Vatican

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

On the Empty Papal Chair Conspiracy

One Vatican specialist (Sandro Magister) headlined a recent article thus: The Hundred Days of Francis and the Enigma of the Empty Chair. And there it was, at the top of his and a hundred other articles, now the most famous chair in Christendom, conspicuously empty, with all around it immaculately becassocked curial cardinals, bishops and [...]

The Butler Did It: The Pope’s Valet is Found Guilty of Theft

The trial of Paolo Gabriele, the Pope’s former valet, last week found guilty of aggravated theft of confidential documents from the papal apartments, predictably drew worldwide attention. As the first major criminal trial at the Vatican in modern times, and one that opened up the Vatican and papal apartments to unprecedented scrutiny, it was always [...]

Subsidiarity on Earth and in Heaven

Several years ago I attended a lecture at Marquette by John Allen, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, in which he addressed the stereotype of the Vatican passing down commands to be implemented by 5000 bishops and subordinate clerics, as well as the various religious orders.  He dissipated the stereotype with a depiction [...]

The “Quiet Car” of the Soul

I have to admit that it really didn’t impress me very favorably the first time I read it: “Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization”—that will be the theme of next May’s World Day for Social Communications, the Vatican announcement said. That’s really strange, I thought. After all, even as it stands World Communications Day isn’t [...]

A War Prevented: Pope John XXIII and the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Holy See is the oldest continuing international organization in the world. Its Secretary of State office was established in 1486, and that is also when its first permanent representatives were established in Venice, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and France. Today, the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 176 states. It is also the [...]

What’s So Great About Catholicism?

With its divine foundation, sanction, and mission, nothing could be more glorious than the Catholic Church. But, of course, many people — even many baptized Catholics — don't see it that way. Yet when the sins of men — secular material progress, or our own self-centeredness — blind us to this, they blind us to everything. The Renaissance, a [...]

Must the Roman Curia be Italian?

Although he’s not very well known in the U.S., save among members of the Sant’Egidio community (of which he’s the founding father), Andrea Riccardi is a major figure in the Catholic Church in Italy: a historian of the papacy, a commentator on all things Catholic, and a player in various ecclesiastical dramas. Most recently, according [...]

A Misguiding Note from the Vatican

The recent Note issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, "Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority," has liberals jubilant and conservatives apoplectic with its call “to create some form of global monetary management” (Sec. 4). This Note is a compilation of papal Social Teaching [...]

A Global Central Bank: Unjust!

Do we need a supranational authority to enforce social justice? The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (PJCP) seems to think so. Its new document, "Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority," calls for global economic regulation by a supranational body and a central world [...]

The New Vatican Document on Finance: Right Diagnosis, Deadly Cure

Let’s say you go to the doctor with a pain in your gut, and the doctor very astutely discovers that you have been poisoned. He knows how and when it happened. He knows the precise kind of poison that victimized you. Then he gives your prescription: more poison in higher doses. You would be at [...]

China-Watching in the Vatican

Whatever its other accomplishments, Henry Kissinger’s new book, On China, ought to cause serious reconsideration of that now-familiar refrain, “China-is-the-lead-country-of-the-future.” Kissinger’s analysis of Chinese history has been criticized, as has his reticence about evils like the massacres at Tiananmen Square. But his conclusion -- that China’s future depends on the resolution of the conflict between [...]

Date set for Assisi peace gathering…with one important change

News out of the Vatican over the weekend: Pope Benedict XVI will call people of goodwill to join him in working for peace during a "day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world" to be held in Assisi on Oct. 27. At the start of the year, the Pope announced [...]

Behind the scenes at the Vatican

David Gibson of Commonweal alerts readers to a two-hour special airing on the History Channel tonight, giving a behind-the-scenes look at life in the Vatican and some rare footage of Pope Benedict at home and at work: The show provides an overview of the history of the Vatican, and focuses on everyday life in the [...]

Reforming Caritas International

Several weeks ago, the Vatican announced that it would not grant the necessary approval for Lesley-Anne Knight's second, four-year term as secretary general of Caritas International, a global network of 165 Catholic agencies working primarily in the Third World on development and health-care issues. Predictably, the Vatican black ball was deplored by some leaders of [...]

Vatican official says opponents of gay marriage face persecution, too

Following up on yesterday's post about Catholic opinion on homosexuality: A Vatican representative to the UN Human Rights council has said that people who oppose gay marriage sometimes have their rights violated because of those beliefs: “People are being attacked for taking positions that do not support sexual behavior between people of the same sex,” [...]

Vatican’s $1 Million Business Investment

Micro cap NeoStem, Inc (NBS) has been working in the area of adult stem cells, making notable discoveries and picking up acquisitions along the way.  Its business model may have them in the red as of today, but there's something about the company that has attracted the Vatican's attention.  And money.   The Vatican has placed [...]

Ray Flynn: A Real Pro-Life Catholic Democrat

Following the Bart Stupak betrayal, several pundits declared the end of the pro-life Democrat. For months, Congressman Stupak and a small group of Catholic House members had held out against Obamacare, insisting it be stripped of funding for abortion. But when the bill returned from the Senate with abortion funding intact, Stupak revealed himself to [...]

Cardinal Baum: A New Record-Holder

Something quite remarkable happened recently: William Wakefield Cardinal Baum -- emeritus archbishop of Washington, emeritus prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, emeritus major penitentiary of the Catholic Church -- passed the late James Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore (who died in 1921) to become the longest-serving American cardinal in history. It's an astonishing record that [...]

John Allen wants to end the ‘blame game’

Over at the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen says that too much has been made lately of letters sent by officials in the Vatican to various American and Irish bishops, letters that appear hesitant about immediately reporting sexual abuse allegations against priests. Allen says some people want to turn such letters into smoking guns, as [...]

Astrophysics and Metaphysics

Are there aliens out there? Nothing is more likely to grab headlines than the latest speculation about extraterrestrial life. Here, a Vatican theologian speculates and organizes a conference; there, a scientist says he's analyzed 500 planets and is convinced that the cosmos is a cold, empty and lifeless place. Still others insist the sheer size [...]

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