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The Next Pope


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.


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.


BUENOS AIRES — 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.


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

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food / travel

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

TUCUMÁN 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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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.


BUENOS AIRES — 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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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 — 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 — 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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The Next Pope
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 — 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 — 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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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 — 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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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.

He has contributed to the renewal of ties between the United States and Cuba, and denounced the economic model of capitalism that offers no compassion for the less fortunate. He eschews the pomp that power bestows and lives in modesty and simplicity, asking his colleagues to renounce the deceptive lure of luxury to devote themselves to the needy.
He has not hesitated to call the massacres of Armenians "genocide," nor to cleanse the Vatican"s finances, demanding transparency in its investments. Employees suspected of corruption have been dismissed, and secret accounts used for massive money laundering revealed.
Let it be said that the pope was expected to behave just like his predecessors. The fact that he has turned out to be an exception speaks well of him and badly of the Roman Curia, where it appears people with Francis' scrupulous honesty and humility are actually very few.
So what is Pope Francis"s mistake? Sadly, it's a big one, brought to light recently when he denounced the inequality of wages between men and women. What he said was right, of course: There is no justification for paying someone less than another person to do the same job merely because of gender. In the European Union, a woman earns 16% less than her male colleagues, and in the U.S., she earns 77 cents for every dollar paid to a man.
The pope called this inequality a scandal. But if he is right, his own comments are perhaps not so much an error as an act of incoherence, since he heads one of the world's most sexist institutions. There is no reason why women should not officiate mass as they do, perfectly well, in the Episcopal Church, or become priests, cardinals, bishops and even pope.
Female leadership, so necessary and fruitful in the worlds of finance, politics, sports and design, remains banned in an institution that declares itself the defender of Christian morality. This incoherence has proved costly to the Vatican, and it is time for this humane and revolutionary pope to apply his reformism to the matter of the place of women in the Church. Only good things would follow.
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food / travel
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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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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