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‘Francesco’ now Italy’s most popular baby name

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Moved by the election of Pope Francis seven months ago, the name “Francesco” has leapfrogged to No. 1 on the list of the most popular baby names in Italy, according to a study.

The study, conducted by Enzo Caffarelli, who researches the origins of names at Rome’s Tor Vergata University, along with telephone directory publisher Seat PG Italia, also showed a trend toward re-naming streets, town squares and parks for St. Francis of Assisi, the pontiff’s namesake.

There are now more than 2,000 public places in Italy named after Francis; 300 of them were named this year.

Book says pope saved more than 1,000 in 'Dirty War'

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Perhaps the single public figure on the planet right now least in need of rehabilitation of his image is Pope Francis, who's got poll numbers in most places of which politicians and celebrities alike can only dream.

Nevertheless, rehabilitation is precisely what Italian journalist Nello Scavo delivers in his new book Bergoglio's List: The Untold Story of the People Saved by Francis during the Dictatorship, which was presented today at the headquarters of the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica in Rome.

Dolan confirms error in Scalfari interview

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(NOTE: An update to this story appears below.)

While stressing the basic “trustworthiness” of a recent blockbuster interview with Pope Francis by Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, left room on Oct. 2 for the possibility of small imprecisions.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who was among the cardinals who elected Francis, today confirmed one such error – a point of fact, as it happens, with important implications for understanding the immediate reaction of Pope Francis to his election.

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April 11-24, 2014

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