United Nations denounces Vatican on sex abuse, abortion—UPDATED

From Associated Press:  A U.N. human rights committee denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, and urged it to open its files on the pedophiles and the churchmen who concealed their crimes. In a devastating report, the U.N. committee also [Read More...]

In blunt report, German bishops say Catholics reject Church teaching on sex

Details:  Germany’s Catholic bishops, responding to a worldwide Vatican survey, said on Monday that many Church teachings on sexual morality were either unknown to the faithful there or rejected as unrealistic and heartless. They said the survey, drawn up for a synod on possible reforms in October, showed most German Catholics disputed Church bans on [Read More...]

Style and substance: measuring the Francis Effect

As Pope Francis gets ready to create new cardinals—and not long after that, mark his first year anniversary as pope—Huffington Post looks at some of the changes underway in the Church: Perhaps the pope’s most significant decision to date was his choice of 19 Catholic leaders slated to become the newest class of cardinals. Nine out of [Read More...]

“It’s cardinal v. cardinal”…

John Allen (still at NCR for a little while longer) takes a closer look at a story that made a splash late yesterday: A rift has seemingly opened between two cardinals with significant Vatican influence, as the head of the pope’s “G8” council of cardinals has suggested that the Vatican’s doctrinal czar needs to be [Read More...]

Vatican caps cost for sainthood

From Associated Press:  How much does it cost to become a saint? The Vatican said Tuesday it has put a cap of sorts on the often-spiraling budgets for sainthood cases, another nod to Pope Francis’ call for sobriety. Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the Vatican’s saint-making office, announced the change during a meeting Monday of [Read More...]

NY Times: Some in Vatican are “like frustrated teenagers, closing the door and putting their headphones on”

The paper sizes up various headlines of the last few months, and gets some reaction:  To some degree, Francis, 77, is simply bringing in his own team and equipping them to carry out his stated mission of creating a more inclusive and relevant church that is more sensitive to the needs of local parishes and [Read More...]

A beggar before the baby: a preview of the Vatican’s Nativity scene

Unsurprisingly, it has a decidedly Franciscan (as in the pope) approach. From those crackerjack journos at CNS: The Vatican’s Nativity scene will be unveiled tomorrow evening, but Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples and the artists who created the scene gave a sneak preview to journalists today. Well, we were able to see most of it. [Read More...]

Shock: man sets himself on fire in St. Peter’s Square

CNS has the story:  A 51-year-old man was severely injured after he set himself on fire in St. Peter’s Square. The unidentified man doused himself with gasoline he had carried in a bottle and then lit himself aflame at the end of the colonnade near Piazza Pio XII at 8:30 in the morning Dec. 19. [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...]

Pope Francis medallion added to St. Paul Outside-the-Walls

The Vatican’s Facebook page notes: Pope Francis’ medallion portrait has just been added yesterday to the series of mosaic medallions depicting all the Popes throughout history, situated around the transept and nave of the Roman Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls. Read more about the basilica’s history here.  CNS notes:  St. Paul’s is today the only [Read More...]