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Vatican Library to Unveil Millions of Pages Online

And they'll be free to view

(Newser) - Today, viewing one of the Vatican Apostolic Library's 82,000 manuscripts—some almost 2,000 years old—requires a scholarly application and a trip to the Vatican. Until now, allowing just anyone to see the documents "would be like putting a child with a paintbrush in front of... More »

Popes' Canonization Will Be Francis' Style: Low-Key

Newly no-frills Vatican plans subdued saint-making ceremony

(Newser) - When in Rome, apparently do as the current pontiff does: The low-frills style of Pope Francis is having an effect on the upcoming canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. Organizers of the event say the April 27 saint-making ceremony is going to be a much more sober... More »

Most Unusually, Pope Confesses in Public

Visits priest during St. Peter's service

(Newser) - At a service in St. Peter's Basilica yesterday, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of confession—and, in a rare move for a pope, made his own confession in public. As he was being shown to an empty booth to hear others confess, he instead headed to a booth already... More »

Obama Meets Pope, Gives Him Seeds

President tells Francis, 'I'm a great admirer'

(Newser) - President Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican today with the pontiff he considers a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality. Their historic nearly hourlong first meeting comes as Obama's administration and the church remain deeply split on... More »

Germany Busts Cocaine-Stuffed Condoms Headed for the Vatican

German Customs made kind of an eyebrow-raising discovery

(Newser) - Let the party-at-the-Vatican jokes begin: German Customs authorities have intercepted a package of 14 condoms filled with cocaine and headed for the Vatican, reports RTE via Bild. The condoms contained about 12 ounces of the drug, worth an estimated $55,000. As the AP reports, the package was mailed from... More »

Francis: Church Could Be OK With Gay Unions

Plus: He finds that 'superpope' myth offensive

(Newser) - As an Argentine cardinal, Jorge Bergoglio backed gay civil unions , and Pope Francis is signaling in an interview that the Catholic Church as a whole could tolerate at least some of them. While maintaining the church's position that "marriage is between a man and a woman," Francis... More »

Ex-Pope: 'Absurd' to Think I Was Forced Out

A year after resignation, pope responds to rumors

(Newser) - With rumors swirling regarding why the former Pope Benedict left his post almost exactly one year ago to become pope emeritus, the man himself has spoken out. Responding to a Vatican Insider journalist's letter with a brief letter of his own, Benedict calls "speculations" on the matter "... More »

Vatican City Beats Every Country—at Drinking Wine

Consumes more wine per capita than any other country

(Newser) - If you're a big fan of wine and would like to be surrounded by apparently like-minded people, consider moving to Vatican City. Despite its small size, or perhaps because of it, it manages to consume more wine per capita than any other country, according to the Wine Institute. How... More »

Vatican Gets First Overhaul in 25 Years

Move brings lay experts into the world of the Vatican's finances

(Newser) - Pope Francis today announced the first major shake-up in 25 years to what the AP terms the Vatican's "outdated and inefficient bureaucracy," in a move designed to bring outside experts into the murky world of Vatican finances. Reuters reports that Francis used a Motu Proprio—a document... More »

Pope's Problem: Catholics Can't Agree on Anything

Church houses a diverse crowd that varies widely on social issues: William Saletan

(Newser) - Based on recent poll results, you might think the Catholic Church needs to shift to the left. After all, Univision finds that 54% of US Catholics back same-sex marriage, 59% support women as priests, and 76% believe abortion should in some cases be allowed; in fact, "on every issue,... More »

UN Rips Vatican: You Failed Kids, Saved Sex Abusers

Church 'regrets' that panel is interfering with its teaching

(Newser) - The United Nations is hammering the Vatican for what a panel calls a failure to fully address sex abuse in the Catholic Church. "The Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests,"... More »

Pope Francis Scores Rolling Stone Cover

Plus: Rome graffiti shows him as Superman

(Newser) - Pope Francis, pop culture icon? So it seems. He's the 266th pope to hold his job—but the first to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone, NDTV notes. The magazine's article , by Mark Binelli, calls Francis "a man whose obvious humility, empathy and, above all, devotion... More »

Bird Thugs Attack Pope's 'Peace Doves'

Seagull, crow apparently didn't get the peace memo

(Newser) - It was supposed to be a nice moment: Pope Francis, in the course of calling for calm in the Ukraine today, had a couple of little kids release two doves over St. Peter's Square in a gesture of peace. But apparently in the animal world, as in the human... More »

Pope May Visit Philadelphia, NYC Next Year

He might attend families forum, address UN

(Newser) - It looks like Pope Francis is coming to the US next year. The National Catholic Reporter quotes Vatican sources as saying Francis hopes to attend the 2015 World Meeting of Families, which runs from Sept. 22-27 in Philadelphia. But don't expect confirmation until the event draws near, part of... More »

'Secret Gay Society' Imperils Pope: Ex-Swiss Guard

Elmar Mader accepts homosexuals but questions their loyalty

(Newser) - A gay lobby indeed exists at the Vatican and may pose a threat to Pope Francis, a former commander of the Swiss Guard tells a Swiss newspaper. "I cannot refute the claim that there is a network of homosexuals," said Elmar Mader, a Guard commandant from 2002 to... More »

Crowds Exploded Under Pope Francis

Pope drew 6.6M to Vatican in 2013

(Newser) - Pope Francis drew more than 6.6 million people to his audiences, Masses, and other Vatican events in 2013, more than twice as many as his predecessor Benedict XVI did in his first year as pope in 2005—2.85 million. The statistics released yesterday cover only events held at... More »

Francis Cheers Jesus' Humble Start

Pope celebrates first Christmas Eve mass at Vatican

(Newser) - The Vatican's popular new guy is celebrating his first Christmas Eve mass at St. Peter's Basilica, and Pope Francis took the occasion to continue to draw from his themes of humility and charity toward society's poor and vulnerable. Emphasizing Jesus Christ's quite humble beginnings, he said,... More »

Pope Drops Conservative US Cardinal, Brings in Moderate

Part of his move to make church more accepting, watchers say

(Newser) - Pope Francis has removed a conservative US cardinal from the Congregation for Bishops, a top Vatican committee. Taking Cardinal Raymond Burke's place is a more moderate American from Washington. Burke, who is a firm opponent of abortion and gay marriage, will stay on as prefect of the highest Vatican... More »

Amid Overhaul, Vatican Bank Finds 100 Fishy Transactions

1K customers asked to leave

(Newser) - Last year, the Vatican bank detected six suspicious transactions; this year, that figure has soared to more than 100 amid a reform effort, an official tells the Los Angeles Times . That work, headed by Swiss financial expert Rene Bruelhart, also involves asking 1,000 account holders at the bank to... More »

Pope Francis: A Nun Saved My Life

New book describes his early treatment for lung problems

(Newser) - Pope Francis is alive today thanks to a nun who he says "had an intuition" and "knew what to do," according to a new book by a longtime Vatican journalist. Francis expressed his gratitude for a nun who took care of him when he was ill as... More »

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