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 […]

Father Pancrazio Pfeiffer, General Superior of the Salvatorians (1915-1945).

Palazzo Cardinal Cesi – a hotel in the heart of christendom

As mentioned in May’s “Food For Thought,” Palazzo Cardinal Cesi is a sister, but not the twin, of Residenza Paolo VI. Both founded as hotels and still managed by Hans-Albert Courtial, they have a similar number of rooms with every amenity at similar prices (depending on the season) and both offer an American breakfast, snack […]

Angelo Sodano's book "Chiesa e riforme, una chiesa de amare".

Cardinal Sodano on inward and outward reform of the church

The Vatican Press has just published, in Italian, a small but quite interesting book by Cardinal Angelo Sodano on the topic of Church reforms in general and Curial reforms in particular. Given the emphasis on Church and Curial reform in this first year and a half of Pope Francis’ pontificate, and given the position of […]

May 4, Pope Francis visits the Church of St. Stanislaus, the church of the Polish community of Rome. At the end of the visit, the Holy Father greeted the faithful who waited for him along the Via delle Botteghe Oscure.

Vatican Watch – June/July

MAY Thursday 1 New commission on abuse prevention A new papal commission for protecting minors from sexual abuse met today for the first time to discuss its mandate and expand input from more countries. Pope Francis established the “Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors” in December. The commission’s May 1-3 meetings are being held […]

Msgr. Brian Ferme.

People – Juny/July 2014

NOMINATIONS Thanks to Francis’ firm decision to continue the work Benedict XVI began before him, Mary Collins, an Irish woman who was abused by a priest when she was just 13 years old, has been nominated a member of the Holy See’s new anti-pedophilia commission. A woman who was abused in the Church as a […]

Here, Bodmer Papyrus XXIV, Page 24 (K), late 3rd – early 4th century.
Bottom, miniature depicting St. Mark the Evangelist and the Baptism of Christ opening the Gospel of Mark, Four Gospels with Kephalaia, in Greek, copied by Manuel Hagiostephanites for John of Crete, archbishop of Cyprus, dated 1156 (Ardon Bar Hama photo).

How God’s word spread geographically

“The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner.” —William Cameron Townsend (1896-1982) Prominent Christian missionary in South America and founder of the Wycliffe Bible Translators and The Summer Institute of Linguistics This spring in the Braccio di Carlomagno (Charlemagne’s Wing) at the top […]

The Chancellor of Germany since 2005, Angela Merkel, and Italy’s new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Marcello Pera, on his friendship with Joseph Ratzinger

Who is Marcello Pera? A seventy-one-year-old Italian philosopher and politician, known for his friendship with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, which began during Pera’s years as president of the Italian Senate (2001-2006). They continue to be good friends, and will in fact be meeting this month at the Mater Ecclesiae Mon­astery within the Vatican walls: theirs is […]


"Christ the Consoler" by Danish painter Carl Bloch (1834-1890).

Understanding Francis – an essay

The great British Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “It is a paradox of history that each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.” In other words, the message that we most need is often the one we least want to hear. This is no doubt the case with our present pontiff, […]

“Pray for me” were the first words Pope Francis spoke in public on the evening he was elected, March 13, 2013. This was his first significant action as Pope — to ask for prayers.

Interview with Professor Guzman Carriquiry on Francis

Professor Guzman Carriquiry Lecour has served the Holy See for 43 years. He recently celebrated his 70th birthday (April 20, congratulations!). He is currently secretary of the Holy See’s Pontifical Commission for Latin America — the first layperson to serve in that role (since May 2011), just as he was the first ever layperson to […]

a collage by our graphic designer, Giuseppe Sabatelli, centering on the cross, to signify that this symbol of death, ugliness and disgrace became a symbol of grace, beauty and new life.

How the cross became a symbol of grace, not disgrace

Many who have visited the second extraordinary Vatican exhibition of ancient biblical manuscripts entitled Verbum Domini (“The Word of the Lord”) at the Braccio di Carlo Magno (Charlemagne Wing) next to St. Peter’s Basilica (the first one was held in 2012) may not have been aware that the efforts of the organizers, including the American, […]


Franics in the Holy Land – faith and religious freedom

MAY 24, 2014 AMMAN, Jordan Pope, Arriving in Holy Land, Calls for Religious Freedom in Middle East Pope Francis began a densely packed visit to the Holy Land with a call for religious freedom in the Middle East, including respect for the right to change one’s religion. “Religious freedom is, in fact, a fundamental human […]

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Books, Art & People


Food for thought – Hotel Michelangelo

Built in 1959 for the 1960 Summer Olympics held in Rome, 4-star Hotel Michelangelo (Via della Stazione di San Pietro 14), like “La Vittoria” and “Il Cantico” (reviewed in the previous two issues of Inside the Vatican) is on the Trastevere side of St. Peter’s Square, directly across the wide street, Via della Porta Cavalleggeri, […]

The Archives of the Venerable Archconfraternity of Misericordia in Florence.

A unique exhibition

On until April 27 in the Neoclassical, chandeliered Sala Bianca (White Hall) of the Palatine Gallery in Florence’s Pitti Palace, where fashion shows are usually held, is a first-of-its kind exhibition, “Una volta nella vita: Tesori dagli archivi e dalle biblioteche di Firenze” (“Once in a Lifetime: Treasures from the Archives and Libraries in Florence”). […]

The wonderful view from Residenza Paolo VI.

Residenza Paolo VI – at the very heart of Christendom

On his first trip to Rome with his parish priest during the late 1960s, Hans-Albert Courtial, then a young student from Limburg, Germany, had a life-changing encounter at a small audience in St. Peter’s Basilica with Pope Paul VI. He almost missed the event because it was raining, his public bus skipped a run, and […]

The unusual Vatican Press book display centered on a "cupola of books" in the shape of Michelangelo's cupola above St. Peter's Basilica.

Holy See honored at Turin book fair

More than 1,000 different books spread out on tables in the shadow of a great dome constructed out of books in the shape of the cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica. Such was the Holy See’s booth at the Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino (Turin International Book Fair) which this year made the Holy See […]

Karl Rahner.

From Bergoglio to Francis

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio never personally met Msgr. Luigi Giussani, but it is undeniable that, on a more ideal plane, this encounter did in fact occur. Bergoglio had the opportunity to present works by Giussani in Spanish four times in Buenos Aires: in 1999 El Sentido Religioso (The Religious Sense), in 2001 El atractivo de […]

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