SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Christopher R. Altieri

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October 10, 2019
The Vatican police “raided” offices in the Secretariat of State and the financial oversight office known as the Financial Information Authority (AIF) last week. Five officials were suspended: four lay people and one monsignor. The incident made headlines, and then fell off the radar pretty quickly. Why? Part of the reason is that it has
October 10, 2019
The Vatican issued a statement today flatly rejecting a report from a senior Italian journalist who is an atheist and a personal friend of Pope Francis, which claimed on Wednesday that the Holy Father had denied the divinity of Jesus. The statement came from Dr Paolo Ruffini, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications, at
October 09, 2019
If one thing has become abundantly clear over the past several days, it is that the Synod of Bishops is not (even) a debating society. The rules governing proceedings in the full chamber are carefully crafted, and are being enforced to ensure that no actual debate takes place. Rather, there is talking in turns —
October 08, 2019
So, the first full day of the special synod assembly for the Amazon region is come and gone. Pope Francis addressed the synod fathers yesterday morning, offering them encouragement couched in his signature homespun and warning against careless communication of the doings inside the synod hall. “[A] process like that of a synod can be
October 04, 2019
Pope Francis has decided — for now, at least — not to activate his signature reform law in the case of Bishop Richard Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo in western New York. Instead, the Pope has opted to order the Bishop of Brooklyn, New York, to look into matters in Buffalo. Why the Pope
October 03, 2019
If there were a way to convey in a single sentence what is needed amid all the talk of schism, it would be, “Everybody calm down: Things aren’t as bad as they seem; they’re worse.” Since Pope Francis dropped the “S-word” in response to a question from the New York Times in early September, there
September 26, 2019
Tensions between Rome and the German bishops are high at the moment, with repeated warnings from several high-ranking curial officials and one strongly worded letter from Pope Francis having thus far gone unheeded. Led by the president of their conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, the German bishops continue their pursuit of a
September 24, 2019
Interesting times just got more interesting, as the Fall plenary of the German bishops’ conference opened in Fulda, Germany, with a message from the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Nikola Eterović, which did not mince words when it came to the German bishops’ controversial plans for a “binding synodal path”, on which they are scheduled to vote
September 19, 2019
The Australian state of Victoria has passed a new mandatory reporting law, which does not respect the Seal of the Confessional. The bill had broad support among legislators, and passed the upper house comfortably. Premier Daniel Andrews remarked: “The most important thing is to send a message that the law is to be taken seriously.
September 19, 2019
Sandro Magister, the veteran vaticanista for Italy’s L’Espresso, wrote a column last week headlined “In the Amazon Married Deacons Are Already Saying Mass. And the Pope Knows It”. That’s splashy, to say the least. The story got a good deal of the play one might expect, in most of the places one would expect it
September 18, 2019
Vatican City’s chief prosecutor has handed down criminal indictments against two priests in connection with sexual abuse allegedly committed at the Preseminario Pio X, a minor seminary located inside Vatican City. The Press Office of the Holy See announced the formal charges on Tuesday afternoon, in a statement that named two men: the accused abuser,
September 12, 2019
The Buffalo crisis, involving as it does the world’s biggest media market, New York City, is at once an opportunity to allay fears regarding the “Metropolitan system” Pope Francis put in place in June – so called because it makes metropolitan archbishops responsible for conducting investigations into subordinate bishops – and a potential disaster if Church leaders botch it.
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