Please support First Things by turning your adblocker off. Thanks!

“La Popessa” Speaks

She was called “La Popessa,” depicted as the iron lady of the Vatican, and said to have wielded more power in Rome than any woman in centuries. She is the subject of numerous books, movies, and even a musical—often more fiction than fact. But the real story of Mother Pascalina Lehnert—the life-long assistant to Pope Pius XII—is still not widely known. Now, thanks to the English translation of her memoirs, His Humble Servant, she speaks for herself, to a far larger audience. Continue Reading »

Wanted: A Synod of Affirmation

Pope Francis has called a special session of the Synod of Bishops, which will meet from October 5–19 and prepare the agenda for the ordinary session of the Synod that is scheduled for the fall of 2015; both sessions will focus on the family. In my view, the Synod should focus on two related themes: Marriage culture is in crisis throughout the world; the answer to that crisis is the Christian view of marriage as a covenant between man and woman in a communion of love, fidelity and fruitfulness. Continue Reading »

Memoirs of a Catholic Boyhood

The muddy Illinois River ranks among the least distinguished of the Mississippi’s tributaries, a brown expanse of water sliding past slippery banks strewn with refuse. From time to time, after heavy rains, the river jumps its traces. But such floods disrupt only momentarily the rhythm of life . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles