Category Archives: Vatican

Habemus Papam! Pope Francis!

It’s incredible the surprises the Holy Spirit has in store for us! The first non-european pope. A Jesuit who has chosen the name Francis. The first original pope name since Pope Lando in 914(!). I know better than to form opinions so early — I’m in a euphoria of joy and excitement. Let’s let the [...]

JP in Rome: Inside the “SalSta”

Nero. Black smoke. The next smoke signal is expected sometime this evening. It could come around the 5 o’clock hour; but, if there is smoke before 7pm Rome time, then that means we have a new pope. Should that happen, I have to book it into the square. Bottom line: We’re on deck, folks. So, [...]

The Science of Holy Smoke: Conclave Messaging Secrets Revealed!

This morning, a friend of mine who lives in Rome posted the following observation on Facebook: Looking up at the chimney on the Sistine Chapel this morning, I began to see the problem with creating recognisably black smoke in weather like this. With the light grey of the overcast, any solid, including smoke particles, are [...]

We Happy Few: The Great Privilege of Being Catholic Today

  This morning, like most everyone else in the Catholic world, I’m living my life half focused on my own duties and responsibilities, and half focused on a somewhat wobbly camera shot of an old smokestack on a Vatican roof. That smokestack has become just about the most important thing in my world today, and [...]

A Prayerful Exercise

I was on Fox News earlier today as part of their live coverage of the opening of the conclave. You can watch it here. Watch the latest video at

JP in Rome: At the Last Mass Before the Conclave [UPDATED]

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please scroll down to see an important update from JP! Ahead of this morning’s Missa Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice, faithful streamed into St. Peter’s square. A sizeable number of them started arriving before dawn. Lines heading into the basilica circled around the square at least once. Young pilgrims constituted the largest group attending [...]

“It is a dangerous time. Pray for us.”

In certain Catholic circles, there has been no small amount of alarm over Pope Emeritus Benedict’s abdication, and the possible circumstances that precipitated it. Those who have always looked to Benedict as a dauntless pillar of strength in a very tumultuous period for the Church found it suspicious that he would step down from his [...]

The Body and Soul of the New Evangelization: The Heart of the Conclave’s Task

  Bureaucracy isn’t sexy. Bureaucratic reform only slightly less so. Yet, over the past week, that’s exactly the topic that’s had the press buzzing. Allen, Magister, Weigel, Palmo, Lawler, Moynihan, even the shleps at The New York Times—they’ve all focused on the same questions: To what extent does the Curia need reforming? Who can best [...]

Sorry, Cardinal Dolan, but your chances at the papacy are better.

One of Cardinal Dolan’s lines about his chances of being elected has been, “I have a better chance of taking A-Rod’s place as third baseman for the Yankees,” like at the end of his appearance on NBC’s Today Show back on February 28. Except that it’s not true. Granted, it’s just a line meant to [...]



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