Is the world making an idol of Pope Francis?

That’s the provocative question our own Elizabeth Scalia is asking in today’s Washington Post:  It has only been six months since Jorge Mario Bergoglio came to the world with a new name, but already MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, channeling his inner tween, has gushed, “is it too early to say Francis is the best pope ever?” His effusion [Read More...]

“With fraternal good wishes, Francis”

That’s how the Holy Father has signed the now-famous letter to an atheist.  In an unusual move, the Vatican has published the entire text of the letter, in English, on its website. Check it out.   [Read more...]

Forbes calls pope a “social media phenomenon”

From columnist Tom Watson:  Pope Francis – or @pontifex to his Twitter followers – has quickly become a social media phenomenon, adding five million followers since his installation six months ago. He is gaining more than 4,000 followers a day and knocking at the door of three million followers for his English language feed alone. He’s got more [Read More...]

Report: pope stops naming monsignors

 Details:  Pope Francis has stopped granting priests the honorary title of “monsignor” in advance of an October meeting with several cardinals on possible reforms in the Catholic Church, the London-based Catholic weekly The Tablet is reporting Thursday. According to the Tablet‘s Rome correspondent Robert Mickens, Francis first made the decision in April shortly after his election as pope. The decision [Read More...]

Pope Francis writes personal letter to atheist

From John Allen at NCR: Although the big Vatican story in the English-speaking media today is based on comments by Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the new Secretary of State, on celibacy and democracy, attention in Italy is focused instead on the latest sensation from Pope Francis himself: a personal letter to a renowned journalist and nonbeliever, splashed across the front [Read More...]

Let there be light: the story behind Benedict’s candle at Ground Zero

At CNS’s blog, Carol Glatz has this intriguing story about meeting Martin Marklin, the man who designed the candle for Pope Benedict’s visit to Ground Zero in 2008, and the light that nearly wasn’t: When the candle safely arrived, Martin was then concerned about how it would be lit. It was Pope Benedict’s desire to light [Read More...]

Boffo: Argentina producing a major motion picture about the pope

From Variety:  Habemus a pope pic. And from Pope Francis’ native Argentina. One of its most international directors, Alejandro Agresti (“The Lake House”) will direct “Historia de un cura” (A Priest’s Tale), a biopic of Jorge Mario Bergoglio from his childhood through to election in March as the head of the Catholic Church. Bergoglio became the first Jesuit pope, [Read More...]

Did you miss the pope’s prayer vigil Saturday? No problem. Here it is.

I was otherwise engaged this weekend—attending a family baptism in Virginia. If you missed it, too, pull up a chair, break out the rosary, and just click the PLAY arrow below. And, for added measure, here’s the text of the pope’s homily—which, at the very least, should be required reading: “And God saw that it [Read More...]

Vatican denies reports that pope called gay man in France

Given the pope’s penchant for calling anyone and everyone, I’m surprised there haven’t been more stories like this. Details:  The Vatican firmly denied reports in France on Friday that Pope Francis had telephoned a young gay French Catholic to reassure him. Christophe Trutino had claimed in a newspaper interview the Pontiff had told him “Your [Read More...]

Pope on Syria: “Dialogue and negotiation is the only option”

From CNS:  Dialogue and negotiations are “the only option for putting an end to the conflict and violence” in Syria, said Pope Francis and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. As Western leaders expressed strong convictions that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack against its own citizens and vowed to take action, Pope Francis [Read More...]