A Coat of Arms for the Interregnum

Coat of Arms during interregnum

Have you ever seen this?Probably not—This is the coat of arms of the Holy See during the Interregnum, that period after a pope leaves office until a new pontiff is elected by the College of Cardinals.  It is also known as the Sede Vacante period, that time when the Seat (the Chair of Peter, that is) is Vacant.Instead of the papal tiara over the keys, as is customary for the Holy See and the Vatican City State, the tiara is replaced with the umbraculum (ombrellino, in Italian). This sy … [Read more...]

LAST DAYS IN THE OFFICE: What I Do, What Pope Benedict Does

A messy desk with lots of paperwork

On my last days on the job, I have my hands full:  I try to catch up on my filing (Impossible!  Impossible, I tell you!)  I clean out the files (a little bit).  I erase the voicemail messages I had saved, dust the keyboard, make notes for my successor.  I chat on the phone.  I pack my coffee cup and my spare pantyhose and my vitamins and get well cards and photos from home in a cardboard box and run them out to the car.  I fill lots of trash cans.I think it’s different for Pope Benedict … [Read more...]

Moloch Has an “Off” Switch


CARDINAL GIANFRANCO RAVASI WARNS AGAINST CHILD SACRIFICE? Cardinal Ravasi, who is leading the Lenten retreat for Pope Benedict and the Roman Curia this week, took an unexpected turn in his meditation on February 20—warning against society’s worship of the pagan god Moloch. WHAT WAS HE TALKING ABOUT? Who is Moloch?  It was the Canaanites, the Phoenicians and other cultures in north Africa who worshiped the god Moloch.  In the Book of Leviticus, the sons of Israel are warned that anyone in Israe … [Read more...]