National Catholic Reporter

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Rome

Prosecutor warns of a mafia threat against Pope Francis

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The Vatican on Friday downplayed reported mob threats against Pope Francis, just two days after a high-profile anti-mafia prosecutor said Francis could be a target from the 'Ndrangheta mafia organization in southern Italy.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican's chief spokesman, told reporters Friday that the Vatican was "extremely calm" regarding a possible mob threat against the pope.

"There is absolutely no reason for concern, no need to feed alarmism," Lombardi said.

Vatican's pop culture guru Gianfranco Ravasi backpedals his tribute to rocker Lou Reed

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The Vatican's pop culture guru, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, says his Twitter message paying homage to hard-partying rocker Lou Reed was meant to praise his music, not his drug-influenced lifestyle.

Ravasi, an Italian cardinal and the head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, reacted to Reed's death Monday with a tweet made up of some of the lyrics from "Perfect Day," Reed's 1972 cult classic. Given Reed's provocative lifestyle, the tweet shocked many Vatican watchers.

Francis gets down to business on reform

Pope Francis recently described reform in the church as a two-step process. First, he said, one has to get the "attitudes" right, then policies and structures will follow.

If much of his first eight months in office has been about projecting new attitudes, Oct. 1-3 may be remembered as the moment when stage two kicked in and the pope got down to business.

Over those days, Francis joined the first meeting of his new Council of Cardinals, a body of eight prelates from around the world intended to bring the voices of local churches into decisions made in Rome.

‘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.

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July 18-31, 2014

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