Pope Francis abolishes title of “monsignor” for those under age 65

That sound you hear is heads exploding in rectories. From Vatican Insider:  In a new move aimed at reforming the clergy and eliminating careerism in the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has abolished the conferral of the Pontifical Honor of ‘Monsignor’ on secular priests under the age of 65. Henceforth, the only Pontifical Honor that will [Read More...]

Carmelite nuns get voice mail message from Pope Francis

Details from HuffPo:  On New Year’s Eve at 11:45 am, Pope Francis called up the small community of the Carmelite nuns of Luccena in Cordoba, Spain, but they didn’t pick up the phone. Their once-large community has now dwindled to a mere five nuns, three of which are from Argentina, which is also the pope’s home country. [Read More...]

Pope Francis to religious: “Wake up the world!”

The Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta’ Cattolica offers an account of Pope Francis’s recent meeting with 120 superiors general of men’s religious orders in late November. CNS has highlights:  While you can access the full 17-page article in English, Spanish or Italian at the journal’s website, here is a sampling of some of our favorite excerpts (CNS translations of [Read More...]

Pope Francis, Superstar: crowds to Vatican increase 300%

The Rome tourist industry be pleased. From the BBC:  Pope Francis drew more than 6.6 million people to his audiences, Masses and other events in Vatican City during his first year in office, figures show. The statistics cover the period from the Argentinean’s election in March to the end of 2013, the Vatican said. His [Read More...]

A rabbi on Pope Francis: “All of us who do religious work can learn from his example”

From Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie:  The Pope is not just a leader; he is a religious leader who, precisely because of his religious vitality, has succeeded in touching human hearts. The Pope Francis phenomenon is a reminder, yet again, that spirituality and not secularity is the driving force of modern life; it is his spiritual [Read More...]

The Pope Francis list of new year’s resolutions

Some inspiration to kick off 2014, from a Filipino writer who distills key teachings of the pope down to 10 resolutions that all of us should try to keep:  He preaches against gossip, reminds us to finish our meals, and even tells us not to fear marriage. Described as the “world’s parish priest,” Pope Francis [Read More...]

Esquire names Pope Francis “Best Dressed Man of the Year”

From HuffPo:  Pope Francis has picked up yet another year-end honor which may be his most surprising yet! Esquire named him “The Best Dressed Man of 2013,” chiefly for the symbolism of his papal style choices. Pope Francis has largely avoided splendor, and is most commonly seen in a plain white robe and skullcap. He chose the simplest papal [Read More...]

“A very Franciscan Christmas…”

Some intriguing insight on Pope Francis and his personal imprint on Christmas, from the always-worthwhile John Allen in NCR:  In his brief speech to the Roman Curia on Dec. 21, Francis stressed the importance of a spirit of service in the Vatican, saying that without it, the place becomes no more than a “ponderous bureaucratic [Read More...]

Report: Pope Francis to invite people to daily Mass next year

Details:  From the new year a handful of Romans will be invited to celebrate morning mass with the pope inside the Vatican. The 77-year-old pontiff is well-known for embracing the young, old and disabled when they gather in St Peter’s Square, or picking up the phone to make personal calls to individuals or families in [Read More...]

NY Times: Pope “off script”

Well, that’s one way to put it. Their headline: Pope, Off Script, Nods to Atheists In Holiday Call For World Peace. The story: Pope Francis used the first Christmas address of his papacy on Wednesday to make a broad call for global peace and an end to violence in Syria and parts of Africa, urging [Read More...]


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