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 […]

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 […]


Echevarria in 1978 between del Portillo and John Paul II (notice a young Fr. Stanislaw Dziwisz in the background on the left).

A new blessed

Wlodzimierz Redzioch speaks with Mons. Javier Echevarría, prelate of Opus Dei, about the beatification of St. Josemaría Escrivá’s first successor.  Many people remember the date of July 5, 2013: that was the day Pope Francis authorized the promulgation of the decree of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints re­garding the miracle attributed to the […]

Pope Francis greets a newlywed couple at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican January 8.

Upcoming Synod Must Address Family Disintegration

The following article, first published a month ago in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, is a brilliant exposition of the much larger problem of the family today: it is under attack from all sides.  Judging by the media reports on the Extraordinary Synod to be held in Rome this October, the bishops present will be mainly concerned […]

Cardinal Burke, right, and Cardinal Pell, left.

Scola: four solutions for the divorced and remarried

And the fourth is the newest: to entrust the verification of the validity of a marriage directly to the bishop or one of his delegates, in a nonjudicial forum. With the archbishop of Milan, there are now ten cardinals who have taken the field against the ideas of Cardinal Kasper. With the synod approaching, the […]

The hall that will host the Synod of Bishops on the Family, October 5-19. In the small photo, 
German Cardinal Walter Kasper, whose reflections have sparked controversy.

Analyzing Kasper’s vision

A special “Dossier” of reflections on some of the issues facing the Synod. The key point: we must support the family in every possible way. Cardinal Walter Kasper’s address to the College of Cardinals last February was intended to provide “a theological basis for the subsequent discussion among the cardinals” then meeting in Consistory in […]

Pope Francis meets the leaders of other religions and other Christian denominations at the Catholic University “Our Lady of Good Counsel”

Francis outside the Vatican

On First Trip to a European Country, Francis Moved to Tears Two survivors of Albania’s communist crackdown against the Church brought Pope Francis to tears with their stories during a vespers service in Tirana’s cathedral September 21. “To hear a martyr talk about his own martyrdom is intense,” the Pope told journalists on the papal […]

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Books, Art & People

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 […]

Pope Francis with Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.

Revisiting Descartes: “I love, therefore I am”

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, surveys the exciting and history-changing ideas of Pope John Paul II in his 2008 book A Civilization of Love. Based on St. John Paul II’s vision and also that of his successor, Benedict XVI, Anderson seeks to in­spire Christians to work toward creating a civilization of love. In such […]

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