Vicino Riva’s Taste of Paradise

So it turns out the guy Pope Francis hugged and kissed to such great fanfare last November 6 does have a name. It’s Vicino Riva. It also turns out he has a history. Now 53, Riva lives in Vicenza, just west of Venice. His tumors began growing when he was 15; both he and his [Read More...]

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A Nameless Dignity

Am I the only one feeling uneasy about the coverage of Pope Francis and the man with neurofibromatosis? It’s not that I mind seeing the man, whose neck and head are covered with benign tumors resembling boils or giant scales. But I do wish I knew more about him — his name, his nationality, his [Read More...]

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The Ugliest Piece of Religious Art Ever

Here’s a sampling of Facebook comments on Pope Francis’ new ferula: “Okay, I think I know what it looks like: Remember those old magnetic things where there were contained iron shavings, and there was a picture of a guy’s face and you used a magnet pen to move the shavings onto the guy’s face to [Read More...]

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