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...]

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...]

The Francis Effect: lapsed Catholics lured back by new pope

It’s a phenomenon I know a lot of clergy have reported at their parishes: a dramatic uptick in Mass attendance over the last few weeks, and not just because of Easter. Is it the “Francis Effect”? NBC News takes a look: Twenty million Americans consider themselves lapsed Catholics, but Pope Francis is convincing many to [Read More...]

Pope makes personal call to refugee center to plan visit

More and more, it seems, you never know if the next call you get might be from the pope. Details:   A priest in Rome says Pope Francis personally called him to say he will visit the Astalli Center, a local facility run by the Jesuits, that helps thousands of undocumented refugees – many with tragic [Read More...]

Pope Francis on the temptation to gossip: “These everyday things happen to everyone, including me…”

It’s rare to hear this kind of candor from the pulpit—let alone, from a pope. This comes from his daily homily this morning. Details:  In his homily Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel passage that recounts the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus, who did not immediately grasp how a man can be “born again”. Through [Read More...]

Want to attend a papal audience?

If so, just take a couple minutes and watch this video from the good folks at CNS. It captures the atmosphere and spirit of these events.  (This one is from last week.) When I attended one about 10 years ago, a young Jewish woman from Germany was next to me and exclaimed, with wonder and [Read More...]

Pope Francis on the “way of humility”

As has become his custom, the pope celebrated daily Mass for a small group of people at his residence this morning, and Vatican Radio has highlights:  For the Christian, “making progress” means “lowering oneself” on the road of humility in order allow God’s love to emerge and be clearly seen. This was the central focus [Read More...]

A blast from the past: all about Pope Francis’ crozier

The always-reliable Cindy Wooden at CNS has the scoop on the papal accessory a lot of people were talking about—or complaining about (see comments here)— yesterday: At last evening’s Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis carried a crozier that most people associate with Blessed John Paul II. As a matter of [Read More...]

The “villas of misery” that inspired Jorge Bergoglio

Another fascinating dispatch from John Allen, continuing his visit to the pope’s homeland: In Argentina, they say that if you want to understand the priestly soul of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then you have to know the villas miserias, literally “villas of misery,” meaning the slums in Buenos Aires where the poorest of the poor are found. [Read More...]

“See you soon!”

Those are the cheerful, friendly words that Pope Francis used from the loggia of St. John Lateran, closing out an eventful Sunday during which the Holy Father finally took possession of his home basilica in Rome.   (I can’t help but notice that in the picture here, he is using what appears to be the [Read More...]