The final days: details of Pope Benedict’s schedule released; SSPX matter “entrusted to next Pope”

From VIS:  This morning Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, presented information related to the Holy Father’s calendar and clarified some issues that have been raised in the past few days. At 9:00am on Saturday, 23 February, the Holy Father and the Roman Curia will conclude their spiritual exercises. Traditionally, the [Read More...]

VIDEO: The people and places of the conclave

Robert Duncan over at CNS in Rome has put together this lovely meditative video, featuring some of the people and places that we’ll be hearing much about in the weeks to come. Consider this a preview of Coming Attractions, if you will—and, quite possibly, a peek at the next pope. Check it out below. [Read more...]

Under the dome: a glimpse inside “the management crisis” within the Vatican

The Washington Post gives another perspective on the papal resignation—and lifts the curtain on the mess that is the Curia: Guests at the going-away party for Carlo Maria Viganò couldn’t understand why the archbishop looked so forlorn. Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Viganò ambassador to the United States, a plum post where he would settle [Read More...]

Reports of an early conclave—and tweeting cardinals will go silent

A few tidbits this morning from Catholic News Service:  Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, confirmed this morning that top cardinals and canon lawyers at the Vatican are studying the possibility of beginning the conclave to elect a new pope before March 15. But only the cardinals can announce the exact date the conclave will [Read More...]

Here’s a news flash for you: the Catholic Church can’t change

That, at least, is one view in this morning’s Washington Post. Ashley McGuire explains: Sorry to be a wet blanket, but the Catholic Church is not going to change its teaching on any of the fun stuff (contraception, female “ordination,” homosexuality, abortion, etc.) with the next pope. Nor will it ever. When news of the pope’s [Read More...]

Vatican signals ways to legally protect same-sex couples “to prevent injustice”

Details:   A high-ranking Vatican official on Monday (Feb. 4) voiced support for giving unmarried couples some kind of legal protection even as he reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, also said the church should do more to protect gays and lesbians [Read More...]

Vatican archbishop compares attacks on Catholic Church to pogroms against Jews

He made his remarks in an interview with a German newspaper. Details from the AP:  The Vatican’s head of doctrine says critics in North America and Europe are conducting a “concerted campaign” to discredit the Catholic Church that is resulting in open attacks against priests. In an interview published Saturday by Germany newspaper Die Welt, [Read More...]

Who will be the next ambassador to the Vatican?

NCR’s John Allen speculates: President Barack Obama needs to find a new envoy to the Vatican since Ambassador Miguel Diaz, appointed in 2009, has accepted a position as professor of faith and culture at the University of Dayton in Ohio. Obama’s choice for a replacement is being closely watched in Rome, according to one senior [Read More...]

Send in the clowns: pope greets circus performers

From AFP: Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday held a private audience for several thousand circus artists, urging them to continue offering “healthy entertainment” despite difficulties posed by the craft. “Thanks to the variety of your professions and the originality of your shows, you know how to surprise, elicit wonder and offer opportunities… for healthy entertainment,” [Read More...]

Ka-ching: Vatican seeking funds from tourists for restoration project

From the Associated Press:  Not even the Vatican is immune from the economic crisis. For the first time, the Vatican is seeking funds directly from pilgrims, collectors and tourists to pay for the ambitious restoration of the 17th century Bernini colonnade surrounding St. Peter’s Square. The Vatican’s Philatelic and Numismatic Office, which sells commemorative coins [Read More...]


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