John Allen in Rome: One of the men most talked about as the next potential pope is Cardinal Angelo Scola, but does he have what it takes?
So far, it doesn't seem that Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi is allowing the pressure of delivering the Vatican's Lenten retreat just ahead of a looming conclave to induce him to pull his spiritual punches.
On Sunday, before an audience including Pope Benedict XVI and several Vatican cardinals likely to be king-makers and even candidates in the papal election next month, Ravasi suggested that sometimes blasphemy is heard with greater attention by God than pre-fabricated prayers offered during the Sunday liturgy.
Benedict XVI’s farewell tour began this week, including a three-minute plus eruption of applause at the Ash Wednesday service, one that might never have ended if the pope himself hadn’t cut it short by saying “Let’s get back to the prayer,” and a love fest with the priests of Rome on Thursday.
John Allen in Rome: The pope is on a retreat this week run by a man considered papabile. Here's more about him.
John Allen in Rome: The Vatican spokesperson says there's a chance conclave could begin before the usual 15-20 day waiting period.
Q-and-A: Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner talks Benedict’s record on sex abuse and the fallout from last’s year sex abuse summit.
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.
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.
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.