Morning Briefing, Roman Style

Rome — 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.

Earlier this week, the head of the Vatican's doctrinal office reaffirmed the Catholic Church's ban on the ordination of women as priests. Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria said in an article for Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the teaching has a "definitive character" and "is a truth belonging to the deposit of faith."

At his weekly general audience May 30, Pope Francis told Catholics to be grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit they received at their confirmation. "It is a gift to be cherished with care," said the pontiff, who was also treated to a performance by taekwondo athletes from South Korea.

Francis met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Vatican May 29. In speeches to an international conference sponsored by the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, the two leaders called on Christians to work together to build a culture of solidarity in the face of growing economic inequality.

The Vatican is taking part for the first time this year in the Venice Biennale, a prestigious architectural and art festival. Architecture magazine Dezeen explores the Vatican's entry, a series of ten chapels designed by different architects.  

Colombian Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, the controversial former prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and of the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission, died May 18. The New York Times has a lengthy obituary.

From our sister publication: A Place to Call Home, a new series focusing on women religious helping people who are homeless. Read more

Italy has been facing a political crisis after elections March 4 left the country's parliament without a party able to form a government. Nearly three months later, things have come to a head in recent days as President Sergio Mattarella blocked the formation of a populist coalition government over their plans to appoint a Eurosceptic finance minister.

The Washington Post wrote yesterday that the continuing crisis is a "gut punch" for Europe. The Guardian said that the European Union must now risk "real reform" to stem off further populist revolts. And The Atlantic argues that while Mattarella's move was good for short-term stability, "it's not great for democracy."

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

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