Confirmed: Pope Francis announces trip to U.S. next year

Details:  Pope Francis plans to visit Philadelphia in 2015, the pontiff announced today – his first trip to the United States as pope. The Pope made the announcement when he addressed participants at a Vatican conference on traditional marriage. The trip, expected for late September, would coincide with the World Meeting of Families organized by the [Read More...]

Forbes on Pope Francis: “When it comes to innovation this guy is pretty epic”

The magazine also makes note of two awards the pontiff received last spring, including the “Adam Smith Prize” from the Harvard Business Review and “Book of the Year” from Forbes for his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel).  Really?? Who knew??  When was the last time a religious book took top honors from an American [Read More...]

Patti Smith sings “O Holy Night”

Here’s an early taste of Christmas for you. A few eyebrows were raised yesterday when it was announced that punk icon Patti Smith would be singing at the annual Vatican Christmas concert. But it turns out this isn’t her first appearance there. She sang last year. Among other things, she offered her interpretation of “O [Read More...]

“If I were The Sovereign Order of Malta, I’d be miffed…”

With those words, blogger Elizabeth Westhoff offers some insight into the ancient order to which Cardinal Raymond Burke has been assigned: In the more anxious circles of the Catholic Church, the transfer is being examined and dissected in any number of ways. In the more uncharitable circles of the Church, the transfer is being celebrated [Read More...]

Pope celebrates Mass for children at Santa Marta

Details from Vatican Radio:  Actions speak louder than words, particularly in transmitting the faith to children and young people today, the so-called ‘digital natives’. If we want to help them experience “truth and love” then we adults must lead by example, said Pope Francis at morning Mass. It was a very special celebration in the [Read More...]

Pope commissions showers for the homeless under the colonnades at St. Peter’s

Remarkable:  “Father, I can’t go to the restaurant with you because I smell.” Franco is a homeless man from Sardinia, he has a bristly grey beard and weather-beaten skin. At the beginning of October, he was the one who explained to a bishop, who invited him to dinner to celebrate his birthday, what the biggest [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “The Kingdom of God is close to us everyday”

From his homily this morning: In the silence of a home, where there may only be 50 cents left until the end of the month, but where there is always prayer, care for children and grandparents, there is the Kingdom of God. Far from the noise of the crowd, because the Kingdom of God “does [Read More...]

Is the pope purging conservatives?

Short answer: no. Still, after the recent news about Cardinal Burke, some think so. But Fr. Dwight Longenecker offers some helpful context: This Vatican re-shuffle had been on the cards for months. It may be part of a larger, intentional change of direction on the part of the pontiff, as Fr. Mark Drew observes in an excellent article here at [Read More...]

Pope urges all the ordained to serve with humility

And—big headline here—he mentioned deacons. From Vatican Radio:  Pope Francis today urged bishops, priests and deacons always to be humble and to recognize that their ministry is an unmerited gift of God’s mercy. Speaking at the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said the Lord continues to shepherd his flock with love through the [Read More...]

NY Times: “Change is rattling the hierarchy” under Francis

Fresh from the USCCB gathering in Baltimore: Change is rattling the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, and the bishops here say they now feel it even if they do not yet understand where Pope Francis is leading them. The change is reflected not only in appointments — with the Chicago seat the main indicator [Read More...]