- The blood of St. Gennaro liquefies in Francis' presence La Stampa 03/21/15:
This is the first time it happened. San Gennaro's blood had never liquefied during a papal visit to Naples before. None of the visits paid by Pius IX, John Paul II or Benedict XVI provoked the phenomenon. But the miracle was witnessed this afternoon, after Francis' heartfelt address to faithful and clergy.
The Pope had taken the vial with the blood of St. Gennaro - displayed on the altar - in his hands and kissed it. Cardinal Sepe said over the microphone: "It is the sign that St. Gennaro loves Pope Francis: half of the blood turned to liquid." The pronouncement was followed by a long applause from faithful. The Pope then replied: "If only half of it liquefied that means we still have work to do; we have to do better. We have only half of the saint's love." But the blood continued to liquefy until the whole relic had turned to liquid, with many faithful crying out as they witnessed this.
- Francis lunches at Poggioreale prison La Stampa 03/21/15. Among the prisoners Francis had lunch with there were transgender people and HIV sufferers as well as guests from other correction centres in the southern Italian region in Campania.
- TV broadcaster depicts Pope Francis as torture victim in build-up to Copa Libertadores clash Metro.co.uk 03/20/15. "How the brutal torture of the head of the Catholic Church is supposed to heighten anticipation for a football match we’ll never know, but Fox ran with it anyway – to much criticism in the largely devout South America."
- Francis: "The death penalty is inadmissible, life imprisonment is unacceptable" La Stampa 03/20/15. Pope Francis sent out an appeal this morning in his audience with a delegation representing the International Commission against the Death Penalty. The Pope wrote a letter to President Federico Mayor, stating that capital punishment is "inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed by the convict".
- 'It's time to surrender,' Pope tells crime-ridden Naples Catholic News Agency 03/21/15. "The future of Naples "is not resigned to fold in on itself, but to open to the world with confidence," he said, adding that "to hope is already to resist evil…to hope is to wager on the mercy of God, who is Father and always forgives and forgives everything."
- 'Bishop of Bling' getting a job at the Vatican, by John Thavis. 02/10/15:
It's still a bit of a mystery, with no official confirmation, but it seems that Pope Francis has agreed to make German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst the "delegate for catechesis" at the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization. It's a new position, created just for him. ...
It struck some as odd that a bishop forced to resign for financial mismanagement would land any job in the Roman Curia. All the more, in this case, because under the Curia restructuring plan being hammered out by papal commissions, the council for new evangelization may well disappear sometime next year.
However, parking problematic bishops in the Curia is a bit of a Vatican tradition.
- Legendary Church Critic Leonardo Boff Heaps Praise On Pope Francis Worldcrunch. 03/19/15. "Leonardo Boff, a Catholic theologian and key figure of Liberation theology, was condemned for decades by the Vatican. Now, he says, the pope himself is going beyond Liberation teachings."
- Anniversary interview: Pope talks about his election, papacy, future Catholic News Service. 03/13/15.
Marking the second anniversary of his election March 13, Pope Francis spoke about the conclave that elected him in 2013, about his life the last two years and about the future in an interview with Valentina Alazraki of Mexico's Televisa.
The pope even joked about the reputation Argentines have for being proud or haughty. "You know how an Argentine commits suicide?" he asked Alazraki. "He climbs to the top of his ego and jumps!"
And, he said, while he doesn't hate being pope, he is not a fan of the travel involved and he really would like to go out of the Vatican unrecognized, perhaps "to a pizzeria to eat a pizza."
"I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief," he said. "Four or five years. I do not know, or maybe two, three. Well, two have already passed. It's just a vague feeling."
- Pope in Exclusive Interview: 'My Life is in God's Hands' Zenit. 03/11/15:
... the Holy Father decided to observe his second anniversary in the See of Peter with a long and passionate interview with La Cracova News. Some might think that the latter is an important daily or a noted agency of Latin America or, perhaps, a history TV channel. It is difficult to think, instead, that the publication in question is a magazine with the same name as that of a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in Argentina. An extravagant, unusual choice, but certainly consistent with his attention to the peripheries.
- At Lenten penance service, pope announces Holy Year of Mercy Catholic News Service. 03/13/15:
"I frequently have thought about how the church can make more evident its mission to be a witness of mercy," he said during his homily; that is why he decided to call a special Holy Year, which will be celebrated from Dec. 8, 2015, until Nov. 20, 2016.
The biblical theme of the year, he said, will be "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful," an admonition that applies "especially to confessors," the pope said with a smile.
- Pope's 'Mexicanization' comments not meant to offend, Vatican says Catholic News Service. 02/25/15:
The phrase occurred in an email Pope Francis sent his friend Gustavo Vera, whose Fundacion Alameda is dedicated to working with victims of human trafficking and the sex trade. Vera subsequently published the email on his organization's website.
"Hopefully we're in time to avoid the Mexicanization. I was talking to some Mexican bishops and it's a terrible situation," Pope Francis wrote in his email.
Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade told a Feb. 23 news conference that Mexico had made great strides fighting drugs.
- Pope Francis' Surprise Visit to a Rome Shantytown: Behind the Scenes Catholic World Report 02/10/15.
Pope Francis made a surprise stop at a shantytown on his way to celebrate Mass at a Roman parish Feb. 8 – a "secret" plan that only the pontiff knew about and which prompted tears of joy from residents.
"We forgot that we can cry also for joy. We cry for shame and for suffering. Today, we remembered that we can pray for joy. This was the best day of our lives."
- Pope hands out 300 umbrellas to the homeless La Stampa 02/05/15. "First the showers, then a barber service and now a batch of umbrellas. Life seems to have become a little more bearable for homeless in the Vatican and other parts of Rome recently. And it’s all thanks to the Pope and his Almoner, Mgr. Konrad Krajewski, the man in charge of the Holy See’s charity operations."
- Pope Francis reportedly met with a transgender man at the Vatican Washington Post 01/27/15. "There are reports in Spanish publications that Pope Francis has accepted a transgender person into the Vatican — and embraced him — after the man who was once a woman wrote him an anguished letter last year. The Vatican hasn’t corroborated the accounts, but it hasn’t denied them either." See also: Pope Francis's Meeting with Transsexual Gives 'Powerful' Hope to LGBT Catholics People Magazine. 01/27/15.
- Pope urges new cardinals not to let nomination go to their heads Catholic News Service. 01/21/15:
"As good Christians, they will celebrate because Christians rejoice and know how to celebrate," the pope wrote. "Accept it with humility. Only do so in a way that in these celebrations there does not creep in a spirit of worldliness that intoxicates more than grappa on an empty stomach, disorienting and separating one from the cross of Christ."
- Why a ‘Peace Pope’ may (reluctantly) back force against ISIS, by John Allen Jr. Crux 03/21/15.
- Noam Chomsky on Pope Francis TruthDig.com 03/21/15. An interview clip reveals the renowned linguist’s take on the popular Catholic Church leader regarding "liberation theology" in his native Argentina. Although the recently posted video is from a 2013 interview, as the pope continues to weigh in on world issues such as LGBT rights and the death penalty, Chomsky’s comments provide a context for why many in Pope Francis’ home country are reluctant to open their arms to the pontiff.
- Pope Francis enters his Third Year of Scolding Introverts, by Nicholas Frankovich. National Review 03/13/15. "An extrovert, Francis attaches a positive moral value to extroversion — and, as if it followed by some logical necessity, a negative moral value to extroversion’s complement, introversion."
- Pope Francis' First Year, by George Weigel. "Perhaps now, on this first anniversary of his election to the Chair of Peter, it’s time to set aside the narratives and look at what the pope has actually said and done, in order to get a better sense of where he may be leading more than 1.2 billion Catholics and those outside the Catholic Church who look to Francis for leadership and inspiration."
- Where Francis is Leading the Church: 10 Questions for Author Garry Wills. Sean Salai, S.J. America 03/11/15.
- "It’s a Mistake to See Francis as Wanting Kasper’s Proposals" Author Austen Ivereigh weighs in on the Pope and the October Synod. National Catholic Reporter 03/06/15.
- Francis Agonistes, by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig. New Republic 03/01/15. "The Pope is engaged in a struggle to bring the Church into the modern age. And American conservatives are fighting him every step of the way."
- Foundless Francis Fantasies, by Dr. Adam A.J.DeVille. Catholic World Report03/06/15. Young leftist Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig is the latest breathless fan cheering madly at the 2015 running of the Ultramontane Sweeps.
- Cardinal Burke Interview with Rorate Caeli 03/02/15:
I think you have to keep teaching, in your home and in your own personal life, to hold to the truth of the faith as you know it, and also to speak up about it and to make known to the Holy Father your deep concern, that in fact you cannot accept a change in the Church's discipline which would amount to a change in her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Here I think it's very important to address a false dichotomy that's been drawn by some who say, "Oh no, we're just changing disciplines. We're not touching the Church's doctrine." But if you change the Church's discipline with regard to access to Holy Communion by those who are living in adultery, then surely you are changing the Church's doctrine on adultery. You're saying that, in some circumstances, adultery is permissible and even good, if people can live in adultery and still receive the sacraments. That is a very serious matter, and Catholics have to insist that the Church's discipline not be changed in some way which would, in fact, weaken our teaching on one of the most fundamental truths, the truth about marriage and the family.
- The Pope in the Air James V. Schall offers "Some thoughts on remarks made by Francis in interviews while traveling to and from the Philippines in January." Catholic World Report 02/27/15:
As I think there is much of interest in The Pope's various responses, I want to look at what Pope Bergoglio had to say. The subject matter of his answers will leap from one issue to another as befits an open inquiry. His remarks are very human, frequently humorous, often touching, sometimes dubious, always friendly and frank. The man is a distinct personality in his own right. ...
- Pope Francis is a Leftist and Must Be Called Out, by Maureen Mullarkey. The Federalist 01/26/15. "Pope Francis has associated with revolutionaries and ideologies that destroy human life and living conditions. The right response is not silence."
- Who’s Really at War With Pope Francis?, by Andrew M. Haines. Ethika Politika 1/23/15. "The “war with Pope Francis” is not one launched by the GOP, but rather by those whose fascination with intellectual purity remains unchecked. If you’re not dominated by “doctrine,” you’re probably not at war with the pope."