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...]

John Allen: Benedict moves to quash anti-Francis backlash

Looking at some of the retired pope’s recent comments and actions, The Boston Globe’s John Allen connects the dots: It’s hard to imagine there isn’t some connection between the former pope’s willingness to step back into the public eye, and the tendency in some traditionalist circles towards nostalgia for Benedict as an expression of misgivings [Read More...]

I just love this

What a picture. The caption, via Zenit: Pope Francis greets Lorenzo, a young boy with type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA2) during today’s General Audience. [Read more...]

“The real challenge for Francis is to go beyond rhetoric…”

There’s been some discussion around the blogosphere about last night’s “Frontline” on “Secrets of the Vatican.”  Most comments have been harshly critical. Yesterday, for example, the USCCB mailed out an “advisory” review, which noted: The historic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the headline-grabbing start of his successor’s ministry are certainly events worthy of close [Read More...]

In letter, Benedict describes rumors surrounding his resignation “absurd”

From Reuters:  Former Pope Benedict, in one of the few times he has broken his silence since stepping down nearly a year ago, has branded as “absurd” fresh media speculation that he was forced to quit. Church law says a pope’s resignation is valid only if he takes the decision in full freedom and without [Read More...]