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."
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