Morning Briefing, Roman Style

Welcome to the Rome-centric version of your weekly international edition of the daily briefing, where we highlight the most recent news out of or about the Vatican.

Pope Francis told those at his first general audience of 2018 Jan. 3 that it's easier to point fingers and accuse others rather than admit your own faults. "It's difficult to admit being guilty, but it does so much good to confess with sincerity. But you must confess your own sins," said the pontiff.

Fr. Tom Reese reports that conservative Catholic dissidents are now not only attacking Pope Francis, but also his predecessor, retired Pope Benedict XVI. Two Italian philosophers have accused the former Fr. Joseph Ratzinger of embracing subjectivism in his 1968 book Introduction to Christianity.

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The newspaper of the Italian diocese where Paul VI was born reported at the end of last month that it appears the late pontiff will be canonized this year. "It will be the year of St. Paul VI," proclaimed a Dec. 21 headline in La Voce del Popolo in Brescia.

The new U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich, formally took up her role Dec. 22, presenting her credentials to Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican's apostolic palace. She introduced the pontiff to embassy staff and to her husband, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Religion Digital reports that Argentine President Mauricio Macri will not travel to neighboring Chile during Pope Francis' Jan. 15-18 visit to that country, unlike his predecessor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who traveled to see the pope when he visited Paraguay in 2015.

And in welcome to the future news, scientists in Rome have fitted a woman who lost her left hand in an accident years ago with the first bionic hand with a sense of touch.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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