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...]

Pope Francis’ humility: “It’s an expression of his magisterium…he’s sending a message…”

John Allen, wrapping up his visit to Argentina, draws some interesting conclusions about the new pope from those who know him best: I arrived in Argentina under the assumption that what we’ve seen from Pope Francis so far is mostly a matter of style, and that the real substance of his papacy is yet to [Read More...]

Pope Francis urges CDF to “act decisively” on cases of sexual abuse

Details from CNS: Pope Francis reaffirmed the importance of responding decisively to the problem of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy and called on the Vatican office dealing with suspected cases to continue carrying out its mandate. During an April 5 meeting with Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation [Read More...]

“I always ask God to grant me a meek heart…”

Carol Glatz at CNS has unearthed some fascinating tidbits about the new pontiff, culled from a book of interviews published in Argentina three years ago. (It’s not yet available in English.) To wit: – Favorite dance style: tango, which he said he loves “very much. It’s something that comes from within.” He said he danced [Read More...]

“Women have a special role in opening doors to the Lord”: Pope Francis speaks on women in the Church

Text from the Vatican:  Another element. In the professions of faith of the New Testament, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles, but not the women. This is because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses. In the Gospels, however, women [Read More...]

Why doesn’t the pope sing? Here’s an answer.

From CNS:  Previously, [Vatican spokesman] Father [Federico] Lombardi dispelled rumors that the 76-year-old pope’s singing capacity or current state of health was impaired by an operation he had when he was 21 in which the upper half of his right lung was removed after cysts caused a severe lung infection. More recently, Father Lombardi said [Read More...]

A papal first: Pope Francis tours area near St. Peter’s tomb

Details:  Pope Francis became the first pope to tour the excavated necropolis where St. Peter is buried, said Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. With explanations from the two directors of the necropolis, the pope walked down the central path between the mostly second-century burial chambers April 1, then went up a slight incline toward [Read More...]

Who will be Francis’ #2?

That’s the question on the lips of a lot of Vatican-watchers, including Francis X. Rocca at Catholic News Service:  As he moves beyond words and gestures to the stage of substantive actions, no decision that Pope Francis makes will be of greater consequence for reform of the church’s bureaucracy than his choice of a secretary [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “Without grace, we can do nothing!”

Pope Francis joined pilgrims this morning to pray the Regina Coeli in St. Peter’s Square.  The Vatican’s translation is below. +++ Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter to you all! Thank you for coming today, in such large numbers, to share the joy of Easter, the central mystery of our faith. Let us pray that [Read More...]