National Catholic Reporter

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NCR interview with Cardinal Francis George

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One could make a strong case that Cardinal Francis George of Chicago is the closest thing the United States has to an “American Ratzinger,” meaning the leading intellectual light among the current crop of prelates. Also like Benedict XVI, George is contemplating retirement, having turned 76 and already submitted his letter of resignation.

George is in Rome preparing to elect the next pope, and he sat down Saturday afternoon for an interview with NCR. 

Vatican newspaper editor: Church governance key conclave issue

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As the church's cardinals discuss who should be the next pope, they'll also be considering how the church should be governed in the future, the editor of the Vatican's semi-official newspaper said Saturday.

"The church always needs reform," said Giovanni Maria Vian, a native Italian who is the editor of L’Osservatore Romano. "In history, the church of Rome and the church in general has shown its ability to respond and reform."

A daily Italian-language paper, L’Osservatore Romano also publishes weekly editions in a number of other languages.

Cardinal George: When selecting pope, must ask 'Can he govern?'

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Among several questions cardinals ask when electing one of their peers as the new leader of the global Roman Catholic church, said Chicago's Cardinal Francis George, is simply: "Can he govern?"

Speaking to CNN Friday, George, who participated in the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, said the secret meeting of cardinals to select a new pontiff is "a very quiet time."

An anti-resignation pact? An over-80 pope?

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Back in 2004, a veteran Italian Vatican writer published a front-page piece predicting the end of the Lefebvrist schism in conjunction with the celebration of a Latin Mass at Rome’s St. Mary Major Basilica. When it didn’t happen, I jokingly asked him what had gone wrong.

His answer was lapidary: In giornalismo, ogni tanto si deve rischiare, which, loosely translated, means, “In journalism, every now and then you’ve got to take a shot.”

Scenes from a papal resignation

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At 8 p.m Thursday, the reign of the 265th Pope, the 264th successor of St. Peter, came to an end, having lasted 7 years, 10 months, and 9 days.

As Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican for the last time as the reigning pontiff three hours earlier, pilgrims and admirers came to St. Peter's Square to see his white helicopter fly away.

As jumbo-tron screens showed the final moments -- Benedict saying goodbye to the Roman curia, then waving to the crowd one last time before entering the helicopter -- many could be seen wiping away tears.

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September 12-25, 2014

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