Letter #12: President Obama on the Meeting with Francis

NOTE: I have just received a call to go on a national US television program for about 7 minutes this evening to discuss the Obama-Pope Francis meeting. The program is the O’Reilly Factor at 8 p.m. Eastern time, with Bill O’Reilly on the Fox network. So, unless there is some change, I should be on […]


Letter #11: Francis & President Obama

The two were scheduled to meet for just half an hour, but their private discussion lasted 52 minutes. At the end, they exchanged gifts, with the Pope offering Obama two medallions and a copy of his apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel [Evangelii Gaudium]. “You know, I actually will probably read this when I’m in the […]

Vassule Ryden with Pope Benedict XVI

Vassula Rydén’s messages reviewed by Cardinal

To purchase the January issue containing this article, click here. Vassilikì Claudia Pendakis, commonly called Vassula, married Rydén, is mainly known through her messages published in more than 50 language versions in the True Life in God (TLIG) books. She claims that these messages, written in a handwriting which is different from her own, are dictated […]

Letter #36, 2014: Pope Francis: “The family is the foundation”

November 17, 2014, Monday — Francis: “The family is the foundation” “We need answers, not more questions and discussion… We need doctrineclarified — not blurred! The Synod  has abandoned faithful, loyal Catholics—- who have been trying to defend their Faith under the onslaught of the media and the anti-Catholic, secular world culture. The Synod is, in fact, giving ammunition to those […]

Letter #35, 2014: The Choice

November 16, 2014, Sunday — The Choice Emails regarding my two most recent letters on the Bishops’ Synod on the Family have continued to flood in — some 300 of them, more than on any other letters over the past eight years since I began sending out these reports. Many are very critical. Others are supportive. Here […]

Letter #34, 2014: The Third “Revelatory Moment”

November 15, 2014, Saturday — The Third Revelatory Moment (Continued from Letter #33 of November 14) The letter I sent yesterday, on the controversial Kasper-Pentin interview ofOctober 14, which I called the second “revelatory moment” of the October Bishops’ Synod, generated more anger and criticism than any letter I have ever written. Dozens of people […]

Letter #33, 2014: Francis Has His Hand on the Tiller

November 14, 2014, Friday — Francis Has His Hand On The Tiller — And He Will Not Change Doctrine (Continued from Letter #31 of October 21) Greetings from Rome. I left off the last letter, almost a month ago, saying I would explain why the mid-October conversation between Cardinal Walter Kasper and British journalist Edward […]

Letter #32, 2014: Helen, Rest in Peace

October 22, 2014, Wednesday — Helen, Rest in Peace First Feast Day of St. John Paul II I received this message below from my friend, the Catholic writer Andrew Rabel, of Melbourne, Australia. It seemed to be worth sharing. Dear friends, Very last last night, I received some sad news. That Mrs. Helen Hitchcock of […]

Letter #31, 2014: Revelatory Moments

October 21, 2014, Tuesday — Revelatory Moment There were many dramatic and fascinating moments at the Bishops’ Synod (October 5-19). But three “revelatory moments” stand out. The first concerns Cardinal Peter Erdo and Archbishop Bruno Forte. The second concerns Cardinal Walter Kasper and journalist Edward Pentin. And the third concerns Pope Francis and the one […]

Letter #30, 2014: Light from the East

October 20, 2014, Monday — Light from the East The leadership of the Roman Catholic Church has just spent two weeks considering fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of marriage and the family. These two weeks are only the beginning of a conversation which will continue for another year, until October 2015, when another […]


Heinz Beck.

Heinz Beck – Rome’s only chef with three Michelin stars

In 1993 Hans Fritz, the German director of Rome’s Cavalieri Hilton, asked Heinz Winkler, the chef, restaurateur/owner of “Tan­tris,” the only Munich restaurant with three Michelin stars (and still today the owner of the three-starred “Residenz Heinz Winkler” in Aschau), to recommend a talented protégé to become Executive Chef for a still-to-open Hilton rooftop restaurant. Job […]


People – October 2014

NOMINATIONS AND MEETINGS Pope names five women to International Theological Commission Pope Francis, who has said the Catholic Church has “not yet come up with a profound theology of womanhood,” named five women, a record number, to the International Theological Commission. One of the women is U.S. Mercy Sister Prudence Allen, former chair of the philosophy department at St. […]

The interior of the "Chapel of the Relics".

SACRED SPLENDOR: Treasures of Palazzo Pitti’s “Chapel of the Relics”

The majestic Palazzo Pitti in the oltrarno, the neighborhood across the river from “downtown” Florence, was originally built for the ambitious banker Luca Pitti (1398-1472). The vast scale of this mainly Renaissance building, begun in 1457, mirrored Pitti’s determination to outrival the political clout and cultural grandeur of the Medici family, once his allies and […]

Raphael’s The Miraculous Draught of Fishes in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Papal gastronomy since St. Peter

Two years ago, at a market stall near Vatican City, I bought three illustrated cookbooks published only in Italian as supplements of the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana: La Cucina dei Pellegrini, La Cucina dei Papi, and La Cucina dei Santi (The Cuisine of Pilgrims, The Cuisine of Popes, The Cuisine of Saints). Part of an […]

sickness and death.
Top, Christ in the House of Martha and Mary: Christ will raise Lazarus in the presence of his entire family.

Seven centuries of magisterial teaching on marriage and the family

The Pontifical Council for the Family has come out — just in time for the Synod — with a monumental compendium of magisterial teaching on marriage and the family: an Enchiridion della famiglia e della vita (a “Handbook for the Family and for Life”). The work is published by the Vatican Press. The chief editor […]

The young Michael Davies.

A writer to cherish

A reflection on the life and work of British Catholic author Michael Davies on the 10th Anniversary of his death. Leo Darroch served as President of the International Una Voce Federation — a Catholic group in support of the old Latin rite of the Mass — from 2007 to 2013. This text is based on […]

Pope Paul VI.

Paul IV and Catholic social thought

Famous for Humanae Vitae, Paul VI left us a central work for Catholic social teaching.  Paul VI is most remembered today for his important, and controversial, encyclical on the regulation of birth—Humanae Vitae—where he reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on the immorality of contraception. Yet this is clearly not his only legacy as Pope. During his […]

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Books, Art & People

"Bishop Fulton J. Sheen - Mentor and Friend" by Hilary Franco.

An American bishop is declared venerable. But now, controversy…

In the late 1950s, a young priest from New York was befriended by the renowned TV personality Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. Young Fr. Hilary Franco soon became Bishop Sheen’s most trusted collaborator and friend. For several years, they even shared a house and chapel, served each other’s Masses, ate meals together and traveled the world […]

Pappardella Ripiena con Funghi Porcini alla Pescatora.

Hotel Capo d’Africa

This elegant four-star, four-story boutique hotel, Capo d’Africa, opened in 2003 in a turn-of-the-20th-century building once a school. It is located on a short, quiet street of the same name in the heart of Imperial and medieval Rome, where pagan blends into early Christian. From here it is a short walk to the Colosseum and […]

Portrait of Cardinal Baronio by Caravaggio’s School on loan from the Ufffizi Galleries 
in Florence.

How the Counter-Reformation Popes Brought New Hope

Like his 17th-century predecessors, Pope Francis is seeking to reform the Church by eliminating privilege and corruption, imploring peace in the world, and “giving voice to the cry of the poor.” Thus appropriately on display in Castel Sant’Angelo until November 16, to celebrate the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ papacy, is an exhibition of over […]

A scene from A Man For All Seasons, directed by Fred Zinnerman.

The Ten Best Films Ever Made

The following list does not pretend to be definitive. It is one man’s attempt, from a Catholic perspective, to present to the general public a list of moving, potentially life-changing films. I am persuaded of the power of cinema, its ability to influence lives in a profound, hopefully positive, way. So I chose these films […]

Il Parroco - Padre Michael McGivney e il Cattolicesimo Americano (the Paris Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism)

Father McGivney Prepared the Knights of Columbus to Help the Popes

Times were tough at the beginning, in the late 1800s. But soon the Knights of Columbus were growing strongly, and today they are a flourishing international associ­a­tion which currently counts 800,000 members in 15,000 circles throughout the United States, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, the Philippines and, recently, in Eastern Europe. The order’s founder was Father […]

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