide people's fate Catholic News Agency. 06/16/14.
  • The Pope: "Let us help a tired Europe to rediscover its roots" La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 06/15/14:
    “Europe is tired, let's help it to find itself”, urges Francis. “A modern culture based on discarding, where anything that is not needed or does not produce is discarded" it is a form of “underlying euthanasia” warns the Pope speaking in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, during the meeting with the Community of Sant 'Egidio.
  • Truth be told: the Traditional Catholic position on the Economy is not Libertarian (and the Pope is close to it) Rorate Caeli. 06/03/14. "The positions stated by Pope Francis on economic and social matters are much closer to the Traditional Catholic position on the economy and the State than not. Indeed, it can be said unhesitatingly that this is one area in which the Pope will find mostly allies in Traditional Catholics."
  • Pope, at charismatic rally in stadium, invites them to Vatican in 2017, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Agency. 06/02/14:
    Meeting more than 50,000 Catholic charismatics in Rome's Olympic Stadium, Pope Francis admitted he was not always comfortable with the way they prayed, but he knelt onstage as they prayed for him and over him by singing and speaking in tongues.

    "In the early years of the charismatic renewal in Buenos Aires, I did not have much love for charismatics," the pope said June 1. "I said of them: They seem like a samba school."

    Little by little, though, he came to see how much good the movement was doing for Catholics and for the church, he told a gathering organized by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships.

  • Pope Francis Meets With Doctor Who Saved His Life. National Catholic Register 05/28/14. In 1980, Argentinian surgeon Dr. Juan Carlos Parodi operated on the future pope for gall-bladder failure.
  • Photo Story of Pope Francis’ Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Salt and Light TV. 05/28/14.
  • Pope says his 'most authentic' gestures in Holy Land were spontaneous Catholic News Agency. 05/26/14:
    Regarding his dramatic gestures during the visit, when he prayed at the controversial Israeli-built separation wall in the West Bank and kissed the hands of Holocaust survivors, the pope said the "most authentic gestures are those you don't think about ... mine were not planned gestures, it just occurs to me to do something spontaneously that way."
  • Pope makes new Christian unity step in meeting with Patriarch Catholic World Report. 05/25/14. Francis and Bartholomew I emphasize defense of the dignity of the human person at every stage of life, sanctity of family based on marriage, and the promotion of peace and the common good.


  • The Pope, The Patriarch and True Ecumenism, by Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille. Catholic World Report 05/23/14:
    With the pope of Rome and the patriarch of Constantinople going to Jerusalem this weekend, there is naturally a great deal of conversation and consideration of where Orthodox and Catholic Christians have been and where we might be going. I have discussed some of this elsewhere. Here, however, I want to do something different, following a theological method beloved of many in the Christian East, as well as many Western mystics (St. John of the Cross comes to mind), namely the apophatic or “negative” way. I wish, in other words, to explain what true ecumenism is not ...
  • Author Discusses ‘The Vatican According to Francis’. National Catholic Register 5/29/14. What impact is a Latin-American pope having on a Roman Curia heavily influenced by Italians? Massimo Franco, a senior correspondent with Italy’s daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, shares his perspective in a new book called Il Vaticano Secondo Francesco (The Vatican According to Francis).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pope Francis' Invocation for Peace

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pope Francis - Apostolic Visit to Israel and the Holy Land

Addresses by Pope Francis

Media Coverage

  • Pope, arriving in Holy Land, calls for religious freedom in Middle East 05/24/14.
  • At Amman Mass, pope calls on Christians to promote peace Catholic News Service. 05/24/14.
  • At River Jordan, pope meets suffering, speaks against arms trade Catholic News Service. 05/24/14. Jordan's powerful and marginalized joined together at the banks of the River Jordan to welcome Pope Francis at the site believed to be where Jesus was baptized.
  • When Pope Francis asked an Israeli Reporter, "How Can I Help?", by Gerard O'Connell. America 05/24/14:
    On 13 June 2013, Pope Francis granted an interview to Israel’s Channel 2 TV at Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where he lives. That interview made history; it was the first time that a TV crew entered Santa Marta to interview the pope.

    What is not known, however, is that immediately afterwards Francis asked to speak in private with the TV reporter, Henrique Cymerman. He opened the conversation with a highly significant question regarding the Israeli-Palestinian situation: “How can I help?” and he then followed up with a series of other pertinent questions. ...

  • Bayit Yehudi denies boycott of Pope Jerusalem Post 05/25/14. Fewer than 10 ministers greeted Pope Francis, much fewer than US president Barack Obama in 2013; Bayit Yehudi had no representative at the greeting ceremony, insists there was not planned boycott of the pope.
  • Pope concludes first day in Israel with visit to Jerusalem Jerusalem Post 05/25/14.
  • Francis prays in silence before the Wall of division La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 05/25/14:
    Pope Francis has touched the Wall of Division. In a resounding unscheduled stop during his visit to the Holy Land, before the Mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, the Bishop of Rome asked to be driven in front of a point of the cement barrier that Israel has been constructing since 2002 and that runs largely through Palestinian occupied territory, contravening international laws. There, Pope Francis remained a few minutes in total silence, surrounded by a group of young Palestinians.

    It was a silence that said more than a thousand speeches could, before the wall that, as the Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun has said, also separates the Birthplace of Jesus from the place of his Resurrection. ...

  • Pope invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders to Rome to pray for peace, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 05/25/14:
    Pope Francis invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to pray together at the Vatican for peace between their nations. ...

    arriving at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Pope Francis was greeted by Peres and by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There the pope repeated his invitation to Peres using exactly the same words with which he had invited Abbas.

    He also urged Israel to stay on the "path of dialogue, reconciliation and peace," saying "there is simply no other way."

    "The right of the state of Israel to exist and to flourish in peace and security within internationally recognized borders must be universally recognized," the pope said. "At the same time, there must also be a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign homeland and their right to live with dignity and with freedom of movement."

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Francis meets former sex slaves on second day of conference against human trafficking La Stampa "Catholic Insider" 04/11/14.
  • Francis: “Theologians who don’t pray or worship God end up sunk in the most disgusting narcissism” by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "Catholic Insider" 04/11/14. In his speech to the Pontifical Gregorian University Francis presented the identikit of a theologian.
  • Pope's Address to Italian Pro-Life Movement Zenit. 04/11/14:
    One of the gravest risks to which our time is exposed is the divorce between economy and morality, between the possibilities offered by a market furnished with every technological novelty and the elementary norms of human nature, ever more neglected. Therefore, it is necessary to confirm the firmest opposition to every direct attempt against life, especially innocent and vulnerable life, and the unborn in the maternal womb is the innocent one par excellence. We recall the words of Vatican Council II: “Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.” (Constitution Gaudium et spes, 51). I recall that once, a long time ago, I had a conference with doctors. After the conference I greeted the doctors – this happened so long ago. I was greeting the doctors, talking with them, and one called me aside. He had a package and he said to me: “Father, I want to leave this with you. These are the instruments that I have used to cause abortion. I have found the Lord, I have repented, and I now fight for life.” He gave me all these instruments. Pray for this good man!
  • Pope and Obama discuss religious freedom, life issues, immigration, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 03/27/14:
    In their first encounter, Pope Francis received U.S. President Barack Obama at the Vatican March 27 for a discussion that touched on several areas of tension between the Catholic Church and the White House, including religious freedom and medical ethics.

    During an unusually long 50-minute meeting, the two leaders discussed "questions of particular relevance for the church in (the U.S.), such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection as well as the issue of immigration reform," the Vatican said in statement.

  • Only God knows for sure: Obama, pope differ on accounts of ‘social schisms’ talk Washington Times 03/27/14:
    The Vatican and White House gave starkly different versions of Mr. Obama’s meeting with Francis.

    The president’s account downplayed the Catholic Church’s concerns about religious freedom in the United States and Obamacare’s mandate to pay for contraception.

  • Why Bergoglio travels so little La Stampa "The Vatican Insider". 03/29/14. "Francis has never been to the US. He went to Jerusalem once but the Yom Kippur War cut his pilgrimage in half. Now he is Pope, he still keeps his trips short and focused."
  • Bless me, Father: Pope leads by example, goes to confession, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 03/28/14. Leading a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis surprised his liturgical adviser by going to confession during the service.
  • Pope Accepts Resignation of Controversial German Bishop Zenit News Service. 03/28/14. The Holy See today announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, following an investigation into the construction of a [$42 million] new residence.
  • Pope Distributes Free Pocket-Sized Copies of Gospels EWTN News. 04/06/14. The copies were handed out to the crowds of pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus to encourage them to read the word of God.
  • The story behind a papal “selfie”, by Deacon Greg Kandra. 03/21/14. "Little did Marco Antonio Lome and his wife Zaira Venegas know that they, too, would have their own ‘selfie’ with the Pope."
  • Priest Gives Insight Into Pope Francis’ Interview Style National Catholic Register 03/12/14. "Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, who interviewed the Pope in August 2013, says the Holy Father makes ‘decisions by discernment,’ relying on inspiration and emotion as well as logic and reason."


  • Explaining Pope Francis, or the challenge of PIA (Papally Induced Anxiety) syndrome, by Philip Blosser. The Pertinacious Papist 05/06/14:
    Since the advent of his pontificate, Pope Francis has required some explaining. Particularly since a lot of the "explaining" going on in the secular drive-by media has been less than helpful for purposes of understanding Church teaching, a veritable new hermeneutical industry of orthodox pontifical interpretation has been called into existence.
  • Catholics must learn to resist their popes — even Pope Francis, by Michael Brendan Dougherty. The Week 05/05/14. "Too many are becoming party apparatchiks."
  • The Bactrian's vertebrae begin to crack, by Dale Price. Dyspeptic Mutterings 04/20/14. "At a minimum, it's time to face up to the glaring fact that the Roman communion is being led by a heedless, imprudent exhibitionist. The chattiest possible, it seems."
  • Curia rumblings about a pope who won't be filtered, by John Thavis. 05/02/14:
    While in Rome this week, I’ve made some soundings inside the Roman Curia, and found concern among Vatican officials in two areas. First, they’re worried about the doctrinal and pastoral implications of the pope’s supposed remarks, and the risk of raising expectations for a change in church policy that may never occur.

    Second, and more broadly, they’re concerned that the Vatican is losing control over papal communication. In that sense, the phone call was a tipping point: an institution that has spoken for centuries in a formal, calibrated hierarchy of expression is now headed by a man who chats on the phone, delivers soundbites to reporters and improvises daily sermons.

  • The Joys and Sorrows of Francis's Magisterium, by Sandro Magister. Chiesa 04/15/14:
    Over the span of 36 hours, between Thursday the 10th and Friday the 11th of April, Pope Francis lashed out - and not for the first time - against the "dictatorship of uniform thought" that suppresses "the freedom of nations, the freedom of the people, freedom of conscience."

    He then forcefully defended "the right of children to grow up in a family with a dad and a mom, in relation to the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother, thus preparing affective maturity."

    He furthermore expressed the toughest of views on "the horrors of educational manipulation" that "with the pretense of modernity pushes children and young people to walk the dictatorial path of the single form of thought." And he added the testimony of a "great educator" who had told him a few days earlier, referring to concrete projects of education: "At times one cannot tell with these projects if one is sending a child to school or to a reeducation camp."

    And finally he reiterated his opposition to the killing of all "unborn life in the mother's womb," citing the summary judgment of Vatican Council II: "Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes."

    The references to events, to laws, to judicial decisions, to opinion campaigns attributable to "gender" ideology, in the news recently in Italy, France, and other countries, were transparent in the words of Pope Francis.

    But in the media in general his warnings had practically no impact. As if they were a pure abstraction, with no influence on reality and foreign to any judgment. Because the key to explaining everything - in the media's narration of Pope Francis - is by now the "who am I to judge?" spoken by the pope for the first time during the press conference on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro and a second time in the interview with "La Civiltà Cattolica," in reference to the homosexual who "is of good will and is in search of God."

  • Pope Francis, Obama allies in war on global inequality, by Paul B. Farrell. Marketwatch 03/31/14:
    Yes, Pope Francis and President Obama are now allies in a global war against inequality and capitalism. Also on the radar: GOP conservatives, Wall Street banks, Big Oil, corporate greed, corruption, trickle-down economics, so-called invisible hands, out-of-control competition, rampant consumerism, the world’s lost moral compass and more, all in Pope Francis’ 10-part strategic war plan.
  • "Pope Francis is a Father Who Cares for Persons as a Priest and Missionary" Zenit News Service. 03/17/14. Vatican Radio Interview with Father Guillermo Ortiz, SJ, on the First Anniversary of Jorge Mario Bergoglio's Election as Bishop of Rome.
  • Pope Francis: A Faithful Son of the Church Zenit News Service. 03/14/14. Sean Patrick Lovett, Vatican Radio's English Language Director reflects on the first anniversary of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election.
  • Pope Francis, the Church and the Big Picture, by Father Roger Landry. National Catholic Register 03/12/14. "As we approach the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis on March 13, it’s a fitting time to step back from the whirlwind of papal activity to look at the big picture of what Pope Francis has been trying to do and what it heralds for the future."
  • Francis: Reader of Souls, by Ashley McKinless. America 03/12/14. "It must be disarming to meet Pope Francis in the confessional, as his insights into the sins and foibles of the people of our times are so penetrating. He cuts right to the quick without evasion, and he names often subtle ways in which we abuse the grace God gives us."
  • Francis: Far More than Show, by Ashley McKinless. America 03/10/14. "Here are four ways in which Pope Francis has shown he means business: 1) His choice of advisers; 2) institutional renewal and innovation; 3) decisiveness in his governing; and 4) setting the Gospel as priority over moral crusades."
  • Pope Francis' top 10 most quotable quotes of the year, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 02/28/14.
  • Pope Francis' constant refrain: 'Go forth,' evangelize, help the poor, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 02/27/14. (In Italian, the phrase is even snappier: "Avanti").
  • In Argentina, pope's impact has moved beyond spiritual realm, by David Agren. Catholic News Service. 03/10/14:
    Revolution may overstate the reality in Argentina, and the size and scope of any changes remain relative. The lasting impact also remains uncertain. But Argentines have embraced the election of Pope Francis -- to the point that parents began naming babies "Francisco" in large numbers, priests report increased parish attendance and the previously antagonistic president and her supporters act as if he were an ally.

Pope Francis' Little Book of Insults

The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Pope Francis: the priest of the slums The Telegraph UK. 03/08/12. Peter Stanford, author and former editor of the Catholic Herald, retraces the trip Pope Francis used to take to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to try to understand the man who was known as 'the priest of the slums'.
  • The Pope appoints 8 cardinals and 7 lay people to the new Council for the Economy La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 03/08/14. The Pope has appointed eight cardinals and seven lay people as members of the Vatican Council of the Economy which is to be co-ordinated by the cardinal Archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx. Their mandate will last five years. The Secretariat for the Economy, essentially the Vatican “ministry of finance”, was established just a few days ago and Australian cardinal George Pell chosen as its head.
  • Francis Gives an Ignatian Twist to the 2014 Vatican Lenten Retreat, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 03/07/14. Drawing on the spirituality of the founder of his Jesuit order, the Holy Father has moved this year’s retreat to a secluded retreat center near Castel Gandolfo.
  • Francis: I carry crucifix I took from a dead priest, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic Herald UK. 03/06/14.
  • Bergoglio opens Castel Gandolfo gardens to the public La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 03/03/14. As of 1 March tourists will be able to visit the Barberini gardens and admire the natural beauty and archaeological treasures of the surroundings.
  • Pope Francis overhauls Vatican finances, names Australian cardinal George Pell as comptroller Religion News Service. 02/24/14. Pope Francis launched a sweeping reform of the Vatican’s scandal-plagued financial system by naming one of his closest advisers on reform, Australian Cardinal George Pell, to head a powerful new department that will oversee the entire management of the Holy See.
  • ZENIT publishes below the first English translation of Pope Francis’ interview with Ferruccio de Bortoli that appeared today in Corriere della Sera. The text has been published by kind permission of the newspaper's director.
    • Francis: the Pope is “a normal person”, not Superman La Stampa 03/05/14. In an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis says he is a normal person, not superman, and speaks about the family, child abuse, foreign trips, relations with the Orthodox, China, and how he governs the Church.
    • Pope, in interview, suggests church could tolerate some civil unions, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 03/05/14. "Pope Francis suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of nonmarital civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. He also said the church would not change its teaching against artificial birth control but should take care to apply it with 'much mercy.'"
    • Italian Editor Calls Interview with Francis 'Extraordinary Privilege' Zenit News Agency. 03/06/14. “A great emotion, an extraordinary privilege.” These were the words Ferruccio de Bortoli, editor in chief of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, used to describe his recent interview with Pope Francis.
    • Pope Gives New Interview to Secular Newspaper, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 03/05/14:
      This is Pope Francis' sixth interview to the mainstream media. Some in the Vatican have quietly expressed disappointment that the Holy Father has so far only given interviews to the secular press and denied any to his own media outlets such as Vatican Television, Vatican Radio or the semi-official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. But Benedict XVI and Blessed John Paul II didn’t do so either, most probably as part of a strategy to reach out and evangelize secular society.
  • Pope Francis Lets A Vulgarity Slip During Vatican Address, by Bill Chappell. NPR. 03/03/14. It was a simple slip of the tongue, people say. But when the pope accidentally utters a vulgarity during a public speech, people notice. That's what happened during Sunday's weekly blessing by Pope Francis, sparking a flurry of comments on social media.
  • "Who Am I to Judge? Pope Francis T-Shirt Celebrates Diversity" PR Newswire (via Rorate Caeli). 02/27/14. "'Who am I to judge?' -- This universal message is especially timely with the recent news about Michael Sam and Ellen Page coming out. However, "Who Am I to Judge?" goes beyond the gay, lesbian and LGBT community. It's a global message that applies to communities and Archetypes everywhere."
  • Pope Francis, with retired Pope Benedict present, creates new cardinals, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 02/26/14:
    In his homily Pope Francis did not mention the standard point that the cardinals' new red vestments are symbols of the call to serve Christ and his church to the point of shedding their blood if necessary. Rather, he focused on their being called to follow Christ more closely, to build up the unity of the church and to proclaim the Gospel more courageously.

    The Bible, he said, is filled with stories of Jesus walking with his disciples and teaching them as they traveled.

    "This is important," the pope said. "Jesus did not come to teach a philosophy, an ideology, but rather a 'way,' a journey to be undertaken with him, and we learn the way as we go, by walking."

    After listening to a reading of Mark 10:32-45, Pope Francis also spoke about the very human, worldly temptation of "rivalry, jealousy (and) factions" the first disciples faced.

    The reading is a warning to the cardinals and to all Christians to put aside concerns of power and favoritism and "to become ever more of one heart and soul" gathered around the Lord, he said.

  • Pope at audience: Make sure your children are confirmed by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 01/29/14:
    Many Catholic parents go to great lengths to ensure their children are baptized, and they must make similar efforts to see that their children are confirmed, Pope Francis said.

    Without confirmation, he said, young people will remain "halfway" on the path of Christian maturity and membership in the church.

  • Francis: “It’s absurd to claim that we love Christ without the Church” La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/30/14. Loving Christ but not the Church makes no sense. This was Francis’ message at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House. The Pope also emphasised the three pillars of belonging to the Church: humility, faithfulness and prayer.

Commemoration: Pope Francis' First Year

  • Virtual Booklet Marks Francis' 1st Year as Pope The Vatican has prepared a virtual book to mark the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis' election. Called "Do We Want to Become Holy? Yes or No?", the 36-page book includes some of the most striking of Francis' messages since he became the Successor of St. Peter last March 13. Zenit News Agency. 03/07/14.
  • Pope Francis - the first year: From atheists to gay marriage, 12 months in his own words 03/07/14. "In his first year as pontiff, Pope Francis has enjoyed a very positive media image compared to his predecessors. He is certainly the first pope to have been compared to both a rock star and to Superman."
  • Pope Francis - the first year: Is the rebel too good to be true?, by Paul Vallely. 03/08/14. He is cleaning up the Vatican bank. He thinks the Catholic Church should worry less about homosexuality and more about the poor. He has ruffled feathers - but, asks his biographer Paul Vallelly, is he as radical as he seems?
  • Pope Francis wants you to get over him, by Michelle Boorstein. Washington Post 03/07/14. "If you’ve posted inspiring Pope Francis quotes on Facebook, if you’ve devoured every article about him, if you’re banking on him to revolutionize a tradition-heavy, 2,000-year-old institution by force of personality, Francis has a message for you."


Monday, January 27, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Feathers fly at the Vatican after Pope's doves attacked by gull and crow Slate 01/26/14. (Associated Press reports: "Fate of white doves unclear").
  • Francis thanks the many holy priests who give their lives in the anonymity of their daily service La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/27/14:
    At this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House, Francis asked: “do the papers carry news of what great charity so many priests, so many priests in so many parishes of the city and the countryside, perform? Of the great work they do in carrying their people forward? No? This is not news.”
  • Pope Francis Prays (and Tweets) for March for Life. Catholic News Agency / EWTN News. 01/22/14:
    Pope Francis sent a tweet offering support for the annual March for Life in Washington, praying that all human life would be valued.

    I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable,” he told his 3.5 million English-speaking Twitter followers Jan. 22.

    The Pope sent the same message in Spanish to his Spanish-speaking Twitter followers, who number more than 4.5 million.

    (See also: Not Part of the Script—Pope Francis' Critique of Abortion Ignored, Spun by Media, by Joanne Frawley Desmond. 01/15/14).
  • Pope's Message to World Economic Forum - Full Text National Catholic Register 01/21/14:
    Pope Francis has sent a message to the World Economic Forum in Davos, delivered by Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, on Jan. 21.
  • Pope Francis Visits Parish Serving Homeless, Poor in Rome’s Center National Catholic Register 01/21/14.
  • Pope invites Christian and Muslim refugees to share each others suffering and faith La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/20/14:
    The Pope asked young people to “cause a stir” on Church reform during the course of a closed-door meeting with youth from the parish of the Basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Castro Pretorio, near Rome’s termini railway station. Francis went on a four-hour visit of the parish yesterday afternoon. During today’s meeting Francis confided that he also felt “suffering” and invited those among them who were Christians who read the Bible and those of them who were Muslims and read the Koran to share their suffering and faith because there is one single God, one same God.
  • Pope to moms: It's OK to breast-feed in public, even in Sistine Chapel, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 01/13/14:
    No chorus is as wonderful as the squeaks, squeals and banter of children, the pope said during a Mass in which he baptized 32 babies on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Jan. 12.
  • Pope names 16 new cardinal-electors, from 12 countries and all continents La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/12/14. Francis will create 16 new cardinal electors on February 22, and give red hats to 3 who are over the age of 80 that cannot vote in a conclave. Five are from “the peripheries”. His first consistory shows he is beginning a process to limit significantly the number of electors from Europe and the Roman Curia.
  • Pope orders new rules on relations between bishops, religious orders, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 01/02/14:
    Pope Francis referred to "Mutuae Relationes," a set of directives issued jointly by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Religious in 1978. The document said that religious orders are part of the local church, though with their own internal organization, and that their "right to autonomy" should never be considered as independence from the local church.

    "That document was useful at the time but is now outdated," the pope said. "The charisms of the various institutes need to be respected and fostered because they are needed in dioceses."

  • Pope Francis makes visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for Christmas Telegraph UK. 12/24/13:
    ... “It is a pleasure to see you looking so well,” Pope Francis told his 86-year-old predecessor, who met him at the door of the ex-convent where he has been living in isolation.

    Pope Francis was accompanied by his person secretaries and also greeted members of Pope Benedict’s “pontifical family,” which include Archbishop George Gaenswein, prefect of the Pontifical Household and Benedict's personal secretary, as well as the “Memores Domini,” a small group of consecrated women who help him.

    The two walked to a nearby chapel to pray, Pope Benedict with the aid of an ivory-handled wooden cane.

    They then held private talks for a half hour. Photos showed the two popes in white robes chatting in one of Pope Benedict’s sitting rooms, its all-white interior decorated with religious art and a Christmas wreath with red candles flickering on the coffee table.

    It is the first time the inside of Benedict’s retirement residence has been shown. When the two parted, Pope Francis said “Merry Christmas, pray for me,” to which Benedict replied “Always, always, always.”


  • Is Francis Building Benedict’s Church?, by Timothy Kirchoff. Ethika Politika 01/13/14:
    It does not take much imagination to see the connection between the poisonous spirituality of the scribes and pharisees and the appearance-focused spiritualities that Francis has recognized as obstacles to the realization of the Church’s vocation in the world. Francis and Benedict, in presenting their shared prescription for the modern Church, are not merely showing continuity with each other, but with Christ.
  • How popes, baptism, marriage, and form, all come together by Dr. Ed Peters:(In the Light of the Law 1/12/14):
    if the pope’s action today was as reported (again, we don’t know that yet), pastors who delay a baby’s baptism in order to help reactivate the Faith in the baby’s parents are going to have a harder time doing that as word gets out about the pope’s (apparently) different approach to the rite. Whether that was the message Francis intended to send is irrelevant to whether that is the message that he seems to have sent.

    But, I suggest, the whole question of whether to baptize the baby of these parents surfaces a yet deeper question. ... [W]hether canonical form—a remedy that nearly all would agree has outlived the disease it was designed to cure (clandestine marriage)—should be still be required for Catholics or whether the price of demanding the observance of canonical form has become too high for the pastoral good it might serve.

    [See also: "Cdl. Bergoglio’s comments on baptism are being misapplied by folks debating Pope Francis’ baptismal actions" -- response to John Allen, Jr.].
  • Capitalism and the Pope, by Guy Sorman. City Journal. Winter 2014. "Francis’s criticisms of the free market ignore its usefulness."
  • Francis gives priest a ride on the Popemobile: “Come! Hop in!” La Stampa 01/09/14. Vatican Insider interviews Fabián Báez, the Argentinean priest Francis spotted among the crowd in St. Peter’s Square at yesterday’s General Audience, offering him a ride on the Popemobile.
  • Pope Francis, Economics, and Poverty, by James V. Schall, SJ. Comments made by Cardinal Bergoglio in 2010 shed light on his understanding of capitalism, work, and the poor. Catholic World Report January 6, 2014.
  • Who am I to judge? - A Radical Pope's First Year, by James Carroll. New Yorker 12/23/13. A characteristically progressive assessment of Francis' first year:
    "Who am I to judge?" With those five words, spoken in late July in reply to a reporter’s question about the status of gay priests in the Church, Pope Francis stepped away from the disapproving tone, the explicit moralizing typical of Popes and bishops. This gesture of openness, which startled the Catholic world, would prove not to be an isolated event. In a series of interviews and speeches in the first few months after his election, in March, the Pope unilaterally declared a kind of truce in the culture wars that have divided the Vatican and much of the world. Repeatedly, he argued that the Church’s purpose was more to proclaim God’s merciful love for all people than to condemn sinners for having fallen short of strictures, especially those having to do with gender and sexual orientation. His break from his immediate predecessors—John Paul II, who died in 2005, and Benedict XVI, the traditionalist German theologian who stepped down from the papacy in February—is less ideological than intuitive, an inclusive vision of the Church centered on an identification with the poor. From this vision, theological and organizational innovations flow. The move from rule by non-negotiable imperatives to leadership by invitation and welcome is as fundamental to the meaning of the faith as any dogma.
  • On the pope’s selection as Person of the the LGBT community, by Dr. Jeff Mirus. 12/17/13.
  • Snippets From an Exhortation: The Anti-Modernism of Pope Francis, by John Medaille. Catholic Lane. 12/16/13.