Letter from Rome: Following in anti-populist footsteps

Although right-wing populist Matteo Salvini is now Italy’s undisputed political leader after his Lega party finished in first place in last week’s European elections, he doesn’t bask in universal acclaim. Among other expressions of disapproval, some Italians who reject his anti-immigrant, anti-outsider rhetoric have taken to showing up at his rallies and other events dressed…

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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