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The Last Franciscan (4774)

COMMENTARY: What St. Francis and Pope Francis are trying to show us.

10/04/2013 Comments (5)

“It has been said that there was only one Christian who died on the cross; it is truer to say, in this sense, that there was only one Franciscan, whose name was Francis.”

— G. K. Chesterton, St. Francis of Assisi, 1923


“You (Scalfari) did not ask me (Pope Francis) for a ranking of their (the saints) cultural and religious importance, but who is closer to my soul. So I’d say: Augustine and Francis.”

— Interview of Eugenio Scalfari with Pope Francis, La Repubblica, Oct. 1, 2013


Pope Francis brings the name of St. Francis to world attention. His visit to Assisi on Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis, serves to emphasize both men. The greatest “secular” reminder of the saint from...READ MORE

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William Peter Blatty Submits Petition to Halt Georgetown’s Drift From the Church (16596)

2,000 signees join The Exorcist author in requesting that the Vatican require the university to implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

10/04/2013 Comments (31)

William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, is a Georgetown alumnus.

WASHINGTON — When William Peter Blatty won a four-year scholarship to Georgetown University in the 1940s, he arrived at the Jesuit campus with a sense of relief.

During his childhood, Blatty and his mother suffered through more than 20 evictions for non-payment of rent. For the first time, he knew he could stay put without unwelcome interruptions.

More than a half century later, after winning an Academy Award for the screenplay adaptation of his bestselling novel The Exorcist, Blatty still calls Georgetown “home.”

But his love for the pontifical institution has inspired him to support and sign a canon-law petition that asks the “Catholic Church to require that Georgetown implement...READ MORE

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Seeking Transparency, Vatican Bank Issues First Annual Report (1574)

The bank receives and administers funds for charitable activities, especially in the developing world.

10/04/2013 Comment
File photo/CNA

The Institute for Religious Works, commonly known as the Vatican Bank

– File photo/CNA

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican Bank confirmed a commitment to full financial transparency Oct. 1 by publishing its first annual report.

With the report’s publication, the Vatican Bank — known officially as the Institute for the Works of Religion — fulfills a promise made in May by its president, Ernst Von Freyberg. The bank receives and administers funds for charitable activities, especially in the developing world.

At that time, Pope Francis had yet to appoint a pontifical commission to advise him on the bank, headed by Cardinal Raffaele Farina, former librarian of the Vatican Library and archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives.

The report’s publication comes as the Vatican Bank’s...READ MORE

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Council of Cardinals Recommends Extensive Vatican Shake-Up (7812)

The international group of eight cardinals advising the Holy Father on reform believes a broad decentralization of Church governance is required.

10/03/2013 Comments (8)
AP photo/L'Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis meets with his so-called 'Group of Eight' cardinals during their first meeting at the Vatican Oct. 1.

– AP photo/L'Osservatore Romano

VATICAN CITY — At the end of their first three-day meeting to examine Church governance and reform of the Roman Curia, members of a select “council of cardinals” have recommended that Pope Francis make radical changes to the way the Vatican is run.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters Oct. 3 that the international group of cardinals did not intend to update the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus — Blessed John Paul II’s 1988 instruction on governance of the Roman Curia — “with retouches and marginal modifications.”

Instead, they wished to introduce “a new constitution with significant new aspects,” with the aim of decentralizing the governance of the Church.  


Filed under cardinal sean o'malley, catholic church, catholic faith, pope francis, roman curia, vatican city

‘Our Brother, Our Friend’: New Book Collects Argentinian Memories of Pope Francis (1996)

Alejandro Bermudez recorded insights and recollections from people across Argentina who knew the Holy Father as a seminarian, priest and archbishop.

10/03/2013 Comment

DENVER — A new book on the Holy Father gathers insights and recollections from 20 people across Argentina who knew Pope Francis as a seminarian, priest and archbishop in Buenos Aires.

“A Pope who is constantly surprising people with his gestures, words and teachings comes from somewhere, has a background,” said editor and translator Alejandro Bermudez, “and that's what the book tries to explore.”

Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend (Ignatius Press) records personal recollections from those who personally knew the man who became Pope Francis.

Shortly after Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope in March, Bermudez — who heads both Catholic News Agency and ACI...READ MORE

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SDG Reviews 'Gravity' (11513)

Sandra Bullock shines in Alfonso Cuarón’s mesmerizing action thriller in space, a rare Hollywood spectacle with a touch of spiritual awareness.

10/03/2013 Comments (23)
Warner Bros

– Warner Bros

We see so many big-budget science-fiction spectacles —  so many painstakingly realized fantasy worlds and lavishly rendered alien landscapes and environments, inhabited by extravagantly imagined extraterrestrial species, with fantastic spacecraft and starships traveling through hyperspace and all manner of wormholes, nebulae and so forth.

Yet simple weightlessness, though no more exotic than the space shuttle, remains among the most fascinating, captivating effects in any Hollywood production of recent years.

It’s an effect put to mesmerizing use by Alfonso Cuarón in his action thriller Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts on a space walk that goes terribly...READ MORE

Filed under alfonso cuaron, george clooney, movies, sandra bullock, sdg reviews

Putting Families First at Top of Pope’s Curia Reform Agenda (2252)

Making the bureaucracy more responsive to the pastoral needs of families is the upcoming session's theme, said the Vatican’s chief spokesman.

10/03/2013 Comments (1)

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, S.J.


VATICAN CITY — Halfway through their meetings, Pope Francis and his council of cardinals have addressed many different themes, but the formation and care of families is a top priority in upcoming discussions.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi revealed in an Oct. 2 press briefing that, so far, the council has reflected on the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council and the upcoming Synod of Bishops.

But Father Lombardi said that the pastoral care of families is the next major point of discussion in upcoming sessions.

The council of eight cardinals began their first session of meetings Tuesday, and they are due to finish on Thursday.

During the briefing, Father Lombardi...READ MORE

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Ave Maria University Reduces Tuition for New Students (3215)

President Jim Towey said the decision aims to help Catholic families and young people reduce their debt-load.

10/03/2013 Comments (5)
Lee Leblanc

Ave Maria University campus

– Lee Leblanc

NAPLES, Fla. — Anxious to ease financial pressures on parents and students, Ave Maria University has revealed that it is reducing its annual undergraduate tuition for new students by $5,000, starting next year.

“I think that all Catholic colleges and universities should do soul-searching these days about what they’re charging,” Jim Towey, president of Ave Maria University, told CNA.

“The fact is, it’s impoverishing a lot of families to have a high debt load. The parents are finding themselves having to mortgage their lives,” he said. “Students are graduating with their future so heavily burdened by high debt that we all have to ask whether this is just and sustainable.”

Beginning in...READ MORE

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