John Allen in Rome: The fact that Pope Francis seems the lone authority in Italy at whom the country's protest movement isn't angry shows how wide his appeal is.
Every so often a day rolls around that seems to perfectly sum up the arc of a story, and Saturday, Dec. 21, felt like one of those days vis-à-vis the priority of attitudes over structures in Pope Francis’ ongoing reform campaign.
Indeed, if the Vatican under Francis were the 1992 Clinton campaign, there might well be a sign in room 201 of the Casa Santa Marta reading: “It’s the attitudes, stupid!”
In what amounts to his first “State of the Union” speech, Pope Francis warned Dec. 21 that without a spirit of service the Vatican risks becoming no more than a “heavy bureaucratic customs house,” and insisted that its personnel shouldn’t constantly be “inspecting and questioning.”
The pope did not roll out a specific reform plan, but laid out the basic values he believes curial personnel must have: professionalism and a dedication to service.
John Allen in Rome: Pope Francis has many times called upon a "culture of encounter," which Francis intends to mean reaching out and fostering dialogue.
John Allen in Rome: There are so many consultants in Rome these days, it's a wonder Pope Francis can cross Vatican grounds without bumping into one.
John Allen in Rome: According to Vatican statistics, Catholic education is a growth industry these days, especially in the global south.
John Allen in Rome: The Vatican on Thursday awarded contracts to two major international consulting firms to reorganize its communications operations.
Pope Francis on Tuesday set aside the normal process for canonizing a saint and extended sainthood to arguably his favorite Jesuit, Fr. Peter Faber.
John Allen in Rome: What do "Francis bishops" look like? Yesterday's appointments to the Congregation for Bishops are telling.
News about Pope Francis continues to flow at such a torrid pace that it's hard to digest one development before the next one hits. His Dec. 15 blockbuster interview with La Stampa is a case in point, with a shake-up at the Congregation for Bishops 24 hours later making it already seem ancient history.