vatican

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.

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.

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 Considers Rescinding ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ in Response to Request From Indigenous Leaders

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

After Native American delegates met with Pope Francis and other Vatican representatives requesting an end to the Doctrine of Discovery, the Vatican said that it would consider rescinding the 500-year-old Catholic policy, reports APTN.

The Doctrine of Discovery is the name for a body of Catholic law that granted land rights to whichever European Christian nation settled territory in the New World. It considered as terra nullius (“nobody’s land”) any territory occupied by “heathens, pagans, and infidels” — in other words, the original inhabitants of the Americas.

Pope Francis Puts Guam Archbishop Accused of Sex Abuse on Leave

Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron. Image via Paul Haring / Catholic News Service / RNS

Mounting accusations of sexual abuse against the archbishop of Guam have prompted Pope Francis to name a Vatican official to oversee the Catholic Church on the Pacific island territory while the charges are investigated.

The decision announced June 6 to force Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, who has led the Agana Archdiocese for 30 years, to yield his authority, at least temporarily, is the latest sign that Francis is taking tougher steps to tackle the sexual abuse crisis.

A Vatican Conspiracy Persists, and a Bigger Mystery Unfolds

Image via REUTERS/Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters/RNS

The Vatican has always been a hothouse for conspiracy theories, and a new controversy over the so-called Third Secret of Fatima is showing just how persistent such fixations can be — to the extent that the latest episode even forced Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI out of seclusion to refute claims that he once shaded the truth about the mysterious prophecy.

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