August 31, 2013 |
ROME - Pope Francis has taken a key step in reshuffling the Vatican's bureaucracy by replacing his much-criticized top aide with a career Vatican diplomat who has seen service on three continents. The Vatican said Saturday that Archbishop Pietro Parolin, 58, currently nuncio in Venezuela, will take office as Vatican secretary of state, the pope's prime minister, on Oct. 15, replacing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 78. Bertone, appointed in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI, had been due to step down, and the pope, by choosing Parolin as his replacement, will please Vatican diplomats who had complained that Bertone blocked their access and concentrated power in Rome in the hands of a group of handpicked prelates from his native Liguria.
August 4, 2013 |
Last week, Pope Francis loosed a media tsunami by dropping a pebble of sanity into an ocean of religious angst. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" he told reporters on the flight back to Rome after his trip to Brazil. What did it mean? Was he changing church teaching? And how might it affect 1.2 billion Roman Catholics worldwide? Hundreds of news stories and thousands of blogs, tweets and commentaries later, most observers heard in Francis' statement a proposal to end to his predecessor's hard line on homosexuality.
July 29, 2013 |
In an interview with journalists on his flight back to Rome, Pope Francis said: “When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem.... They're our brothers.” Journalists and commentators -- Roman Catholic and non-Catholic, conservative Catholic and liberal Catholic -- quickly chimed in. My colleague Tracy Wilkinson wrote: “The church has traditionally labeled homosexuality a 'disorder' and under Pope Benedict XVI , who resigned in February, men with 'deep-seated tendencies' toward homosexuality were to be barred from the priesthood.
July 29, 2013 |
RIO DE JANEIRO - First, the pope used the word "gay. " Then he used a phrase possibly never heard from a pope: "Who am I to judge?" His first overseas trip behind him, Pope Francis made surprisingly conciliatory remarks about the role of gay people in the Roman Catholic Church and his willingness to accept them uncritically, touching off a worldwide debate over how big a shift the new pontiff was endorsing. He also spoke of finding more roles for women in the church - though not priesthood - and of showing mercy to divorced Catholics.
July 1, 2013 |
The awkwardness of having two popes -- one active, one emeritus -- is dramatized by a controversy over the rumored appointment of a new head of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, the Vatican office that oversees Catholic liturgy. The Catholic News Agency reports that Pope Francis is considering entrusting that post to Archbishop Piero Marini, who served as “master of ceremonies” for Pope John Paul II. As I discussed in an Op-Ed article for The Times several years ago, Piero Marini is the “bad Marini” in the eys of Catholic traditionalists, who prefer the "good" Guido Marini, the master of ceremonies for Pope Benedict XVI who was inherited by Pope Francis.
May 2, 2013 |
ROME -- The Vatican became the home of two living popes Thursday when former pontiff Benedict XVI took up residence in a house in the city-state's garden. The unprecedented cohabitation with his successor, Pope Francis, began when Benedict arrived by helicopter about 4:45 p.m. from Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence where he had stayed since retiring Feb. 28. After becoming the first pope in six centuries to step down, Benedict left the Vatican that day by helicopter to avoid intruding on the election of his successor and to give time for his new house to be renovated.