What Pope Benedict Wrote about the Shroud of Turin

An excerpt from John Thavis' new book, The Vatican Prophesies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age":As one might expect, Pope Benedict, who was often called "the pope of reason," was much more circumspect on the [Shroud, than Pope John Paul II.] He, too, was interested in the Shroud and had stood before it as a cardinal. As pope he ordered the extraordinary exhibition of the Shroud in 2010. Benedict himself flew to Turin to venerate the cloth and … [Read more...]

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For Credibility of the Church, Should Francis Reconsider Barros Appointment?

I never write about these stories because they make me physically ill, so I leave it to others. But it seems like this story is dying on the vine, and I'm not sure it should. And it's Lent, when we're supposed to do difficult things, so here goes.Pope Francis has appointed Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid to a Bishopric in Southern Chile, and Barros is set to be installed there tomorrow, March 21.This may be a problematic appointment, one that blows up in the Holy Father's face, because it … [Read more...]

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How Does Vatican Interfaith Prayer Help the Peace Process?

We're seeing lots of internet coverage, stories, and opinions regarding Pope Francis hosting Israel’s President Shimon Peres, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tomorrow -- on Pentecost Sunday, at the close to the Easter season -- and the prayers that will be said.Here's the deal:. . .Vatican officials also confirmed that Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will participate in the prayer service [and] stressed that the prayer service should be seen not as a p … [Read more...]

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Divorce-Remarriage: Francis May Walk Us Thru Door B16 Cracked Open – UPDATED

Pretty recently I wondered whether ideas to reform our annulment process would be seen by people as "amnesty" or necessary mercy:An attempt to streamline the annulment process is not an idea that will please everyone. Those who. . .have jumped through the hoops and endured the long and difficult bureaucratic processes may justifiably wonder about fairness. They may feel like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son, and they will need to be reminded–with great love–that “ev … [Read more...]

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So, where and what is this necropolis Pope Francis visited?

I was surprised to read here that Pope Francis is the first pontiff to tour the "scavi" -- the "Tomb of Saint Peter and the Necropolis under the Vatican Basilica". My husband and I were lucky enough to tour those narrow, very humid streets beneath St. Peter's (only unearthed in the 20th century) in 2010, and although I am rather claustrophobic, the place was too fascinating, and the privilege of being there too humbling to give in to it. To finally find ourselves just a few feet from the burial … [Read more...]

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Prayer and Penance: Did Twitter Hasten Benedict’s Retirement?

In hindsight, we're seeing clues, now, and reading words he uttered indicating that Pope Benedict XVI has clearly been thinking of renouncing the papal throne for some time.Forgive me if this sounds absurd on the face of it, but I am wondering if, despite these pieces of evidence, Benedict's recent entry into Twitter has had anything to do with the seeming abruptness of his announcement.Before you scoff, consider: the pope's interest in, and support of, the church's engagement with new … [Read more...]

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Church, Economic Reform and Consolation – UPDATED

In the comments section of this piece, some appear to be wondering whether I am simply "dismissing" the Note on Financial Reform. I can't do that, as I still have not read it.I do think the church is, as ever, caught upon the same wire it has danced upon since its founding, with one foot poised for the next step, hovering between earth and heaven and trying to reconcile both to each other, and trying to do so in the language and sensibilities to which its churchmen have been formed. Some … [Read more...]

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The view from the pew

When big news breaks as it did today with the release of "Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority" by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, I sometimes pause to think about the majority of the Catholics I know.While we in the blogosphere are running from Twitter to Facebook to the blogs in search of informed perspectives, I'd venture to say that most of the folks sitting near us in the pews have no idea that such a … [Read more...]

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Benedict: The Burdened Do Not Shrug

A little fun. Because I am missing Rome desperately, particularly as I look out my window and gaze upon the silvery sky that promises more snow tonight, I reposted my lovesong to Rome's Eternal Shrug:Amid the mod socialists, less politically-minded Romans observe the gathering from the shady comfort of a cafe awning; they drink frothy coffee and when asked what the Communists are demanding, they smile and shrug. "What does every crowd demand? Attention; a little money so they can do better … [Read more...]

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