Germany to unveil portrait of Benedict to mark his birthday

The pope emeritus turns 86 today. From Vatican Radio:  The German Embassy to the Holy See will be hosting a party which will unveil a new portrait of the former pontiff painted by German artist Michael Triegel, who is known as “Papstmaler”, or “Pope Painter”. The painting is on permanent loan to the Embassy. A [Read More...]

Pope Francis: Patheos shill?!

Elizabeth Scalia notes the pope tweeted a little something yesterday that sounds uncannily like the theme from her new book, “Strange Gods.” But it turns out, he was just getting warmed up. In his homily at St. Paul’s yesterday, the Holy Father elaborated: We have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols [Read More...]

Why O’Malley?

It’s a question a few people are asking, after Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley became the lone U.S. prelate appointed to Pope Francis’ new advisory panel.  Rocco has some very good answers, including one many observers have missed: the two men just like each other. Snip:   Asked the day after the election whether it’d be [Read More...]

Pope: the Christian life is like soccer

It came up yesterday during his homily (which, appropriately, included a mention of the first deacons): To solve the problems of life it is necessary to look reality in the face, ready like the goalkeeper of a football team to grab the ball whatever side it comes from. And without giving in to fear or [Read More...]

Our surprising pope continues to surprise

This story is rather loosely sourced—there are versions of it here and here—but it’s too good to pass up: A few days ago, at dawn, the time the Pope wakes up, he came out to the corridor, and he found in front of his door the sentry, a Swiss Guard standing with his halberd at [Read More...]

“Bombshell”: pope names advisors to reform Vatican bureaucracy—UPDATED

From the Associated Press:  Pope Francis marked his first month as pope on Saturday by naming nine high-ranking prelates from around the globe to a permanent advisory group to help him run the Catholic Church and study a reform of the Vatican bureaucracy — a bombshell announcement that indicates he intends a major shift in [Read More...]

15 days in Rome: how Jorge Bergoglio became pope

The Wall Street Journal has just published an e-book on the papal election, and there’s a fascinating excerpt in today’s paper: On March 5, after a long day of speeches at the Congregation, a group of cardinals arrived at the Pontifical North American College under the cover of night and were directed through long quiet [Read More...]

Cardinal Kasper: Pope is launching a “new phase” of Vatican II

John  Thavis takes note:  Cardinal Walter Kasper has an important piece in today’s Osservatore Romano, saying that Pope Francis, with his focus on poverty and social justice issues, has launched a new phase of implementation of the Second Vatican Council. Cardinal Kasper makes a strong argument that the council’s journey of renewal is not over and [Read More...]

Pope Francis and the reform of the laity

Some insight into the pope’s mindset from Fr. Roger Landry in the National Catholic Register:  The reform of the Church already evident in the words and witness of Pope Francis may be starting, but it won’t be stopping at the revamping of the Vatican Curia and the renewal of the clergy. It also will involve [Read More...]

Just another Wednesday at the Vatican

Gathering for daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta with, among others, employees of the Fabric of St. Peter, which deals with the maintenance and running of the Basilica. Photo: L’Osservatore Romano. [Read more...]