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Will there be brotherly love in Philadelphia next September? Giampiero Sposito/Reuters

Pope Francis’s ‘American problem’

In late November, the Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis is going to visit the United States of America for the World Meeting of Families that will take place in Philadelphia at the end of September 2015…
They are listening but whose side are they on? Max Rossi/Reuters

The tectonic plates of world Catholicism shift

An extraordinary two weeks in Rome ended Saturday with a standing ovation. Pope Francis had invited 191 bishops and clergy to the Synod on the family to speak their minds on issues such as divorce, premarital…
The extraordinary synod of bishops on family is meeting for two weeks at the Vatican. EPA/L'Osservatore Romano

Pope sets off a ‘gay earthquake’? No, the church has hardly moved

A report of debate from the first half of the extraordinary synod of Catholic bishops meeting in Rome has been described as a “pastoral earthquake” and a “seismic shift in Rome” for praising gay relationships…
Throughout his recent royal commission appearance, Catholic cardinal George Pell focused on the ‘choices’ that victims of abuse make. AAP/Paul Miller

Moral responsibility a drive-by victim of Pell’s view of the church

Cardinal George Pell’s appearance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will do little to rehabilitate his image in the eyes of clergy abuse victims. Via video link…
Crowd-pleaser: Pope Francis I. EPA/Chung Sung-Jun

After 65 years, is China finally ready to embrace the Pope?

Pope Francis flew over China on his way to South Korea late last week, where the Catholic Church has seen rapid growth in the last decade. Papal custom is to send a telegram to the leaders of nations over…
What is distinctive about the Catholic Church that might have fostered child abuse? David Goehring

With child abuse, we need to talk about original sin

The statistics attached to the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have confirmed what many people suspected – that while child abuse has been widespread…
Pope Francis argues that the poor are at the heart of the Gospel and it’s the communists who have ‘stolen the flag’. EPA/Nicola Lanese

Is the Pope Catholic or communist when he speaks out on poverty?

A blog in The Economist recently accused Pope Francis of following the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, in adopting an “ultra-radical line” on capitalism. The blog, “Francis, capitalism and…
George Pell isn’t a personal devotee of new media, but he sees their value for spreading the word. AAP/Paul Miller

Can the Vatican go viral? George Pell’s communication challenge

Imagine you were playing with your phone while you waited for the World Cup final to get underway and you suddenly saw a photo of the Pope Emeritus eating popcorn with the current Pontiff on your timeline…
The idea may seem ‘old-fashioned’, says Pope Francis, ‘But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here … even in the 21st century!’ EPA/Maurizio Brambatti

What is Pope Francis on about with all this talk of Satan and evil?

Pope Francis’ discussion of the devil (or Satan) has been greeted with surprise by many. Why would a “progressive” Pope speak about an “old-school”, passé topic like the devil? Has not the Catholic Church…
John XXIII and John Paul II: most recent popes to join the ranks of saints. Mario Fornasari/Flickr

Standards for sainthood: what defines a ‘miracle’?

Popes John Paul II and John XXIII were declared saints by Pope Francis last Sunday. So what were the “miracles” necessary for John Paul’s sainthood, and how likely was it they really occurred? Almost 40…
George Pell explained his actions in the landmark Ellis sex abuse case to the Royal Commission by saying he was relying on legal advice. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Pell was wrong to blame the lawyers, but they aren’t blameless

When counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse put it to Cardinal George Pell last week that his lawyers weren’t his moral advisors, she was implying that he…
Cardinal George Pell reportedly led Catholic Church lobbying of the government to abolish the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission. AAP/Dean Lewins

Charitable treatment by regulator belies church complaints

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) was created by the former federal Labor government and began operation in December 2012. It is so new that some charities are yet to be required…
Whatever one makes of George Pell’s legacy, the Catholic Church in Australia must tackle challenges on several fronts without one of its dominant figures of recent times. AAP/Paul Miller

A daunting task or radical opportunity? The Catholic Church’s challenges in Australia

With the recent appointment of Cardinal George Pell to Rome, the Catholic Church in Australia will lose a dominant figure. While there are criticisms, his influence and legacy are broad ranging. Pell’s…
He didn’t get Rush Limbaugh’s vote, that’s for sure. Agência Brasil

Person of the year Pope Francis reminds us of our nobler side

Pope Francis has been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for “pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets”. He beat nine others including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Bashar…

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