Pope Francis calls politician, persuades him to break dangerous hunger fast

From The Boston Globe’s John Allen:  As he prepares to declare two revered 20th-century pontiffs as saints, Pope Francis once again proved that he rivals John XXIII and John Paul II in terms of star power by persuading a renowned anti-clerical politician to suspend a hunger and thirst strike that doctors and friends believed was [Read More...]

The Canonization Chronicles: A deacon’s view in Rome this week

Deacon Bill Ditewig, in Rome for the canonizations, found the most important spot in the Eternal City: Bill will be blogging in the days ahead. His first impressions: I’m sitting at the base of one of Bernini’s great columns waiting for a deacon-friend to arrive from the Netherlands. Sitting near me, the next column over, [Read More...]

Tweet of the day—maybe, the week

From The Boss: [Read more...]

“As a Jew, my life…has been improved by the actions of these two individuals”

A different perspective on the impending canonizations, from a Jewish news service, JTA:  Popes John XXIII and John Paul II are being declared saints of the Roman Catholic church on April 27, the day that is also the eve of Yom Hashoah. It’s a coincidence but a notable one. These two post-Holocaust pontiffs revolutionized relations [Read More...]

TIME magazine lists Pope Francis among 100 most influential people, assigns Obama to write about him

And here’s some of what the president had to say about the pontiff: Rare is the leader who makes us want to be better people. Pope Francis is such a leader. His Holiness has moved us with his message of inclusion, especially for the poor, the marginalized and the outcast. But it has been his [Read More...]

Fr. Lombardi responds to reports on pope’s phone call to Argentinian woman

Details:  The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi, has responded to widespread media reports about an Argentinian woman who says that Pope Francis called to tell her she could take Communion, even though her husband is divorced and they have not been married in church. News stories earlier this week ran [Read More...]

Jesuits report big jump in vocation inquiries

From CBS News:  Sean McCreight has a passion for teaching. But the 25-year-old California native is leaving that behind to pursue an even higher calling: becoming a Jesuit priest. “I think to see Pope Francis living an active religious life, that’s another aspect that’s attractive to me,” he said. “His life is so filled with [Read More...]

Words to live by

So I arrived at work to find this banner in the lobby of the Cardinal Cooke Catholic Center in New York: I especially love the quotes at the bottom, which carry a diaconal spirit: “Christ, make me become and remain the servant of your unique power, the servant of your sweet power, the servant of [Read More...]

Report: Pope phoned divorced and remarried woman to say she can receive communion—UPDATED

Details:  Pope Francis has phoned a divorced and remarried Catholic woman in Argentina to tell her that she could “safely receive Communion”,according to an extraordinary report in La Stampa. The woman’s husband, writing on Facebook, claims that the Pope – introducing himself as “Father Bergoglio” – spoke to his wife, who’d been divorced before marrying [Read More...]

Historic: Pope names Coptic priest as personal secretary

This is pretty remarkable, when you think about it, from the National Catholic Register:  Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, a priest of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, has been made second personal secretary to Pope Francis. The position is among the Pope’s closest collaborators, and this marks the first time that an Eastern Catholic priest has [Read More...]