An entire class of one Italian high school opted out of a class on Catholicism, reopening a debate over whether state money should be used for a class focusing on one faith.
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.
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.
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.
The Society of St. Pius X offered to celebrate a funeral for Erich Priebke after the diocese of Rome said the service would be allowed only in a private home.
On Tuesday, the Vatican warned churches not to get ahead of Pope Francis and take the reform process into their own hands.
John Allen in Rome: Impending revisions to the synod envision a multiphase process involving opportunities for input at the base, including use of the Internet to collect suggestions.
Francis has sketched a beguiling vision of a more merciful and compassionate church, but pulling it off will require finding bishops to match.
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.
John Allen in Rome: A part of a recent interview with pope Francis wasn't reported exactly right, but that doesn't mean something mystical didn't happen.