Castel Gandolfo Welcomes Pope Francis for Assumption Mass

08/15/2013 Comment

An estimated 10,500 jubilant pilgrims crammed into Castel Gandolfo's small piazza Thursday where Pope Francis celebrated his first Mass on the Feast of the Assumption as Roman Pontiff.

In his homily (full text below), the Holy Father spoke of how the Virgin Mary prompts us to reflect on the struggle against evil, the resurrection, and the importance of hope.

In his Angelus address, the Pope included an appeal for "peace, dialogue and reconciliation" in Egypt where violence and unrest has caused over 600 deaths.

Pope Francis has broken with tradition this year and is taking a "working vacation" at the Vatican instead of residing at the papal summer residence in the town. Consistent...READ MORE

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Italian Anti-Homophobia Debate Heightens After Teen Suicide

08/14/2013 Comments (32)

Palazzo di Montecitorio in Rome where Italy's Lower House sits.

– Wikipedia

Roberto, a 14-year-old boy, plunged to his death from his parents’ balcony in downtown Rome on Saturday, ending his life after being bullied for being homosexual.

The tragedy of Roberto's suicide has been causing much debate here in Italy, also because the country’s Lower House is currently debating a controversial anti-homophobia law.

Opponents say the law, if passed, would shut down and criminalize any public opposition to “gay marriage,” civil unions, or homosexuals adopting children, according to LifeSite News.

The Italian bishops’ newspaper Avvenire has been firmly against the legislation, warning it could usher in prosecutions for anyone who publicly denounces the homosexual...READ MORE

Filed under homophobia, homosexuality, legislation, manif pour tous, roberto de mattei

English Translation of Second Part of Papal Press Conference

08/03/2013 Comments (19)

The second part of Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference given on the papal plane from Brazil has been published in English by ZENIT (see my blog post on the first part here).

This isn’t the official translation which is yet to appear, though the Secretariat of State is said to be working on it.

Like the first part, the Holy Father’s words are revelatory. As reported widely elsewhere, he discusses the subject of homosexuality and “gay lobbies”; his wish to visit Asia, and travel to Jerusalem where he hopes to meet Patriarch Bartholomew; his call for a “profound theology of woman”; John Paul II’s definitive “no” to women priests; the canonization date for John XXIII and John Paul...READ MORE

Filed under liturgy, marriage, media, orthodox, pope francis, press conference

English Translation of Pope Francis' Press Conference

08/01/2013 Comments (3)
Pope Francis disembarks the papal plane after returning from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.


– Pope Francis disembarks the papal plane after returning from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

ZENIT has helpfully translated the first part of Pope Francis' press conference on the papal plane back from Brazil which can be read here. The second part will be published tomorrow.   

As has been reported elsewhere, the frankness of the Pope's responses is a clear break with the past. True, Benedict XVI and John Paul II could be candid during such briefings, but they tended to refrain from going into too much detail, or discussing in any great depth their perceptions of the Vatican or how or why they made decisions. 

Pope Francis is also the first Pontiff to face an 80 minute press conference of spontaneous questions.   

Some aspects that hadn't received so much attention in...READ MORE

Filed under media, pope francis, wyd

Pope Francis Meets Benedict, Asks for His Prayers During WYD

07/19/2013 Comments (6)

Pope Francis visited Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI this afternoon to ask the former Pontiff to “spiritually accompany him in prayer” during his visit to Brazil for World Youth Day next week.

The Vatican said the Holy Father called in on the Pope Emeritus shortly after 4pm and brought with him a booklet covering the program of the trip so that Benedict can participate spiritually and follow the transmission of the events.

Benedict XVI, who was originaly scheduled to go to Rio until he announced his retirement in February, "assured him of his prayers, recalling the intense and wonderful experiences of his past world meetings with young people in Cologne, Sydney and Madrid.” The Vatican...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, pope francis, world youth day

Concerns Rising Over Slow Appointments of Bishops

07/13/2013 Comments (83)

Cardinal Marc Ouellet (left), prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, at a press conference July 5th marking the release of Pope Francis' first encyclical, Lumen Fidei.

– EP

A crisis of sorts is developing in the appointment of Catholic bishops worldwide as a backlog of 187 sees (not including China) remain vacant.

According to figures on, eight U.S. dioceses are without a bishop, plus two U.S. eparchies (dioceses of Eastern rite churches).

These include the diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut which hasn’t had a bishop since March 2012 when Mons. William Lori was appointed Archbishop of Baltimore.

Others include Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Fort Worth, Texas; Rochester, NY; and Marquette, Michigan, vacated by Mons. Alexander Sample in January on his appointment as Archbishop of Portland, Oregon.

Half of Scotland’s ordinaries – four...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, bishops, cardinal ouellet, holy see, pope francis, vatican

Blessed John Paul II to be Canonized, Vatican Confirms

07/05/2013 Comments (50)

Blessed John Paul II

The Vatican has today confirmed that Blessed Pope John Paul II will be canonized, although a date has not yet been set for the ceremony.

Reading from a statement, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters this afternoon that Pope Francis had approved a decree on a miracle attributed to John Paul's intercession. He also said the Holy Father had approved a “favourable vote”, taken by a commission of cardinals and bishops, “on the canonization of Blessed Pope John XXIII.”

The commission has decided to “convoke a consistory” so that both canonizations can take place at the same time, but it's not clear yet when as Pope Francis wants to hear the opinions of cardinals first....READ MORE

Filed under canonization, john paul ii, john xxiii

Blessed John Paul II to be Canonized in December?

07/02/2013 Comments (19)

Italian media is reporting that cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have approved a second alleged miracle through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II, possibly leading to the late Pontiff's canonization by the end of this year.

Pope Francis must still give the final signature, but reports say that the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation meeting this morning in a plenary meeting were in favour of a canonisation ceremony taking place in December, after the end of the Year of Faith. October, which has often been a popular time for beatifications and canonizations, is thought to be too soon to arrange logistics. 

A board of theologians approved...READ MORE

Filed under canonization, john paul ii, john xxiii, saints, vatican

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About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of "The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family", published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin