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“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 »

John XXIII and John Paul II

Pope Francis’s bold decisions to canonize Blessed John XXIII without the normal post-beatification miracle, and to link Good Pope John’s canonization ceremony to that of Blessed John Paul II, just may help reorient Catholic thinking about modern Catholic history. For what Francis is suggesting, I think, is that John XXIII and John Paul II are the twin bookends of the Second Vatican Council—and thus should be canonized together. Continue Reading »

Popes for All Seasons

God’s Representatives: The Eight Twentieth-century Popes by james bentleyconstable. 200 pages, £16.95 . Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes by eamon duffyyale university press. 500 pages, $23. The Papacy by paul johnson. edited by michael walsh wiedenfeld and . . . . Continue Reading »

A Roman Cautionary Tale

On July 6,1991, the Italian Jesuit biweekly, La Civilta Cattolica, published a lengthy editorial arguing that the just war tradition should no longer be considered normative in Catholic thinking about the ethics of war and peace. Those familiar with the ideological peregrinations of many members of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Popes and the Economy

Papal doctrine on political economy has long been misunderstood as well as mistrusted among those economic liberals who in the United States have the curious habit of calling themselves conservatives. The recent publication of John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus, commemorating as it does the . . . . Continue Reading »

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