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Pope Benedict XVI has entrusted the leadership of the financially troubled Sons of the Immaculate Conception to Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
The religious order, which has about 400 priests and brothers, runs a major hospital in Rome specializing in diseases and cancers of the skin. Its members also work in North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.
The pope's German biographer said when he met with the pope last year, Benedict was "drained of energy" and "deeply disheartened."
All Things Catholic: Need a refresher on what happens before and during a conclave? You've come to the right place.
John Allen in Rome: The appointment of a German with ties to a company that makes military warships to be president of the Vatican Bank is threatening to stir controversy.
"We need a pontiff who feels totally comfortable among women, one who respects rather than fears female intelligence. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, led by their limited, distorted, one-dimensional view of women and femininity, separated the lives of the hierarchy from the lives of the people,” writes Catholic theologian, A. Regina Schulte. “From both popes have come some benign, non-specific testaments to feminine qualities such as a woman’s “genius” and “superiority” (think Mother’s Day cards).
It is a widely held belief that, aware of the indefatigable character of women, the pope and hierarchy continue to stifle feminine power because they fear it,” she writes in an essay set to appear in Corpus Reports, the bi-monthly journal of CORPUS. “A just and equitable rearranging of the deck chairs, starting an entirely new way or seeing and working with women, as respected equals, sharing the same basic baptismal rites, is long overdue.”
John Allen in Rome: In a recent interview, one cardinal says that in 2009, he approached Pope Benedict to ask him to dump his Secretary of State.
After more than six weeks of not being able to accept credit- and debit-card payments in the Vatican Museums and shops, the Vatican announced Wednesday that it had begun accepting plastic again.
Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, also told reporters Wednesday that it was likely that the Institute for the Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican bank, would have a new president "in a few days."
Q-and-A: American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick talked with John Allen in Rome about Pope Benedict's resignation and the dynamics of the upcoming election.
John Allen in Rome: The Vatican spokesman shot down one rumor but confirmed another this morning in what has become a daily exercise in rumor control.