September 22, 2013
Re "Pope wants to shift focus to mercy," Sept. 20 There is much more than a change of tone in the recent statements of Pope Francis. The tone is pastoral, and the substance is one of old-fashioned charity and humility. The Romans used to remark about Christians' love for one another. Today, we have culture wars between Catholic factions. Some are fixated on orthodoxy, and others pledge their allegiance to social justice. Some are fighting the seven deadly sins, and others are working in soup kitchens.
September 2, 2013 |
ROME - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's outgoing secretary of state, has denounced what he calls the “crows and vipers” at work within the Vatican and appeared to suggest that former Pope Benedict should share some of the blame for mistakes made on his watch. In his first public remarks since he was replaced Saturday as the Vatican equivalent of prime minister, Bertone took aim at critics who allege he oversaw a gaffe-prone and scandal-filed papacy after Benedict appointed him in 2006.
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 21, 2013 |
ROME --Former Pope Benedict XVI, who shocked the world by resigning in February, has reportedly revealed that God told him to do it during a "mystical experience. " The first pontiff to step down in six centuries, Benedict said, "God told me to," when asked about his decision to dedicate himself to a life of prayer instead. The 86-year-old pope emeritus said he had not witnessed a vision of God but had undergone a months-long "mystical experience" during which God gave him the "absolute desire" to forge a deeper relationship with him. Benedict also said that the more he witnessed the "charisma" of his extremely popular successor, Pope Francis, the more he understood how his stepping aside was the "will of God. " The former pontiff's comments were reported by the Catholic news agency Zenit, which did not disclose to whom Benedict made the remarks.
August 13, 2013 |
Is the Pope Catholic? We'll vote yes on that one. But what you may not know is the Argentine-born pontiff is also a big soccer fan, so it was hard to say who got the bigger thrill Tuesday when the pope met soccer god Lionel Messi at the Vatican. Francis, an avid supporter of the Buenos Aires team Saints of San Lorenzo, welcomed the national teams of his native Argentina as well as Italy ahead of their much-hyped friendly Wednesday in Rome. The players on both teams received a private audience with Francis in the Apostolic Palace after which the pope sidestepped the question of whether he gave a papal blessing to either team.
August 9, 2013 |
By any standard Pope Francis' Brazil trip was a great success. Enthusiastic crowds clogged the routes of the papal motorcade and reportedly more than a million people were present for the pope's final Mass on Copacabana beach. The media no less than Catholic pilgrims seemed enchanted by the new pontiff and his appeals for dialogue, conciliation and social justice. For this pope, who presents himself above all else as a pastor and teacher, the achievements of this first international foray must be satisfying.