Ever decreasing

John the Baptist, “the greatest of the prophets”, teaches us a fundamental rule of Christian life: humble ourselves so that Jesus may grow. This is “God’s approach”, as opposed to “mankind’s approach”, as the Pope pointed out during Mass at Santa Marta on Friday morning, 5 February. In the day’s Gospel passage, Mark writes that […]

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Letter #8, 2016: The Pope and Kirill Will Meet in Cuba

February 5, 2016, Friday — Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill Will Meet in Cuba on February 12, 2016. IMPORTANT PRESS COMMUNIQUE FROM THE VATICAN Joint Press Release of the Holy See and of the Patriarchate of Moscow The Holy See and the Patriarchate of Moscow are pleased to announce that, by the grace of God, […]

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Complementarity of Justice, Mercy

‘Someone might ask me the question: “But Father, Pilate merited his condemnation? Did God will it? – No! God wanted to save Pilate and also Judas, all! He, the Lord of Mercy, wants to save all! The problem is letting Him enter the heart.’ Sacred Scripture presents God to us as infinite mercy, but also […]

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Thinking of Death Helps Us Realize What Matters in Life

‘When I pass away, what inheritance will I leave?’ This is the question Pope Francis has called on faithful to contemplate during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican Radio. He urged those gathered to contemplate the end of their lives to help them better understand if they are properly living their […]

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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

‘One who lives this encounter becomes a witness and makes possible the encounter for others; and makes him also a promoter of the culture of encounter, avoiding self-reference that makes us remain closed in ourselves.’ Today, before our eyes is a simple, humble and great event: Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the Temple of […]

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Andrea Tornielli

11. Luis Badilla and 12. Andrea Tornielli – Two Catholic journalists bring the Vatican to the world

Luis Badilla, editorial director for Il Sismografo (The Seismograph), a leading blogspot for Vatican-related and worldwide Catholic news, has been covering the Catholic world for a quarter-century from Rome. He is a Chilean ex-patriate and veteran reporter for Vatican Radio who began his website in 2009. Badilla has been described as “not old, but having […]

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Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea of Bucharest

2. Dr. Maria-Anca Cernea

The two Catholic Churches in the country of Romania —the Latin-rite Catholic Church in Romania and the Byzantine-rite Romanian Church United with Rome (Greek-Catholic) — both experienced a particularly vicious brand of persecution during four decades of Communist rule in the 20th century. Almost all the Catholic bishops in the country, of both rites, and […]

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6. Father Dhiya Azziz, OFM

The story of the Iraqi Franciscan friar Dhiya Azziz, OFM, the parish priest of the Syrian village of Yacoubieh, with whom all contact was lost on December 23 when he was abducted (he was released in early January), is, characteristically for that area of the world, filled with uncertainty. Fr. Azziz, 41, a native of […]

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10. Sr. Elaine Roulet

Known as the “Prison Angel,” Sister of St. Joseph Elaine Roulet anticipated Pope Francis’ special attention to prisoners by decades when she began as a prison family liaison in 1971. For more than 35 years she rose at 4 a.m., prayed from 4 to 5, went to Mass, swam at a local pool and then, […]

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Salvatore Cordileone

1. Salvatore Cordileone

The U.S. city most identified with the homosexual movement, San Francisco, saw fierce criticism in 2015 of its Catholic archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, by many of its citizens, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. The subject at hand was a teacher contract and handbook proposed for teachers in San Francisco’s four diocesan high schools. […]

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Cardinal Robert Sarah

9. Cardinal Robert Sarah

In the 2015 Synod on the Family, like its predecessor in 2014, the prelates from Africa emerged as a formidable force upholding Church Tradition, in doctrine and in practice. And among those prelates, Guinean, 70, Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has been a particularly outspoken crusader for […]

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4. Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire and 5. Kim Davis -Both have suffered for their opposition to government mandates

The Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who care for the indigent elderly, urged the Supreme Court on January 4, 2016, to protect them from $70 million in government fines for refusing to violate their Catholic faith. This is the second time the Sisters, under the leadership of Mother Provincial Loraine […]

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Father Tikhon Shevkunov

3. Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov

On October 24, 2015, on the feast day, in the Russian Orthodox calendar, of the Synaxis of Optina Elders, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia consecrated Father Tikhon Shevkunov, Archimandrite (abbot) of Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery, as Bishop of Egorevesk, Vicariate of the Moscow Patriarchate. Gerogiy Shevkunov, now 57, was baptized in 1982 […]

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8. Leah Libresco

A quote from Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia — “It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong” — ended the post in which atheist-turned-Catholic blogger and Yale University student Leah Libresco, then 22, announced her startling conversion to Catholicism in 2012. The quote is emblematic of the […]

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Books, Art & People


Laudato Si’ Francis: We Face “A Complex Crisis Which is Both Social and Environmental”

By Marie I. George, Ph.D. I intend to focus primarily on two aspects of Pope Francis’ lengthy and much discussed encyclical Laudato Si’: its continuity with and development of Catholic teaching on the environment, and the life-style changes it urges upon us. First a brief overview: The encyclical is divided into six chapters, the first […]

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Laudato Si’ Francis Defends the Entire “Environment”

…not just the natural environment, but also the human environment. The Church’s social teaching, he says, “is called to be enriched by taking up new challenges” “Laudato si’, mi Signore, cum tucte le Tue creature” introduces a recurring theme in St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Sun, one of the first — if not […]

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The Roman Curia: Necessary Bureaucracy, Object of Reform

The Vatican That the Pope Leads The Roman Curia is an ensemble of administrative bodies assisting the Successor of Peter as he exercises his supreme pastoral office for the good of the Church throughout the world. It is an important, needed “apparatus” in service to the mission of the Bishop of Rome and of the […]

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Outside Giolitti’s

Food For Thought

Like pizza (covered in our January 2015 issue), pasta, espresso coffee, and gelato are quintessential Italian foods. Gel­ato is the Italian word for ice cream, derived from the Latin word gelatus, meaning frozen. Gelato can be made with milk, cream, various sugars and flavorings such as fresh fruit and nut purees. It is generally lower […]

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In the end, the Lord of the vineyard sent his own son, but the farmers killed him


By Maria Pia Carriquiry Gomez “A love which draws near and restores dignity” When I read this homily of Pope Francis, I had in my mind the words that the Pope said to the prisoners of the Reform Center of Santa Cruz-Palmasola, where he recently went during his July trip to South America. The Pope presented himself, […]

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