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‘Immigrant Pope’ pope visits Rome’s immigrant parish


Pope Francis, who already profiles as the “immigrant pope” both due to his arriving in Rome from “the ends of the earth,” as he said on the night of his election, and because of his strong advocacy on behalf of migrants and refugees, made another clear statement of solidarity Jan. 19 by visiting a Roman parish known for outreach to immigrants and the poor.

Anatomy of a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't Vatican denial


We have a new winner in the sweepstakes for shortest shelf-life of any Vatican denial of a news story ever, with the nearly instantaneous retraction Jan. 17 of a statement disputing an Associated Press report that almost 400 priests had been defrocked in 2011/2012 in cases involving sexual abuse.

The denial was issued by Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, at 9:31 pm Rome time last night and retracted at 10:32 pm, which means that it survived barely an hour.

Cardinal reports progress in reform as Legionaries start chapter

As the Legionaries of Christ started their extraordinary general chapter, the cardinal overseeing the troubled congregation said scandal had taken a toll on its finances, but that members had made progress in overcoming the moral and administrative legacy of their disgraced founder.

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the papal delegate to the Legionaries, spoke in an interview with Vatican Radio broadcast Thursday, the chapter's first working day. The cardinal had formally opened the gathering by concelebrating Mass with members of the congregation the previous evening.

Francis wows on Twitter too, even in Latin


As 2013 reached an end, Pope Francis’ burgeoning following on Twitter crossed the 11 million mark, taking all nine of his accounts in different languages into view. Spanish leads the way, with four and a half million pope followers, while English was in second place with three and a half million.

Given the wide popularity of the new pope, the fact that he’s now the most followed religious figure in the Twitter universe, surpassing the 8.2 million who follow the Dali Lama, is probably no real surprise.

Hours with sick children eclipse 15-minute curial speech


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 in Pope Francis' ongoing reform campaign.

To set the scene, Francis had two big appointments on his calendar Dec. 21: the pope's annual year-end address to the Roman Curia and a visit to Rome's Bambino Gesù Hospital, which specializes in the care of sick children.

Mad at everyone else, Muslim immigrants in Rome trust the pope


Perhaps the most dramatic Christmas Day example of the “Francis effect” came not in the Vatican but across town, in a Roman detention center for poor and undocumented immigrants. A four-day hunger strike, which featured angry Muslims from Morocco and Tunisia sewing their mouths shut, was suspended because the protestors were persuaded that Francis could “make us heard.”



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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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