Catholic Church

Vatican Unexpectedly Suspends Independent Financial Audit

Image via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/RNS

The Vatican has put a stop to the work of international auditors just months after they were hired to review the city-state’s bookkeeping — a move said to have surprised Pope Francis’ handpicked financial czar, Cardinal George Pell. The suspension earlier this month of the audit, well underway by the global firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, was also viewed as threatening the pope’s broader efforts to clean up the Vatican’s murky finances.

Is the Pope Catholic?

Image via REUTERS/Max Rossi/Files/RNS

That’s always been the jokey answer to a dumb question, but it’s now a serious issue for Catholic intellectuals who have been criticizing, and defending, the Catholic bona fides of Pope Francis, especially since the pontiff released a landmark document on family life earlier this month that some say calls into question the church’s teachings on the permanence of marriage.

Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards Gets Standing Ovation at Georgetown

Image via Adelle M. Banks / RNS

The debate that began when students learned that Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards would speak at the nation’s oldest Catholic university continued when she received a standing ovation at Georgetown’s Lohrfink Auditorium. The media was not permitted inside, but students who heard her said she defended her organization’s stances and urged abortion opponents to respect those who think women should have choice in their reproductive decisions.

Kenyan Priest Denounces Killing of Two Legendary Lions

Image via Fredrick Nzwili / RNS

A Catholic priest has denounced the killings of two legendary lions, one violently speared by a Maasai warrior, outside the city’s famous national park. Lions and other wildlife roam freely in the wild in the 45 square-mile Nairobi National Park. A popular tourist destination, the park is only a short drive from the central business district and has earned Nairobi the distinction of the world’s wildlife capital.

Pope Francis Names New Vatican Ambassador to U.S.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre. Image via REUTERS/Henry Romero/RNS

Pope Francis has named the Vatican’s envoy to Mexico as his new ambassador to the U.S., replacing the Vatican diplomat who sparked controversy last September by setting up a secret meeting between the pontiff and Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who briefly went to jail rather than certify same-sex marriages. The appointment to Washington of French-born Archbishop Christophe Pierre, now the Vatican’s representative, or nuncio, in Mexico City, was announced by the Holy See on April 12.

Pope Francis Again Blasts Moral Legalism by Religious Leaders

Image via giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

Pope Francis has criticized those who care more about the letter of the law than people’s individual situations, continuing to assert the overarching theme of the landmark apostolic exhortation on the family he issued last week. Speaking during his homily at Mass on April 11, Francis warned Catholics against such behavior by recalling the day’s Scripture reading from Acts, in which Stephen is accused of blasphemy by religious leaders of the day.

The Wuerl Effect

Illustration by JP Keenan/Sojourners. Images: Giulio Napolitano / Raul654, Shutterstock, Wuerl image: Public domain.

If Cardinal Wuerl has found himself at the heart of contemporary Catholic history, it hasn’t been on purpose. He’s been searching, from Mass to committee meeting, from fundraising event to coffee break, to get to the heart of something else.For one reason or another, Donald Wuerl has found himself present for many of the most important events in the Catholic Church in the past half-century: He was in Rome during Vatican II; he orchestrated a landmark diocesan reorganization in Pittsburgh; he anticipated — and battled — the Vatican over the clerical abuse crisis in the United States.

With a career where he has ended up in the right place at the right time over and over again, some might dismiss Wuerl as a climber. But his determination to follow his conscience on difficult issues — and empower others to do the same — shows that he has been searching for something deeper than prestige.

Pope to Stress Broader Conception of Family

Image via giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

The Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), will be the culmination of two synods in which family matters were hotly debated by bishops. Since the second such conference concluded in October, Francis has been charged with producing a defining text to determine the Catholic Church’s way forward on everything from divorce to pornography.

Vatican Probes Funding of Cardinal's Lavish Apartment

Cardinal Bertone with Pope Francis. Image via Paul Haring / Catholic News Service / RNS

The Vatican has launched an investigation into the funding of its former secretary of state’s apartment restoration.The investigation involves two executives from Rome’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital — former chairman Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer Massimo Spina — on allegations that they misappropriated hospital funds to pay for the restoration of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s apartment while he was Vatican secretary of state.

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