- Pope Francis Validates SSPX Confessions for Year of Mercy National Catholic Register 09/02/15. "Pope Francis has declared that priests of the Society of St. Pius X will be able to hear the confessions of Catholics — with no doubt as to their validity — during the upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, giving many Catholics hope that full reconciliation is closer than ever."
- Society of St. Pius X thanks Pope for his “fatherly gesture" La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 09/02/15.
- "Pope did not encourage gender theory" La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 08/28/15. "The Vatican's spokesman has issued a statement denying the misleading use of a routine letter sent by the Secretariat of State to the author of a children’s book series."
- Pope tells inmates of the harshest prison: "I am a sinner like you" La Stampa "Vatican Insider". 07/11/15:
Francis said he did not want to leave the country before paying a visit to what is considered one of Latin America’s most dangerous prisons. The rehabilitation facility has been run by the inmates themselves since 1989 and family members can come and go as they please. But this also means weapons and drugs can enter and leave the premises freely.
There is “something absolutely certain about my own life,” Francis told prisoners. “The man standing before you is a man who has experienced forgiveness. A man who was, and is, saved from his many sins.”
- Francis: A definitive “yes” to Jewish roots of Christianity, an irrevocable “no” to anti-Semitism La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 07/07/15.
- On economic battleground, the pope finds 'radical' ally, by John Thavis. 06/29/15. Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein [was] a featured speaker at a Vatican conference this week to follow up on Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment.
- Francis commemorates the reformer Jan Hus on the 600th anniversary of his death Vatican Information Service. 06/15/15:
This morning Pope Francis received in audience the representatives of the Czech Hussite Church and the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, in Rome to celebrate a liturgy of reconciliation on the occasion of the 600 th anniversary of the reformer Jan Hus, distinguished preacher and rector of the University of Prague, whose execution was lamented by St. John Paul II in 1999, who included him among the reformers of the Church.
- Pope Francis to Open 30-bed Homeless Shelter Near Vatican City America 06/11/15.
- Pope Francis extends agenda of change to Vatican diplomacy Reuters. 05/17/15. "This past week, his office announced the first formal accord between the Vatican and the State of Palestine -- a treaty that gives legal weight to the Holy See's longstanding recognition of de-facto Palestinian statehood despite clear Israeli annoyance."
- Pope Francis: Get ready to be martyrs – even in the little things. Catholic News Agency. 05/11/15:
“A Christian who does not take the dimension of martyrdom seriously in life does not understand the road that Jesus has indicated,” the Pope said May 11, according to Vatican Radio's translation.
Addressing the congregation at the Santa Marta residence chapel, Pope Francis said the road indicated by Jesus invites “us to bear witness every day, defending the rights of others; defending our children; mothers and fathers who defend their family; so many sick people who bear witness and suffer for the love of Jesus.”
He encouraged Christians to turn to the Holy Spirit to remind them of Jesus' words, and guide them in preparing to be witnesses “with small every day martyrdoms, or with a great martyrdom, according to God’s will.”
- The pope called the Armenian slaughter a genocide, and Turkey’s not happy Crux News. 04/12/15. "hile honoring the memory of Armenian martyrs Sunday, Pope Francis said they had been killed “in the first genocide of the 20th century,” prompting Turkey to recall its Vatican ambassador in protest."
- Pope Francis 'refuses' gay French ambassador The Telegraph UK. 04/10/15. "Pope Francis has reportedly barred the nomination of a close aide of President Francois Hollande as new French ambassador to the Vatican because he is gay."
- Pope Francis' Popularity Dives in United States, Gallup Poll Finds. NBC News 07/22/15. "The Gallup survey found 59 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the pontiff, down from 76 percent a year ago. The plunge was greatest among those who identify as conservatives — from 72 percent a year ago to 45 percent now."
- On Abuse, Dark Clouds Gather Over Francis, by Rod Dreher. 03/28/15. The American Conservative 03/28/15. "Several members of Pope Francis’ sex abuse advisory board are expressing concern and incredulity over his decision to appoint a Chilean bishop to a diocese despite allegations that he covered up for Chile’s most notorious pedophile."
- Pope Francis and Zero Tolerance, by William Doino, Jr. First Things 04/06/15:
... [Chilean Bishop Juan] Barros was a long-time colleague and supporter of Rev. Fernando Karadima, a notorious abuser in Chile. After Karadima was first accused of sexual abuse, Barros publicly defended his friend and mentor, and reportedly “tried to discredit the victims—even after the Vatican ruled against him [Karadima]” in 2011. The Chilean Bishops Conference subsequently ordered Barros, and three other bishops who had defended Karadima, to apologize.
Once Karadima’s guilt was established, Barros denied any knowledge or involvement in the abuse, and continues to do so.
- Pope Francis and Zero Tolerance, by William Doino, Jr. First Things 04/06/15:
- Pope Francis' visit to North America "one of the more sensitive...of the pontificate", by John Paul Shimek. Catholic World Report (Interview with Andrea Tornielli, a senior member of the Vatican press corps).
- Will the Pope Change the Vatican? Or Will the Vatican Change the Pope?, by Robert Draper. National Geographic August 2015.
... Lombardi had served as the spokesman for Benedict, formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger, a man of Germanic precision. After meeting with a world leader, the former pope would emerge and rattle off an incisive summation, Lombardi tells me, with palpable wistfulness: "It was incredible. Benedict was so clear. He would say, ‘We have spoken about these things, I agree with these points, I would argue against these other points, the objective of our next meeting will be this’—two minutes and I’m totally clear about what the contents were. With Francis—‘This is a wise man; he has had these interesting experiences.’"
Chuckling somewhat helplessly, Lombardi adds, "Diplomacy for Francis is not so much about strategy but instead, ‘I have met this person, we now have a personal relation, let us now do good for the people and for the church.’"
- This Pope Does Not “Do” Doctrine, by William Oddie. Crisis 08/28/15.
- Doctrine and pastoral care go hand-in-hand, Pope Francis reminds theologians Catholic News Agency. 09/04/15.
- Pope Francis Against the World, by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig. The New Republic 07/29/15:
The list of disappointments with Francis seems to lengthen every day, from all quarters. He is too ardently opposed to abortion. He has reaffirmed the Church’s longstanding position on the all-male priesthood. He is not fond of free market capitalism or birth control, though both do, by various accounts, reduce poverty. He is too cold-hearted toward the rich. He has failed to make the sacrament of marriage available to gay and lesbian Catholics who can now legally marry in all 50 states. And Laudato Si, Francis’ newly released encyclical on ecology and the environment? Boring, unclear, and weak. Pope Francis can’t win.
- Apocalyptic and Utopian: On Pope Francis' Bolivian Manifesto, by James V. Schall, S.J. Catholic World Report 07/24/15:
Whatever else might be said of other papal address in Bolivia, this one at Santa Cruz was pure Bergoglio. It contains his vision of the world and what is wrong with it. He is telling us—not asking our opinions. He has already made his conclusions. It is what I would call a very apocalyptic and utopian address. It describes both how terrible things are and how idyllic they can be. There is little room for a common sense middle, for a view that the world might just go on its own way as it has for millennia. It was a “second commandment” (“love thy neighbor”) and not a “first commandment” (“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”) exhortation. It was closer to Joachim of Fiora than to Augustine of Hippo.
As far as I could judge, we find, in this particular address, almost no trace of traditional Christian concerns with personal virtue, salvation, sin, sacrifice, long-suffering, repentance, eternal life, or an abiding vale of tears. Sins and evils are transformed into social or ecological issues that require political and structural remedies. Problems are at the same time said to be “global” and “individual”. Pope Francis urges individual action and global refashioning. The evil is caused by capitalism in the form of money and greed. The free market capitalism, severely limited by the state, that actually exists has little hearing. Time cited a comment that such moderate capitalism was the only way that could really achieve what the Pope wanted for the poor before him. Thus the central questions that the Pope brings up in this address is: “What works? What does not work for the end envisioned?” This end that Pope Francis seems to envision is nothing less than a world transformation of mankind to save itself, soon—indeed, now!
- Pope Francis’ new clothes: Why his progressive image is white smoke and mirrors, by Anna March. Salon 06/22/15. "Don't buy his populist rhetoric. The new pope is every bit the sexist homophobe as his predecessors." [Gee ... Disappointed much? - Editor]
- Cardinal Kasper Media's Theologian, NOT The Pope's, by William Schmitz. First Things 04/12/15:
Kasper is much more the media's theologian than he is the pope's. Francis did indeed endorse Kasper's book on mercy and give him a prominent role in the Synod on the Family, but the media has gone much further in promoting the Cardinal's person and proposals. In recent days, the pope has shown some signs of turning against his ideas—calling Kasper's hopes "overblown expectations."
- Pope Francis declares a non-Catholic "Doctor of the Universal Church", by Jeff Cullbreath. New Sherwood "on February 23, it was reported that Pope Francis formally declared Gregory of Narek to be a Doctor of the Universal Church. Gregory of Narek was an Armenian priest, monk, and poet who is greatly revered by Armenians but virtually unknown otherwise."