Society

Pope Offers A Sumptuous Palace To The Homeless Of Rome

VATICAN CITY — While several Vatican buildings are embroiled in scandal, a few meters away from the colonnade of St. Peter's Square the "Palazzo Migliori" is becoming a symbol of goodness and generosity. Pope Francis has effectively "donated" it to the poor. Various entrepreneurs were interested in acquiring it and transforming it into a five-star hotel, but instead it has been transformed into a dormitory for the "invisibles of the night," the homeless who find refuge by wrapping themselves in wool blankets or cardboard boxes.

"We've restored dignity to the destitute through beauty," said Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who oversees the Vatican's office of Pontifical charity.

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Why Hasn't The Pope Visited His Native Argentina?

Francis has traveled the world and proven himself to be an able messenger of peace. But so far, he's avoided his home country, where his unifying spirit is sorely needed.

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — Since he began his papacy more than four years ago, Pope Francis has traveled frequently, visiting countries of all shapes and sizes, from the powerful United States and France to more overlooked places like Sri Lanka and Bosnia.

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Argentine Pope Meets Argentine President, Awkward Again?

After a chilly first encounter, President Mauricio Macri and Pope Francis, both from Argentina but from different ends of the ideological spectrum, are set to meet again.

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES â€" As President Mauricio Macri prepares to meet with Pope Francis in Rome, attention continues to focus on the first frosty encounter between the two influential Argentines, last winter.

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Refugees, The Moral Failure Of Poland’s Leaders

The recent visit by Pope Francis highlighted how little Polish leaders care about the emergency of Europe's refugee crisis.

-OpEd-

WARSAW â€" The current Polish government is not fit to have talks with the leaders of the modern world â€" be it Barack Obama or Pope Francis.

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Geopolitics

In Argentina, "Social Fridges" Curb Food Waste And Feed The Hungry

TUCUMÁN â€" Pope Francis declared war on waste months ago. Now, three of his kinsmen in northern Argentina have developed an idea to keep perfectly good food from being tossed and to help the hungry at the same time: "social fridges" where people can leave "neat portions" of leftover food.

The initiative was launched in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán and social fridges have also been installed in Salta and Jujuy, following an idea by restaurant owners Fernando Ríos Kissner, Luis Ponda and Daniela Viñas.

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Geopolitics
Richard Roa

Pope Francis v. President Macri: A Simmering Argentine Beef

A combination of political differences, bungling of protocol and lack of sensitivity seem to have further gnarled relations between Argentine President Mauricio Macri and fellow countryman Pope Francis.

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES â€" Words are only one way we communicate. So much can be said with silence. There are gestures, glances, the time we give someone and the posture we strike when we do. No words were necessary to see that Pope Francis and his kinsman, conservative Argentine President Mauricio Macri, didn't see eye to eye in their recent meeting that some described as "frosty."

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Geopolitics
Ricardo Roa

Why Are The Argentine Pope And President Ignoring Each Other?

The most friendly of pontiffs, Argentine-born Pope Francis has yet to speak to just-elected President Mauricio Macri. Maybe a rude remark by one of Macri's aides is to blame.

BUENOS AIRES â€" Something seems amiss between Argentina's new president, Mauricio Macri, and the Argentine-born Pope Francis. All the world's diplomatic corps have extended their congratulations to Macri â€" all but the Vatican's. So many have offered comments on the first steps in government, but not Jorge Bergoglio, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires who has made informality and cordiality his personal style. Not a word yet from the pontiff about Macri.

The reason given so far has been so formalistic as to beggar belief: The Vatican says the pontiff does not call to greet a recently elected president. Francis is many things, but one thing he is not is wedded to protocol. He calls people and sends e-mails left, right and center. Inevitably, his silence with Macri is provoking murmurings through the Argentine halls of power that are difficult to silence.

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Society
Andrej Mrevlje

Pope Francis, A Shrewd Political Leader Comes To Washington

Depending on his audience, the pontiff's messages vary. On a historic visit to the U.S., President Obama and the whole world will be listening carefully.

NEW YORK â€" There is something very special about the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church traveling abroad. Especially when the white-clad holy figure comes to visit the United States, the country of evil. At least, that's how America is seen in the eyes of very conservative Catholics and growing numbers of the non-American left. And that's what the pope himself calls capitalism â€" dung of the devil!

This contrast of opposite notions become material when "the Good" Pope Francis steps on American soil and is greeted by President Barack Obama, the representative of "evil." The American writer Timothy Egan also draws this dichotomy between Pope Francis and Donald Trump, the quintessential American evil, in his piece, The Anti-Trump Cometh. "In a few weeks, Pope Francis will visit our fair land, a fitting pivot from the Summer of Trump, closing out a gluttonous episode of narcissism, rudeness, frivolity and xenophobia," Egan writes. "For all that the orangutan-haired vulgarian has done to elevate the worst human traits a public figure can have, Francis is the anti-Trump. He has more power, media magnetism and authenticity in his lone functioning lung than Donald Trump has in his entire empire of ego."

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Society
María Mónica Monsalve

Colombian Farmers Turn To Pope In Dispute With Big Oil

After Colombian Energy Giant Mansarovar announced plans for oil exploration around one of Colombia's natural reserves, local farmers asked Pope Francis to intervene.

BOGOTÁ â€" What can a few Colombian farmers do in the face of a major oil company's announcement that it plans to survey in their backyards? Given their government's reluctance to protect ordinary citizens against major interests, they decided to write to Pope Francis, who has turned environmental protection into a papal crusade.

Peasants and plot owners from the village of San Pedro de Guajaray, southeast of Bogotá, sent a letter to the Argentine-born pope last month to tell him "of the situation oppressing us as a community and as Christians, to do with the destruction of our ecosystem by multinationals intent on extracting resources."

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Society
Juan Carlos Botero

Where Pope Francis Has Failed: On Women's Equality

BOGOTA — It is no easy task trying to talk about the errors of Pope Francis. The achievements of Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio, both in words and deeds, have been frankly quite startling.

Acts of humility by the Supreme Pontiff have had a tremendous public impact, like kneeling to wash and kiss the feet of prisoners, including a Muslim woman, or officially recognizing the Palestinian state. He has generously stretched his hands out to atheists and raised it unstintingly to excommunicate the Italian mafia.

Before ongoing, eternal doubts on homosexuality, instead of stating an opinion and calling it an "abomination" as the Bible does and as popes have done for centuries, he responded with a more inclusive and understanding attitude. "Who am I to judge?" he said.

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Geopolitics
Romina Smith

Argentine Historian Finds Pope's Real Birthplace Home

Exclusive: A historian has identified Pope Francis' birthplace in Buenos Aires, after false reports of where he was born circulated following his election last year.

BUENOS AIRES — Until recently, Pope Francis was reported to have been born at No. 531 Membrillar Street in the district of Flores in Buenos Aires. You would think he might have checked his address, but it took a local historian, Daniel Vargas, to investigate and locate his correct birth and childhood address nearby, at Varela 268, also in the capital's Flores zone.

Some now want the simple but pleasant-looking white building, with an air conditioning unit sticking out of the façade, to be registered as a city monument.

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Society
Andrea Tornielli

Papal Work Ethic: From 4:45 AM Wakeup, Portrait Of A Tireless Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY — To the priests who invited him to take a vacation with them, the late Cardinal Alberto Idelfonso Schuster of Milan replied, smiling, that there would be plenty of time for that in the afterlife.

Pope Francis — the Jesuit whose agenda would wear out any 40-something — seems to be inspired by the same model as Cardinal Schuster, even though his 77 years constrain him sometimes, as happened last Friday when his visit to Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli hospital was cancelled.

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Society
Julios Blanck

Argentina's Politicians Latch On To Homegrown Pope

Argentine politicians may not all have liked Jorge Bergoglio when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. But from President Kirchner to her potential successors, all want a piece of the pontiff.

BUENOS AIRES — It may sound harsh to accuse someone of hanging onto the Pope’s cassock, but when it comes to Argentina’s top politicians, it’s hard to put it any other way.

And why not? After a year in the papacy, Pope Francis’ moral stature is a new north star for politicians back here in his native country. His personal approval rating in Argentina — 93%, according to the recent poll by Poliarquía — is something other public figures can only dream about. What politician could refuse a little extra sheen for his or her lackluster image, cast by a brilliant sun shining on Argentina and the world?

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Society
Franco Garelli

Modernity Of Faith: Inside Pope Francis' Radical New Vision For Catholicism

-Analysis-

VATICAN CITY — The pope who came from “almost the ends of the earth” continues to spread his message of hope, secure in the knowledge that the proclamation of the Gospel has much to offer men and women of our times. By no means should we believe that modernity will bring the end of Christianity, as many scholars and men of the Church have long predicted or feared.

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The Next Pope
Katarzyna Wiśniewska

Poland's Church Struggles To Follow Pope Francis' Message Of Humility -- And Poverty

Some members of the hierarchy of the Polish Catholic Church seem to have troubled practicing what the new pontiff preaches.

WARSAW - What is wrong with this new Pope? When after the conclave, one of the priests was about to put a cape lined in miniver on the pontiff's back, the message from Francis was essentially: No, the Carnival is over.

Pope Francis doesn’t preach the enigmatic and at the same time the ultimately undemanding “idea of destitution.” Instead, he speaks straight from the heart: he wants a poor Church, for poor people.

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The Next Pope
Gernot Facius and Lucas Wiegelmann

The Vatican's Most Dashing Man, But Can Don Giorgio Stay Among Its Most Powerful?

He was Benedict XVI's right-hand man, and now runs daily operations for Francis, but it's still not clear where German-born Georg Ganswein fits into other power struggles in Rome.

VATICAN CITY - In Nov. 2011 the press got wind of the fact that the Catholic Church in Germany owned Weltbild, a publishing company that had some 2,500 erotic and esoteric titles in its range.

Shortly after the story broke, a memo in Italian by the former Pope’s private secretary, German-born Georg Gänswein, read: "The Holy Father has decided this needs to be dealt with immediately." That same November, the German bishops announced their intention to sell the company “without delay.”

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