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 […]

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 […]

Pope Francis’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras. Pope Francis’ to the Western Wall.

Vatican Watch – August/September 2014

May – Saturday 24 Pope arrives in Holy Land Pope Francis began a densely packed visit to the Holy Land with a call for religious freedom in the Middle East. “Religious freedom is, in fact, a fundamental human right,” the Pope said May 24 in Jordan. At Amman Mass, Pope Calls on Christians to Promote […]

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 […]

Irish artist Donald MacManus with one of his sculptures, St. Joseph and the Child Jesus. Below, art students at work in MacManus’ Florence studio. MacManus believes art can be at the service of the Christian message in an increasingly post-Christian world.

A “Vatican Academy of Art”

Walking the streets of Rome and visiting its palaces, one is continually reminded of sacred art’s glorious past. From Caravaggio’s moving depictions of conversion and calling, to Bernini’s magnificent columns and his sculpture of St. Teresa in Ecstasy, to Michelangelo’s masterful portrayal of the Last Judgment, pilgrims are beckoned by some of history’s greatest artists […]

Bernardito Auza.

People – August/September 2014

NOMINATIONS Pope Francis has named a Filipino archbishop who helped rebuild the church in Haiti after its devastating January 2010 earthquake, as the Holy See’s representative to the United Nations in New York. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, 55 the nuncio to Haiti, was appointed permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, replacing Indian […]

The Veil of Manoppello.

The Veil of Manoppello – An Unexpected Bridge to Judaism?

Welcome to Manoppello.  Rabbi Gabriel Hagaï: Thank you, Paul. You are Gabriel Hagaï, a Rabbi from Paris. Could you tell us a little bit more about your life? Well, I was born in Paris, but lived most of my life in Jerusalem, more than 20 years. I married there and all of my children were […]


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 […]

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri.

Interview: Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, on the Upcoming Synod on the Family

The family and its position in changing times such as ours will be at the center of the upcoming Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, to be held in the Vatican from October 5 through 19, at the specific and strongly-felt request of Pope Francis. Approximately 180 people will attend, mostly representatives of Bishops’ Conferences from around […]

Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Babylon.

The Christian Capital of Northern Iraq Falls

Qaroqosh, the Christian capital of Northern Iraq, the largest Christian city in the country, fell to an advancing Islamic terror army, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), during the night of August 6 to August 7. The Kurdish fighters (the Peshmerga) and Assyrian allies defending the city decided they could not assure the safety […]

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 […]

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Books, Art & People

Msgr. Brian Ferme.

People – June/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 […]

"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, […]


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”). […]

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