Women need not be priests to lead church, Francis says in new book

ROME — Pope Francis has strongly defended his record on naming women to positions of authority at the Vatican, saying in a new book that women do not need to be priests to serve as leaders in the global Catholic Church. In the volume Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, being released Dec. 1, the pontiff points especially to his 2016 appointment of Italian Barbara Jatta to lead the Vatican Museums and to several other women he has named as under-secretaries of Vatican departments.

Vatican's explosive McCarrick report largely places blame on John Paul II

VATICAN CITY — In an explosive report that calls into question the decision-making of three Catholic popes, the Vatican has revealed a series of institutional failures that led to the repeated promotion of now disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite rumors of his alleged sexual misconduct with young men as early as the 1990s. The Vatican places an abundance of responsibility on Pope John Paul II, who appointed McCarrick as archbishop of Washington in 2000 and made him a cardinal in 2001.

Will the 13 new cardinals come to Rome during a pandemic?

ROME — Pope Francis' Oct. 25 announcement that he would be creating new Catholic cardinals next month came the same day the Italian government mandated a new "semi-lockdown" for the country's population, urging people not to travel outside their communities because of sharply increasing coronavirus infection numbers. What are the 13 men now set to be inducted into the church's most select body of prelates during a Vatican ceremony Nov. 28 to do?

Research in Pius XII archives highlights another figure: future Paul VI

VATICAN CITY — When the Vatican opened its archive of materials related to the 19-year papacy of Pope Pius XII for the first time earlier this year, historians certainly expected to focus on a range of controversial questions surrounding the wartime pontiff's record during the Holocaust. But new research in the archives appears to be placing the focus, at least partially, onto another figure entirely: Msgr. Giovanni Montini, who served as one of Pius' most influential Vatican advisers before later becoming Pope Paul VI.

Pope's post-COVID encyclical envisions a less populist, less capitalist world

VATICAN CITY— Laying out a comprehensive vision for how the world should change after the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis imagines societies that are more caring, more focused on helping those in need and fundamentally less attached to the principles of market capitalism. In a lengthy and wide-ranging encyclical letter released Oct. 4, the pontiff says the continuing global health crisis makes it "all the more urgent that we rethink our styles of life."

Vatican's Cardinal Becciu renounces the cardinalate in shocking move

VATICAN CITY — One of the highest-ranking cardinals in the Catholic Church resigned his Vatican post unexpectedly Sept. 24, with the city-state giving no explanation for the dismissal. In a surprise bulletin late in Rome, the Vatican said Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu had both left his position as head of office responsible for overseeing Catholic sainthood causes and renounced "the rights connected to the cardinalate."

Liturgical federation proposes temporary ban on Communion on the tongue

Days after the U.S. bishops' conference forwarded a set of suggestions for how Catholic prelates might restart the public celebration of the Mass during the coronavirus pandemic, the national organization of diocesan liturgical officials has published its own separate set of recommendations. The guidelines from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions differ from those offered by the bishops on one major point: whether Catholics should be allowed to receive Communion on the tongue. Wh

US bishops' guidelines for reopening Mass: groups of 10, sanitizer during Communion

The U.S. bishops' conference has forwarded a set of recommendations to Catholic prelates across the country, proposing various paths forward for how they might restart the public celebration of the Mass in their dioceses despite the continued fear of the spread of the coronavirus. In an April 30 memorandum obtained by NCR, Archbishop Leonard Blair, head of the bishops' Committee on Divine Worship, suggests the prelates consider a series of guidelines prepared by the Thomistic Institute at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington.

Confession by Zoom? Pandemic revives conversation about reconciling from afar

The social distancing measures imposed on most of the world's population during the coronavirus pandemic have not only prevented Catholics from going in person to celebrate the Mass, but have also largely put a stop to the practice of confession. This new reality, especially serious for those suffering from the virus or nearing the end of their lives, has revived conversation around a basic question: Why can't we do this by phone?

Several members of new Vatican commission appear opposed to women deacons

Most of the members of Pope Francis' new commission to study the ordaining of women as deacons in the Catholic Church appear not to have focused on the matter in their scholarly work. And the few with publications in that research area seem to have expressed blunt skepticism that the women who served as deacons in the early centuries of the church had roles analogous to those of male deacons, then or today.
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