“The real challenge for Francis is to go beyond rhetoric…”

There’s been some discussion around the blogosphere about last night’s “Frontline” on “Secrets of the Vatican.”  Most comments have been harshly critical. Yesterday, for example, the USCCB mailed out an “advisory” review, which noted: The historic resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the headline-grabbing start of his successor’s ministry are certainly events worthy of close [Read More...]

Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Pell to head new Vatican financial office, “Secretariat for the Economy”

Details from National Catholic Reporter:  Pope Francis has approved a set of sweeping moves to reorganize the financial and administrative structures of the Catholic church’s central bureaucracy, creating a new central office with wide control particularly of economic issues, the Vatican announced Monday. Sydney Cardinal George Pell will head the new office, known as the [Read More...]

Pope Francis warns cardinals against becoming “a royal court,” calls them to conversion

From RNS:  In a forceful message to more than 100 scarlet-clad cardinals arrayed before him, Pope Francis on Sunday (Feb. 23) warned them that they are “not a royal court” and told them to avoid “habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism and preferences.” Francis has repeatedly called on [Read More...]

Decision time at the Vatican?

Though there are several important meetings unfolding this week, Vatican watchers may have to keep watch a while longer, says John Thavis:   Pope Francis has named several advisory bodies, in addition to existing ones, to help him in the reform process. Their tasks sometimes overlap, and that complicates things. This week and next week, for [Read More...]

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...]