Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service

Rosie Scammell is a British journalist with extensive experience reporting for leading international news organizations. She has been based in Italy since 2012 and covers the Vatican for RNS.

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Pope Francis' New Spokesman Is a St. Louis Native

Greg Burke, left, with Paloma Garcia Ovejero and Father Federico Lombardi. Image via Paul Haring / CNS / RNS

Pope Francis has brought in a high-profile change of guard at the Vatican with the appointment of an American as press director and a Spanish woman to serve as the director’s deputy.

The announcement on July 11 means the Rev. Federico Lombardi, 73, will step down after a decade running the Holy See press office. The retirement of the Italian Jesuit priest paves the way for a younger, international leadership, with layman Greg Burke, 56, taking over on Aug. 1.

Two Rwandan Politicians Found Guilty of Slaughter Inside a Catholic Church

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

A French court has found two former Rwandan politicians guilty of crimes against humanity for masterminding the slaughter of 2,000 people taking refuge in a Catholic church during the country’s genocide.

Octavien Ngenzi and Tito Barahira, both former mayors of Kabarondo village, were sentenced to life in jail on July 6.

Vatican Court Sentences Monsignor to 18 Months in 'Vatileaks' Case

Francesca Chaouqui. Image via REUTERS / Tony Gentile / RNS

A Vatican court on July 7 convicted two people for leaking confidential documents to journalists, concluding a high-profile trial that had underscored the internal dysfunction that Pope Francis has been trying to end.

Eight months after the “Vatileaks II” scandal erupted and exposed secrecy and widespread mismanagement at the Holy See, the Vatican court ruled that a Spanish priest should be jailed for passing information to reporters.

British Faith Leaders Condemn Rise of Xenophobia Following Brexit Vote

REUTERS / Stefan Warmth / RNS

Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby chats with a fellow member of the clergy. Photo via REUTERS / Stefan Warmth / RNS

Describing the uncertainty and fears that have followed the Brexit vote, religious leaders said people should not become mistrustful of "the other."

Two Popes Share a Vatican Stage to Show Only One Is in Charge

Image via REUTERS / Max Rossi / RNS

A Vatican ceremony June 28 featuring a rare joint appearance by Pope Francis and his predecessor seemed aimed at tamping down speculation about the unusual circumstance of having two living popes.

In recent weeks debate has erupted over whether there are two popes sharing authority in the church, or whether Francis is the sole successor of St. Peter.

Pope Francis to Catholics: 'Who Are You to Judge Others?'

Image via REUTERS/Tony Gentile/RNS

Stop being judgmental hypocrites and take a look at yourself in the mirror — without covering up your wrinkles — Pope Francis advised Catholics in a sermon that reprised one of his favorite themes.

In his last homily at morning Mass before taking a break for the summer, Francis on June 20 said those who constantly judge people should instead reflect on their own behavior.

Vatican Signs New Contract With External Financial Auditor

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

The Vatican has signed a new deal with international accountants, weeks after the unprecedented audit of the Holy See’s finances came to an abrupt halt.

PricewaterhouseCoopers will advise the city-state’s auditor general, the Vatican said on June 10.

Pope Francis: A 'My-Way-or-the-Highway' Faith is Heretical

Image via REUTERS/Tony Gentile/RNS

Pope Francis has called on Catholics to adopt a “healthy realism” in their approach to their faith, and he decried rigid idealists as heretics.

Speaking during morning Mass on June 9, Francis told congregants at the chapel in the Vatican guesthouse to try their best to seek reconciliation with others rather than pushing strict rules and a “take-it-or-leave-it” style of evangelism.

Pope Francis: A Wedding Without Wine Is 'Shameful!'

Image via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/RNS

Pope Francis has upended many traditions during his extraordinary pontificate, to the point that some have wondered whether he is really Catholic.

But the pope has now made one thing clear: He’s sure not a Baptist.

'Gladiator' Screenwriter to Pen Biopic of Sufi Mystic Rumi

Born in present-day Afghanistan in the early 13th century, Rumi fled the Mongol invasion along with his family and traveled extensively through the Middle East before settling in Turkey. The poet’s work continues to have enduring popularity globally and has been translated into multiple languages.

In bringing his life to the silver screen, Franzoni and producer Stephen Joel Brown said they are hoping to line up an A-list cast. Leonardo DiCaprio, who won his first Oscar in February, has been named as their favorite to take on the role of Rumi.

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