It isn’t just the cardinals who are sworn to secrecy

This video from Rome Reports shows some other staffers in the Vatican taking oaths of secrecy this morning, and explains who they are and what their role will be in the days to come. [Read more…]

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What do Muslims want in the next pope?

An interesting perspective, from Religion News Service:  Together, Islam and Catholicism represent about 40 percent of the world’s population, so the estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world have more than a passing interest in the new pope who will shepherd the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Too often, relations between the two groups have been [Read More…]

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Sister act: nun charged with voter fraud

It happened during the presidential election last fall: An Ohio nun was charged with voter fraud for casting an absentee ballot in the 2012 presidential election that belonging to a fellow sister who had died, authorities have said. Sister Marguerite Kloos, 54, allegedly voted both under her own name and under the name of Sister [Read More…]

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Elizabeth Scalia on “The Intrinsic Disorder of Me”

This morning, she offers an eye-opening look at a phrase that has more applications than most of us realize: I am “intrinsically disordered” when it comes to food, and it doesn’t really matter how I became so. Whether it is due to a genetic pre-disposition, or a habit of psychological buffering—or some combination of nature [Read More…]

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Conclave: it’s not just an election, it’s liturgy, “a prayer from beginning to end”

As we prepare for history to be made, some insight from the Catholic Register in Canada:  In all the talk of politics and front-runners and leaks to the Italian newspapers, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that a papal conclave is a liturgy — just like a baptism or a wedding in [Read More…]

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How the media transformed the papacy

Courtesy Sister Mary Ann Walsh, blogging from Rome for the USCCB: Jesuit Father Norman Tanner was our briefer today and was quite interesting. Father Tanner, a professor of church history at the Gregorian University, said that media played the most important role in redefining the modern papacy. He gave the example of Pope Pius IX [Read More…]

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Married priests: “Why such aversion?”

An alert reader sent this my way: another interesting voice, from Sean Connelly, in the debate over a celibate priesthood: It was recently my distinct displeasure to be roped into a debate about whether, under Canon Law, married deacons in the Latin Rite have an obligation to observe “perfect and perpetual continence.” Those arguing in favour [Read More…]

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The case for a Dolan papacy: “Evangelization on steroids”

John Allen today looks at three American cardinals who are getting some papal buzz, and what he says about New York’s Timothy Dolan is especially entertaining: What’s the case for Dolan? First, he’s evangelization on steroids. He’s easily the most charismatic, media savvy and engaging personality among the 115 cardinals who file into the Sistine [Read More…]

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French cardinal: no consensus candidate yet

From John Allen:  Journalists are often derided as a fairly un-churched bunch, but yesterday the 5,000-plus reporters covering the conclave swelled the churches of Rome to catch a glimpse of cardinals saying Mass, hoping to pick up some hint of what to expect when things get underway tomorrow. On that front, probably the most interesting [Read More…]

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Brush up your Latin: the first hint at who is the new pope

From Catholic News Service blog:  The first clue to the identity of the new pope will be the announcement of his first name — in Latin, in the accusative case. If he is not the one chosen, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the top-ranked cardinal-deacon, will say, in Latin, “I announce to you a great joy. [Read More…]

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The Donilon brothers: one’s boss is the President, the other’s may be the next pope

Here’s something you don’t hear about every day. From the Washington Post:  Shortly after arriving in Rome with his boss, dark horse papal contender Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Terrence Donilon received an e-mail. It was from his brother Tom, the national security adviser to President Obama. “How’s it going?” the top White House official asked. The answer is: [Read More…]

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Notre Dame announces winner of Laetare Medal

Details:  Sr. Susanne Gallagher, Sr. Mary Therese Harrington and Rev. James H. McCarthy, founders of the Special Religious Education Development Network (SPRED), will receive the 2013 Laetare Medal during the Commencement ceremony May 19. The Medal, established at Notre Dame in 1883, is the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics. It is awarded annually [Read More…]

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Come and see: seminarians doing the “Harlem Shake”

Hot on the heels of this video of nuns getting into the act, along comes the video below of seminarians. A reader wrote: Thought you would like to see this video from Saint John Vianney College Seminary [in Miami, FL].  The Minor Seminarians of the Province of Florida produced this a couple of weeks ago. [Read More…]

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What can a pope change? Not as much as some people think.—UPDATED

Ann Rodgers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gives some welcome perspective on what is unfolding in Rome this week: As the world awaits a new pope, polls are taken, essays written and hopes expressed for what he might change. Priestly celibacy? Contraception? The working language of the Vatican Press Office? The latter would be most feasible, [Read More…]

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Next pope? Leading Italian paper favors Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley

And John Allen explains why: If the readers of Italy’s paper of record, Corriere della Sera, had any say in the matter, the choice for the next pope would be clear: Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston. Corriere today asked eight contributors, including their own Vatican beat writers as well as noted Vatican-watchers, to name their top three [Read More…]

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Check out this tour of the Casa Santa Marta, where the cardinals will be staying

Want a peek at where the electors will be staying?  How about a glimpse inside the apartment of the next pope? Here’s an intriguing video of the place the cardinals will be calling home next week, courtesy Rome Reports. [Read more…]

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Welcome to the first “virtual conclave”

Technology is having a dramatic impact in how the faithful follow the coming election for pope, as AP notes:  A pastor in Ontario wondered about behind-the-scenes politicking ahead of the conclave to elect the next pope. He could have read news reports or listened to briefings by the Vatican spokesman. Instead, he asked a cardinal. [Read More…]

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Are women already running the Church?

An interesting perspective from writer Ashley McGuire in the Washington Post:  With the Catholic Church at the forefront of international news given recent events, many are using the opportunity to frame the Vatican and the Catholic Church more broadly as a place that excludes women. The next pope will be a man elected by 115 men, [Read More…]

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