John Allen in Rome: Pope Francis phoned up the mother of a 16-year-old who disappeared in 1993 to promise the church's help and to pray for her.
John Allen in Rome: In a message Thursday to the world of communications, Pope Francis called on the media to foster two qualities for which they're not exactly renowned.
John Allen in Rome: To those skeptical that the Legionaries of Christ can change, members of the order say there are no guarantees but ask for a chance.
John Allen in Rome: The head of the Council of Cardinals has suggested that the Vatican's doctrinal czar needs to be more "flexible" in his views on divorced and remarried Catholics.
John Allen in Rome: Although the NFL playoffs may have dominated weekend conversation in the States, it was another busy period on the pope-watch beat.
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.
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.
John Allen in Rome: Ahead of the Jan. 22 summit on Syria, the Vatican is continuing its full-court press for peace with gestures intended to reach policy-makers and ordinary people.
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.
Officially speaking, the Vatican doesn't do much to mark a pope's birthday. Unofficially, however, Francis marked the period around his 77th birthday Dec. 17.