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...]

Curia shakeup: Burke out, Wuerl in

From David Gibson:  After last month’s annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wrote a story handicapping the four American churchman who enjoyed growing influence in the new(ish) pontificate of Pope Francis. They were Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who is one of the eight members of Francis “kitchen cabinet” of advisors on reforming the Roman [Read More...]

How to have a Pope Francis-style Christmas

Some advice from a professor at Santa Clara University: Time Magazine‘s pick of Pope Francis as “Person of the Year” came as no shock to those paying attention to the way the pontiff connects with the masses and inspires people of any faith to focus on what’s important. The pope chose his name from the [Read More...]

Pope shoots down idea of women cardinals: “Women must be valued, not clericalised”

Details from National Catholic Reporter:  Pope Francis has denied rumors that he intends to name women as cardinals in the Catholic church, telling a prominent Italian newspaper he was unsure where the idea, which has circulated in recent weeks, had come from. “I don’t know where any such an idea came from,” the pope told [Read More...]