Vatican says Valentine’s Day date with Pope Francis is being moved outdoors due to demand

The much-ballyhooed event was to be held in the Paul VI Audience Hall (seen here) but will now take place outside, in St. Peter’s Square:  In a note, the Pontifical Council for the Family states that there are already more than 17,000 young people signed up for the audience with the Pope. Organizers say the [Read More...]

“What a difference a smile and a shrug make”

From the op-ed pages of The New York Times today, this assessment from Frank Bruni:  On my vague mental list of things that might someday come back into fashion, the papacy was never present. I used to cover it for The Times, from 2002 to 2004, and was convinced then that my beat wasn’t just [Read More...]

American bishop on contraception: “That train left the station long ago”

The German bishops have weighed in on their survey results for the upcoming synod, and now an American bishop offers a snapshot of what some Catholics in his diocese had to say. Bishop Robert Lynch of  St. Petersburg, Florida, reports that nearly 7,000 people responded. Some highlights, from his blog:  Before you start looking at [Read More...]

“This is going to be the most important decision by Pope Francis for the U.S. church…”

From The Wall Street Journal:  The biting winter in Chicago has been especially cold for the Catholic Church, with the revelation on Jan. 21 of embarrassing church documents describing how the archdiocese handled claims of sexual abuse. Yet a fresh chapter in the archdiocese’s history is waiting to begin as Pope Francis considers who will replace Cardinal [Read More...]

Sold: Pope’s Harley sets record at auction

From the CNS blog:  A Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide that Pope Francis put up for auction went for a hefty $326,500 today, demolishing its pre-sale appraisal of $16,000. The record sale was the hit of the day as hundreds of bidders and spectators attending the Paris auction “erupted into applause when the hammer came down,” according to the [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “Detach from the idolatry of money”

He released his message for this year’s World Youth Day, and his main theme is poverty, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” An excerpt from Vatican Radio: The first Beatitude, our theme for the next World Youth Day, says that the poor in spirit are blessed for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. At a time [Read More...]

When Francis met Philomena

Details, from Religion News Service:  Philomena Lee, the real-life Irish woman whose life story is the center of the Oscar-nominated film “Philomena,” met Pope Francis on Wednesday. The film has earned four Oscar nominations, including best picture, and Stephen Frears, the film’s director, expressed hope Pope Francis would watch the feel-good film, which some critics [Read More...]

Well, look who’s in The Guardian!

It’s our own Elizabeth Scalia—turning into an international papal pundit—with some thoughts on Pope Francis, divorce, annulments and the sacraments:  This month…the pope will meet with the eight cardinals who advise him to discuss the pastoral care of the modern family, which has been wracked by divorce, redefined by secular interests and the sexual revolution, [Read More...]

Pope releases first message for Lent, focuses on alleviating poverty

From Catholic News Service:  Courageously follow Jesus in seeking out the poor and sinners, and in making difficult sacrifices in order to help and heal others, Pope Francis said. Christians are called to confront the material, spiritual and moral destitution of “our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to [Read More...]

Queen Elizabeth to visit pope in April

Buckingham Palace confirms:  The Queen is will visit Pope Francis at the Vatican on April 3, Buckingham Palace has confirmed. The Queen will be accompanied by Prince Philip and the Royal visit will be her first overseas trip for three years. The Queen will visit with Pope at the Vatican after meeting the Italian President, [Read More...]