In response to vast popular demand ... okay, in response to the fact that my wife has been demanding that I do this for a long time, and finally got so sick of waiting that she did it herself and presented me with a fait accompli ... I am now part of Twitter nation. Readers can find me at @JohnLAllenJr. The idea is that this will be another way to keep everyone informed, especially about the momentous events that will be unfolding over the next few weeks in Rome.
On Thursday, a major Italian newspaper carried a sensation report alleging that a secret Vatican document commissioned in the wake of last year's leaks scandal had identified a shadowy "gay lobby" within the institution, suggesting that its influence might have been in the background of Pope Benedict XVI's decision to resign.
In the immediate wake of the report, Vatican spokespersons basically said "no comment," stressing that they couldn't confirm or deny the contents of a report that was supposed to be eyes-only for Benedict XVI.
John Allen: Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil has proof he’s capable of making decisions stick, perhaps suggesting he’s tough enough to lead.
All Things Catholic: In many ways, the 2013 conclave will be identical to those that have come before; however, there are a few unique features this time around.
John Allen in Rome: There's a lot to like about the man touted as the "Great Asian Hope" to take over the papacy.
At least one of the 117 cardinals eligible to elect a new pope will not come to Rome because of illness.
Indonesian Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, the 78-year-old retired archbishop of Jakarta, told the Rome-based AsiaNews agency Thursday that his health and particularly the "progressive deterioration" of his eyesight led to his decision not to travel to Rome.
How old was the youngest pope ever elected? How about the oldest? How long has it been since an African pope was elected? Get these answers and more.
John Allen in Rome: If picking a pope were like hiring for a job, Leonardo Sandri's résumé would earn him an interview.
Pope Benedict XVI is considering making changes to the conclave rules and rituals before he leaves office Feb. 28, the Vatican confirmed.