Letter #11, 2015: Matins in Norcia

April 17, 2015, Friday — Matins in Norcia “Christ Jesus, high priest of the new and eternal covenant, taking human nature, introduced into this earthly exile that hymn which is sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven. He joins the entire community of mankind to Himself, associating it with His own singing of […]


On Obedience: “We must obey God rather than men”

At Santa Marta on Thursday morning, Francis offered Mass for Benedict XVI on his 88th birthday, inviting the faithful present to join him in praying “that the Lord sustain him and grant him much joy and happiness”. In his homily, the Pontiff spoke of obedience, a prominent theme in the day’s liturgy. He began by […]


Letter #10, 2015: Benedict Turns 88

April 16, 2015, Thursday — Benedict Turns 88 “Preparing for one’s death means preparing to meet God.” —Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, speaking with an Italian television station this week, on how an elderly Emeritus Pope Benedict is spending his time preparing for death. The Emeritus Pope turned 88 today Today, April 16, Emeritus Pope Benedict turned […]


On Christian courage: “The real protagonist is the Holy Spirit. He is the only one capable of giving us this grace of courage to proclaim Jesus Christ”

The Holy Spirit alone gives us the “strength to proclaim Jesus Christ up to the final testimony”. And the Spirit “comes from whatever place, like the wind”. In his homily during Mass at Santa Marta on Monday, 13 April, Pope Francis addressed the theme of “Christian courage” which is a “grace the Holy Spirit gives”. […]


Pope Francis Becomes A Sommelier So Can You

Food For Thought

Pope Francis received a delegation of some 180 Italian wine producers, vintners, sommeliers (wine stewards) and wine writers on January 21 at his Wednesday morning general audience in Vatican City’s Palazzo Nervi. The meeting was organized by Franco Ricci, head of the Fondazione Italiana Sommelier (The Italian Sommelier Association). “The idea of asking for a […]



In these homilies, Pope Francis encourages us to renew our faith. He encourages us to go out to be “workers for the Kingdom.” He encourages us to go on a search for Christ, to have “restless hearts” until we find Him. Each of us needs to ask: What do I seek? Am I truly in […]

People display signs in Los Angeles at a demonstartion before the National Human Traffickin Awareness Day  last month.

Vatican Watch March 2015

MONDAY 26 Just as Mary gave the world Jesus, women hand on the faith, pope says Why is it, Pope Francis asked today, that so many women are the ones who hand down the faith generation after generation? “Quite simply, because it was a woman who brought us Jesus,” he said. “It’s the path Jesus […]

Archbishop Bruno Musaro.

People March 2015

New Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt appointed Pope Francis has named 66-year-old Italian Archbishop Bruno Musarò to be the new Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt and Delegate to the League of Arab States. Archbishop Musarò was formerly the Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba from August 2011 to February 5, 2015. He takes over his new office from Archbishop […]

The anthropid Coffin of Butehamon, an Egyptian royal scribe during the 21st century.

The Vatican Mummy Project and its Discoveries

The art treasures of the Vatican — from all ages and of many cultures — are to be found in 10 pontifical museums, often erroneously referred to as the “Vatican Museum” in the singular. Less well-known than the Raphael Rooms, Borgia Apartments and the world’s largest collection of ancient Greek and Roman art, but nonetheless […]

Could Putting “Mercy First” Ahead of “Rules and Doctrines” Be Dangerous?

There is, in Buenos Aires, a “papal tour” bus that takes visitors around places linked to the life of Jorge Bergoglio, from those of his youth—his baptismal church, family home, and schools—to those of his adulthood: a seminary where he recuperated after his life was saved at age 21, and the cathedral seat of once-Archbishop Bergoglio. Austen Ivereigh is well […]

A Superficial and Biased Book on the Vatican Bank

Gerald Posner has published what he claims is an “extensively researched” study of the Vatican’s bank. However, the first 14 chapters of the book (out of 43) deal with the pontificates of Popes Pius XI (1922-1939) and Pius XII (1939-1958) and their banker, Bernardino Nogara, a period of history I have studied for many years. […]

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Books, Art & People

Francis of Assisi: “Never Will I Cease”

The Compilatio Assisiensis, or Assisi Compilation, is a hagiographic work from the 13th century, generally thought to be “difficult” because of its fragmentary nature and the particular structure of its text. But it is a document of inestimable worth, being one of the most authentic testimonies concerning St. Francis of Assisi and the origins of […]

Urbi et Orbi Section

We continue our series on the spirituality and practices of Eastern Christianity by looking at liturgical themes of the penitential season of “Great Lent” The Crucifixion Icon – By Robert Wiesner Any time is a good time to contemplate the saving cross of Jesus Christ, but Lent is an especially appropriate season to take a close […]

Pope Francis during one of his in-flight conferences.

“Ideological Colonization” in Lord of the World

Monsignor Luigi Negri comments on Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson’s apocalyptic novel, repeatedly cited by Pope Francis. On his way home from the Philippines in January, Pope Francis made time, as is his habit, to speak with journalists. Responding to one question about the concept of “ideological colonization” he had mentioned during his meeting with families […]

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