Protesters Threaten to Set Themselves on Fire in St. Peter’s Square

"Pitchfork men" being dragged from St. Peter's Square following protest

Two Italian men protesting Italy's economic crisis demanded an audience with Pope Francis, threatening to burn themselves to death if their request was denied. One of the protesters, speaking to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, said, “There's no work, they don't give you a home, they don't give you anything!”The protesters, who claimed to be members of Italy's “Pitchfork movement,” also demanded to be granted political asylum in the Holy See.The protesters' plot was foiled by police o … [Read more...]

Is Pope Francis’s Life in Danger?

2009 Subaru Forester from the fleet of the Italian police force, the Carabinieri

This from the Catholic Herald, the London-based Roman Catholic newspaper:Pope Francis has angered crime bosses in the 'Ndrangheta, the most powerful crime syndicate in Italy, to the extent that his life is in danger.The warning comes from Nicola Gratteri, a magistrate in the city of Reggio Calabria, in Italy’s southernmost point where the crime syndicate is centered.  The Catholic Herald quotes Gratteri as saying, “I don’t know if organised crime is in the position to do something, but it … [Read more...]

La Verna: St. Francis’ Hilltop Home-Away-From-Home

All the bells summon the monks to prayer.

St. Francis, after whom our new pope is named, is most often associated with the Italian village  of Assisi.  And fair enough:  Assisi was home base for Francis and the other monks of the Order of Friars Minor.Sometimes, though, he just needed to get away.  That’s what happened when, in August 1224, Francis withdrew to La Verna, about a day’s walk away, for an extended 40-day period of prayer and fasting.Pope Francis has invited the monks of La Verna to attend his inaugural Mass tomorrow … [Read more...]


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