Letter #42, 2015: Mortality

October 7, 2015, Wednesday — Mortality “Every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes.” —Pope Francis, on Thursday, September 24, in his address to the U.S. Congress during his visit to America; he called for the “global […]

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Letter #41, 2015: The One Thing

October 5, 2015, Monday — The One Thing “And he comes, moving slowly like a serpent, and makes those three proposals to Jesus: “If you are God, son of God, there are stones, you’re hungry, change them into bread”; “If you are the Son of God, why so much effort? Come with me to the […]

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Letter #40, 2015: Homily on St. Michael

October 3, 2015, Saturday — Homily on St. Michael and the Temptations of the Devil “If we go to the account of the temptations of Jesus, we never find a single word of his own. Jesus does not respond with his own words, he responds with the words of Scripture, all three times.” —Pope Francis, […]

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Letter #39, 2015: Further Thoughts

Further Thoughts As I write this, a man in an Oklahoma prison is about to be executed for a murder he claims he did not commit. Pope Francis has asked for his life to be spared. His name is Richard Glossip. At this late moment, it is not likely that his execution will be stayed, […]

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Pope Francis listens as he takes questions from journalists aboard his flight from Philadelphia to Rome Sept. 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-USCUBA-PLANE Sept. 28, 2015.

Letter #38, 2015: Kim and Francis

            September 29, 2015, Tuesday — Kim and Francis “For there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come to light.” —Luke 8:17 “Holy Father, you visited the Little Sisters of the Poor and we were told that […]

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Letter #37, 2015: Out of Germany

September 18, 2015, Friday — Out of Germany The danger of a division in the Roman Catholic Church — of a schism — is being “mentioned” increasingly in press reports on the eve of October 4-25 Bishops’ Synod on Marriage and the Family in Rome. Now, an article in German which calls on the Catholic […]

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Reflections on the Family: The Universal Family: “The merciful protection of God in the dealings of man and woman never fails”

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! This is our final reflection on the subject of marriage and the family. We are on the eve of beautiful and demanding events, which are directly connected with this great subject: the World Meeting of Families at Philadelphia and the Synod of Bishops here in Rome. Both have a […]

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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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The late Cardinal Baum in a 1996 photo by Grzegorz Galazka, published in the book Cardinali Del Terzo Millennio by the Vatican Press.


Cardinal William W. Baum, longest-serving US cardinal, witnessed and made history. May he rest in peace. Cardinal William W. Baum, the archbishop of Washington from 1973 to 1980, died on July 23 at the age of 88 after a long illness. He was a cardinal for 39 years — the longest such tenure in US […]

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Archbishop Charles Chaput

Open To All

An excerpt from a statement by Archbishop Charles Chaput, Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, on the Pope’s visit to the 2015 World Meeting of Families. This moment is an historic and exhilarating one for all of us to share. It is the answer to the countless prayers of so many people who have asked […]

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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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Books, Art & People


The Family and Life, Two New Series from the Vatican Press

The family is “one of the most precious goods of humanity,” St. John Paul II said in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. And today, the family is more than ever at the center of the concern and attention of the Church. Pope Francis has decided to dedicate two Synods of Bishops to the family — […]

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19th-century statue of St. Paul made of gilt metal.

“Vatican Splendors” A Journey Through Faith and Art

Organized and circulated in conjunction with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples of the Holy See, Vatican Splendors is a multi-sensory touring exhibition of some 200 works of art and historically significant objects from the Vatican. “Most of them are hundreds of years old. Many have never left the Vatican before,” Mark Greenberg, President […]

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The Holy Family by Philadelphia artist Neilson Carlin, part of the official image for the gathering

World Meeting of Families

An array of enriching events, exciting speakers and beautiful catechesis to bring light and strength to the Christian family St. John Paul II, recognizing the in­creasing challenges to the family in contemporary times, inaugurated the World Meeting of Families in 1994 to explore and celebrate the critical role of the family in society. Now held […]

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“Our Nation Has Suffered a Loss of Virtue and Honor”

By Thomas John Paprocki Homily, “Fortnight for Freedom” Mass, June 28, 2015 My dear brothers and sisters in Christ: In his classic book Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, eighteenth-century historian Edward Gibbon wrote about the waning days of the empire during the fifth century in these words: “The Roman government appeared less and […]

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July 4, 2015, Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI receives an award from the Academy of Music and the Pontifical University "John Paul II" of Krakow, Poland. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow here embraces the former pontiff (Galazka photo)

Music Originates in “The Encounter with the Divine”

In a surprising July 4 public address, Pope Emeritus Benedict discusses the quest for beauty in the arts, especially in music, and praises faith-inspired Western music. Here is the text… Pope Emeritus Benedict is an accomplished musician and an articulate apologist for the quest for beauty in the arts, and particularly in sacred music. He […]

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