German bishops elect cardinal adviser to Pope Francis as their new head

Details:  Germany’s Catholic bishops elected Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx their new leader on Wednesday, picking a close associate of Pope Francis already working on Vatican reform to also guide them at home. Marx’s election in Germany, one of the richest and most influential national churches in the 1.2-billion-strong Roman Catholic world, enhanced his status among [Read More...]

Hitting home: Pope Francis has an impact on his native Argentina

Inspiring news, from CNS:  Maria Delamonica spoke somewhat sourly of the state of affairs in Argentina, where the economy is teetering and politics are polarized. But her voice brightened when the topic turned to Pope Francis and the changes in the country since he was unexpectedly elected one year ago. “There’s been a revolution,” said [Read More...]

Going my way?

Look who just arrived for his Lenten retreat outside of Rome. From Vatican Radio: Pope Francis is in the hillside town of Ariccia just south of Rome for a week-long Lenten retreat with members of the Curia. The Pope left the Vatican Sunday afternoon by bus – just a few hours after reciting the Angelus [Read More...]

CNN measures “The Francis Effect”

Several people alerted me to this over the weekend. It’s a compelling, balanced look at how the Franciscan pontificate is playing in Boston after one year,  from CNN’s Daniel Burke:  In some ways, the “Pope Francis effect” doesn’t seem very effective at all. Despite the immense popularity the aged Argentine has won since his election [Read More...]

Pope Francis grants interview to Italian newspaper, discusses role of women in Church

From Vatican Radio:  Less than two weeks shy of one year on from his election as bishop of Rome, Pope Francis describes himself as, “A man who laughs, cries, sleeps well and has friends like everyone else.” It is the self-description the Holy Father offered to the editor-in-chief of the Italian daily, Corriere della sera, Ferruccio [Read More...]

VIDEO: Pope blesses woman over the phone

So says this video from Rome Reports, which notes: During the audience with the members of the Italian Federation for Spiritual Exercises, Pope Francis got a unique request. A priest approached him with cell phone in hand, and asked him to bless the 25-year-old woman on the other end of the line. Pope Francis did not hesitate one second and quickly [Read More...]

Pope Francis says Church must accompany, not condemn, those whose marriages fail

Vatican Radio reports on his homily this morning: Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican this morning. In remarks following the readings of the day, the Holy Father focused on the beauty of marriage and warned that the Church must accompany – not condemn – those [Read More...]

What is a bishop? Let Pope Francis tell you.

Part of his definition:  “May bishops be shepherds, close to the people; ‘fathers and brothers, may they be gentle, patient and merciful; may they love poverty, interior poverty, as freedom for the Lord, and exterior poverty, as well as simplicity and a modest lifestyle; may they not have the mindset of “princes”’. Be careful that [Read More...]

Vatican releases pope’s schedule for Lent

And yes, for those who are wondering: the Holy Thursday evening Mass and foot washing will again take place away from St. Peter’s, and will be private. From CNS:  Pope Francis’ calendar of liturgical services for March and April — including Holy Week and Easter — includes the addition of a Lenten “penitential service,” but [Read More...]

Quote of the day: “Lord, grant that we may be coherent”

“If you find yourself in front of – imagine! – in front of an atheist and he tells you he doesn’t believe in God, you can read him a whole library, where it says that God exists and even proving that God exists, and he will not have faith. But if in the presence of [Read More...]