In an address to an Italian women's group, Pope Francis expressed a "vivid hope" that women will play a "more capillary and incisive" role in the Catholic church.
In the wake of yesterday’s highly anticipated tête-à-tête between Pope Francis and French President François Hollande, most post-mortems have focused on the differences between the Catholic Church and Hollande's Socialist government over “life issues” such as abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia.
The focus is understandable, in part because it was primarily those matters which induced more than 100,000 angry French Catholics to sign an on-line petition before the meeting imploring Francis to express their “profound malaise and growing concern”.
Pope Francis intends to visit the United States in September 2015, but it is too early for anything to be certain.
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.