Not just abortion, but also Assad, divides Francis and François


In the wake of yesterday’s highly anticipated tête-à-tête between Pope Francis and French President François Hollande, most post-mortems have focused on the differences between the Catholic Church and Hollande's Socialist government over “life issues” such as abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia.

The focus is understandable, in part because it was primarily those matters which induced more than 100,000 angry French Catholics to sign an on-line petition before the meeting imploring Francis to express their “profound malaise and growing concern”.

‘Immigrant Pope’ pope visits Rome’s immigrant parish


Pope Francis, who already profiles as the “immigrant pope” both due to his arriving in Rome from “the ends of the earth,” as he said on the night of his election, and because of his strong advocacy on behalf of migrants and refugees, made another clear statement of solidarity Jan. 19 by visiting a Roman parish known for outreach to immigrants and the poor.

Anatomy of a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't Vatican denial


We have a new winner in the sweepstakes for shortest shelf-life of any Vatican denial of a news story ever, with the nearly instantaneous retraction Jan. 17 of a statement disputing an Associated Press report that almost 400 priests had been defrocked in 2011/2012 in cases involving sexual abuse.

The denial was issued by Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, at 9:31 pm Rome time last night and retracted at 10:32 pm, which means that it survived barely an hour.



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February 10-23, 2017