vatican

the Web Editors 4-08-2016

Thanks to an invite from the Vatican, Bernie Sanders will leave the campaign trail after his April 14 debate with Hillary Clinton, and fly to Rome for an event the next day at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

He will gather with other world leaders to discuss changes in politics, economics, and culture in the light of Pope Francis' new encylical Laudato si', according to a statement released from the Pontifical Academy .

Pope Francis with Lizzy Meyers. Image via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/RNS

Pope Francis blessed the eyes of an American girl who suffers from a genetic condition that will make her blind, in a visit to the Vatican described as a “miracle” by her father.

“We came here hoping for some amazing memories for Lizzy … but what we got, we’ve seen several miracles,” said her father, Steve Myers, after Francis’ blessing with 5-year-old Lizzy on April 6.

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.

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.

Image via REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/RNS

As the death toll from the Brussels terror attacks continued to climb March 24, Pope Francis began three days of solemn observances leading to Easter Sunday with a call for mercy and forgiveness. In a morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to mark Holy Thursday, the pontiff said Jesus had fought not for his own glory but to break down walls “to open the flood gates of mercy … he wants to pour out upon our world.”

Image via giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com

The headline was eye-catching, and most likely that was the goal:

“Pope fires Vatican ambassador to U.S. over Kim Davis,” shouted the story this week in the left-leaning Daily Kos.

Pretty amazing, if it were true.

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

A Spanish priest has confessed to leaking secret Vatican information to journalists, telling a Holy See court he felt trapped and in danger, especially from an Italian co-worker he had fallen for. Monsignor Angelo Lucio Vallejo Balda told the court on March 14 that he passed information to two Italian journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, who in November published books featuring the confidential documents on Vatican financial misfeasance and Pope Francis’ efforts to overhaul the system.

Image via RNS

Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be made a saint on Sept. 4. Pope Francis made the announcement on March 15 during a meeting with Catholic cardinals, which also saw four others approved for sainthood this year.

Image via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/RNS

Pope Francis has approved new rules to tighten financial oversight of the canonization process after leaked documents revealed abuses and high costs in creating saints. The new measures focus on how the Holy See handles applications for sainthood, which can be a lengthy and expensive process that involves examining claims made by supporters of a would-be saint.

Jeff Chu 3-09-2016

Lit candles at Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Image via Jeff Chu

Since I was born Baptist, I think I was taught in utero to be skeptical of all this Roman Catholic stuff. Of Mary. Of popes and princes. Of these incense-tainted, saintward prayers. Of the overreliance on the heritage that traces back to St. Peter (though of course we would never have called him St. Peter). At one point, our guide said, “Upon this rock, I build my church blah blah blah.” She meant no disrespect. Yet it was one of the funniest, most unwittingly perfect things she has said, pithily capturing our sometimes-cavalier attitude toward this church and, for some of us, institutional religion more broadly.

Image via /Shutterstock.com

A series of essays in the semi-official Vatican newspaper is urging the Catholic Church to allow women to preach from the pulpit at Mass, a role reserved almost exclusively to the all-male priesthood for nearly 800 years.

“This topic is a delicate one, but I believe it is urgent that we address it,” Enzo Bianchi, leader of an ecumenical religious community in northern Italy and a popular Catholic commentator, wrote in his article in L’Osservatore Romano.

Cardinal George Pell. Public domain image

Australian Cardinal George Pell, now a top adviser to Pope Francis, testified in a landmark clergy sex abuse inquiry that the Catholic Church made “enormous mistakes” in trying to deal with the scandal. Speaking to an Australian commission investigating the church’s response to abuse, Pell — who had previously been archbishop in Sydney — also said that during the 1970s he was “very strongly inclined to accept the denial” of a priest accused of abuse.

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Christian Ventisette was stopped at Madrid airport after an international arrest warrant was issued for the French-Italian businessman, Italy’s financial police said Feb. 24. Ventisette is accused of scamming more than 250 investors out of around 30 million euros ($33 million) in an international operation involving an Argentine priest. The retired cleric, the Rev. Patrizio Benvenuti, was put under house arrest in Italy earlier this month. He previously worked at a Vatican tribunal and currently has residency in the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the west coast of Africa.

Image via /Shutterstock.com

The Vatican commission on clerical sexual abuse has wrapped up a turbulent week-long meeting during which one of two victims on the panel was effectively ousted and Chilean Catholics upset that Pope Francis has not sacked a controversial bishop delivered protest letters. But a statement released on Feb. 8 at the end of the biannual meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors made no mention of its decision on Feb. 6 that Peter Saunders, a clerical abuse victim from Britain, would take a “leave of absence.”

Image via Josephine McKenna/RNS

Pope Francis’ outreach to the homeless with showers, shelters, and other services may have its youngest beneficiary — an infant born on a street near St. Peter’s Square. A homeless woman gave birth on a cardboard box mere yards from the Vatican on Jan. 20 in near-freezing temperatures, according to Reuters.

Sister Helen Prejean. Image via Rosie Scammell/RNS

Two decades after her anti-death penalty work was transformed into an Oscar-winning movie, Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean’s campaign continues with the backing of Pope Francis. Prejean met with the pope on Jan. 21 to deliver a thank-you letter from Richard Glossip, whose execution in the U.S. was halted in September after intervention from the pontiff.

Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico next month is supposed to be more of a pilgrimage than a spring break, but a viral video of the pontiff joking about tequila with a Mexican man in St. Peter’s Square captures the voluble enthusiasm that is likely to greet the first Latin American pontiff.

In the video, Francis can be seen walking around St. Peter’s Square, flanked by his security detail as he greets the faithful, when a man shouts from the crowd, catching the pontiff’s attention.

“Pope! We’ll be waiting for you in Mexico! Mexico, Pope!” the man yells above the din.

“Welcome to Mexico in February!”

“With tequila?” responds the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Cardinal Wuerl with Pope Francis. Image via Paul Fetters / Archdiocese of Washington / RNS

Cardinal Donald Wuerl is an eminently approachable churchman, and unfailingly polite, yet the archbishop of Washington is hardly the type to wear his emotions on his sleeve.

Image via REUTERS / Alberto Pizzoli / Pool / RNS

A year after he delivered a blistering diagnosis of 15 “diseases” plaguing the Roman Curia, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s,” Pope Francis on Dec. 21 listed a 12-point “catalog of needed virtues” that the bishops and cardinals who run the Holy See should seek to follow.

Image via Noor Khamis / Reuters / RNS

A Vatican envoy urged the World Trade Organization to keep promises made to the poor, amid concerns that its tariff-cutting efforts are disproportionately benefiting rich countries. The appeal came as the WTO, a Geneva-based organization that regulates international trade, was holding a four-day meeting ending Dec. 18 in the Kenyan capital.

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