- 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?"