NY Times: “Bolder vision” of Vatican diplomacy under Francis

From Friday’s paper: Perhaps the timing was purely coincidental. But a day after he was credited with helping to broker thehistoric diplomatic breakthrough betweenCuba and the United States, Pope Francisbegan his Thursday morning by greeting a new crop of envoys to the Vatican, and offering some advice. “The work of an ambassador lies in small steps, small things, but [Read More...]

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Cancer patient gets her wish granted, meets Pope Francis

From CBS News:  Since birth, they’ve called her “one tough cookie.” Now, Gracie West is living up to that nickname as she fights cancer. She’s had nine rounds of chemotherapy, and when asked if she could have one wish, she said she wanted to meet the pope, CBS News’ Allen Pizzey reports. “My motto is, [Read More...]

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How Pope Francis helped make history with Cuba

From The Boston Globe: The restoration of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, as well as a prisoner exchange that secured the release of American Alan Gross, was brokered, in part, by the Holy See. A high-ranking Vatican official confirmed Wednesday that the Obama administration and the Vatican have been working together [Read More...]

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Thousands celebrate pope’s birthday at Vatican with flash mob tango

Well, how else would you celebrate? See for yourself below. Details from Carol Glatz at CNS:   Pope Francis always asks for prayers, especially for his birthday, but this year he also got some tango. Thousands of tango dancers, mostly from Italy, flocked to St. Peter’s Square to wave their white scarves “A Tango for Pope [Read More...]

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Is the pope trying to tell us something?

With all the debate raging in the Catholic world about admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to communion, I couldn’t help but think Pope Francis was trying to telegraph a message in his homily Monday:  In his December 15 homily at Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis decried the rigidity and lack of principle of the chief priests in [Read More...]

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The pope offers a prayer tool: your hand

From Vatican Insider:  “When I pray God breathes in me.” This is the opening phrase of the 40-page prayer book signed by Francis and handed out to faithful present in St. Peter’s Square for today’s Angelus and the traditional “Bambinelli Blessing”. The front cover of the booklet published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Vatican publishing house [Read More...]

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Another papal first: Pope has private audience with Salvation Army general

Did he bring his red bucket? Details from Vatican Radio: In a first private audience in the Vatican with a Salvation Army general on Friday, Pope Francis said theological differences do not impede the witness of a shared love of God and neighbour. He also spoke of his first encounter, as a 4-year old, with [Read More...]

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Arf: pope’s comment about “creatures in heaven” stirs debate

Turns out, he’s not the first modern pope to hint at a heavenly kingdom that is also an animal kingdom. From The New York Times:  Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal-rights activists and vegans. Trying to console [Read More...]

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Pew: Pope Francis enjoys broad support, positive image across much of the world

Some highlights of a new survey:  Pope Francis, leader of the world’s nearly 1.1 billion Catholics, enjoys broad support across much of the world, according to a new survey report by the Pew Research Center. A median of 60% across 43 nations have a favorable view of the pontiff. Only 11% see the pope unfavorably, [Read More...]

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Here come more cardinals: Vatican announces consistory for February

From Vatican Radio:  The seventh meeting of the “C9” Council of nine Cardinals tasked with reforming the Vatican curia concludes Thursday.  The director of the Vatican press office , Father Federico Lombardi sj, briefed journalists about what the Cardinals have achieved in their latest meeting. He also announced that a consistory will be held in [Read More...]

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