Opening archives won’t settle debate over Pius XII and the Holocaust

Whatever else Pope Francis’ decision on Monday, March 4 to open the archives from the pontificate of Pius XII in 2020 may mean, there’s one preliminary conclusion that seems take-it-to-the-bank, no-doubt-about-it, slam-dunk certain. Here it is: opening the archives will not – indeed, by definition, cannot – settle the historical controversy about Pius XII and…

Checking expectations for February child abuse summit

Letter from Rome   Under any circumstances, the announcement in September that Pope Francis plans to convene a summit on February 21-24 for all the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world, along with the Vatican’s senior leadership, to discuss the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the Church would have been big news. After the…

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Is it now bishops versus everyone else?

Letter from Rome   Moments of great crisis generally affect institutions in multiple ways, some of which are immediately evident and others that take longer to discern. Amid the clerical abuse scandals currently rocking Catholicism, it’s worth asking if one such long-term result is playing out before our eyes. To wit, are we seeing a…

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Abuse bombshell effects Church’s ability to help children

Letter from Rome   A scandal’s impact can be measured multiple ways, with the most obvious being the toll it takes in terms of bad press, litigation and settlements, declining attendance or market share, as well as disillusionment and outrage among the rank and file. What’s often harder to assess is the opportunity cost – what…

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Pope Francis and Donald Trump’s problem with Putin

Letter from Rome   US President Donald Trump spent most of last week desperately trying to spin his controversial summit with Vladimir Putin [pictured below] as a breakthrough, despite widespread impressions of near-total capitulation on the question of Russian interference in the 2016 election. “The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the…

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