“The soul of this papacy is up for grabs…”

Passionate and provocative words from Thomas Peters, who throws down the gauntlet: If your love for the Extraordinary Form leads you to criticize your fellow Catholics who prefer the Novus Ordo instead of leading you to a more perfect life of charity, you’re doing it wrong.  If you’ve spent more time reading articles claiming that [Read More...]

CNN poll: 88% approval rating for pope in US

Details from Daniel Burke at CNN:  As Pope Francis prepares to celebrate his first Christmas at the Vatican, Americans’ opinions of the pontiff appear to be as high as the dome on St. Peter’s Basilica, according to a new survey. A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday found that 88% of American Catholics approve of how [Read More...]

Just a couple of popes, you know, hanging out…

The two living Catholics who carry the title “Pope” have swapped Christmas greetings. Details:  Pope Francis has visited his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, to exchange Christmas greetings. Photos released by the Vatican newspaper show the two men, dressed in identical white robes save for Francis’ cape, chatting in a sitting room inside Benedict’s retirement [Read More...]

Catholics in the Age of Francis

A snapshot of reactions and insights from a variety of people in The Boston Globe:  After one of the worst decades in Roman Catholic church history, marked by a devastating sexual abuse scandal, internecine turf battles at the Vatican, and a widening chasm between the hierarchy and the people, Pope Francis is changing the conversation [Read More...]

Pope’s Christmas message to Curia: don’t be mediocre

From CNN:  Pope Francis put the ideals of professionalism, service and holiness to the fore Saturday in his first Christmas message to the Curia, the Roman Catholic Church’s governing body. The Roman Curia, which includes Vatican staff, priests and cardinals, gathered in the ornate Clementine Hall. The pope praised those who have worked in the [Read More...]

Gänswein: no women deacons

From the blog PrayTell:  Austrian Religion.orf, citing the January edition of Cicero, quotes Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the papal household, as saying that Pope Francis will certainly not admit women to the diaconate. He considers this possibility “excluded.” The longtime secretary of Pope Benedict XVI sharply criticized “many powerful interests” that wish usurp the new pope for [Read More...]

“He wants pastors”: Pope Francis mandates members of Curia to hear confessions

Details:  As part of Pope Francis’ pastoral reforms, all 44 senior members of the Roman Curia, or governing body, must take turns hearing confession at a church near the Vatican. There is even speculation that Francis himself could hear confessions at the Church of the Santo Spirito in Sassia, just outside the Vatican walls, where [Read More...]

“It’s worthwhile being a vagrant because you get to meet the pope!”

A delightful detail from the breakfast meeting Pope Francis had today with three homeless men (and a dog), from CNS: As part of a low-key celebration of his 77th birthday, Pope Francis had breakfast with three people who live on the streets near the Vatican. A small dog belonging to one of the homeless men [Read More...]

Happy birthday, dear Pope Francis, happy birthday to you…

Check out this lovely video from Vatican television, in honor of the pontiff’s 77th birthday. [Read more...]

Cover boy: Pope Francis on the cover of The New Yorker

First TIME, now this.  I can’t help but smile. From James Carroll’s profile of the pope in the magazine: The press is obsessed with him. Time recently named him Person of the Year. The Huffington Post reported the speculation that Francis, garbed as a lowly priest, steals out of the Vatican at night to care for Rome’s homeless. [Read More...]