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Vatican Dispatch
Shock Waves in Rome
October 20, 2014
Gerard O'Connell
The house arrest of the former nuncio, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, on Sept. 23, sent tremors through the ecclesiastical establishment in the Vatican and worldwide.
Never before in the history of the Vatican City State had a senior archbishop been arrested for the sexual abuse of minors and possession of a considerable quantity of pornographic material involving minors. The Vatican could arrest him because he was a Holy See...
Francis the Diplomat
October 13, 2014
Gerard O'Connell
Pope Francis has a highly original approach to problems in the diplomatic field. This has emerged clearly in public on at least two separate occasions over the past six months; first in relation to Israel and Palestine and, more recently, in relation to China.
In this week’s Vatican Dispatch I want to take a first look at Francis’ originality, as I think it may help us understand a little better how he operates in other fields...
Pope Moves to Protect Minors
October 6, 2014
Gerard O'Connell
Pope Francis established the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors on Dec. 5, 2013, to make clear to the whole world that the safeguarding of children and minors is a top priority of his pontificate. His recent appointment of Msgr. Robert Oliver as secretary of this commission is a welcome signal that this new body will soon begin to function in an effective way.
Bit by Bit, A World at War
September 29. 2014
Gerard O'Connell
On the flight back from Korea in mid-August, Pope Francis drew the media’s attention to the level of cruelty in today’s world and the widespread use of torture. He urged reporters to reflect on this reality, which “should frighten us,” obviously wanting them to play their part in ending it.
China: Yes and No to Francis
September 22, 2014
Gerard O'Connell
Most of the international media reported that China allowed Pope Francis to fly through its airspace to and from Korea in August. They also informed their global audiences that Francis expressed his wish for good relations with Beijing and his ardent desire to visit there “tomorrow.”
The same media, however, gave little visibility to other aspects of the somewhat complex Sino-Vatican relation in regard to Francis’ visit to...
Francis Wins Korean Hearts
September 15, 2014
Gerard O'Connell
‘The Catholic Church in Korea has hit the jackpot with Pope Francis!” That’s what Thomas Hong-Soon Han told me in Seoul as the pontiff’s amazingly successful visit ended. He believes many Koreans will now want to join the church because of Francis, but he’s not sure it’s prepared for this.
Han knows the situation well, having been president of Korea’s Catholic Lay Apostolate Council (2005-10) and South Korea’s ambassador to...
Following Francis
Sept. 1-8, 2014
Gerard O'Connell
Francis, the first Jesuit pope in history, is a missionary. Like his fellow Jesuits Francis Xavier and Matteo Ricci before him, he passionately desires to share “the joy of the Gospel” with the peoples of Asia, a continent with a rich diversity of peoples, religions and cultures, where 60 percent of the world’s population lives, among them a tiny Christian minority.
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