There are thousands of saints recognized by the Catholic Church. But canonization, the process of declaring a person a saint, requires a long, rigorous and expensive process. Just outside Buffalo in Lackawanna, New York, Our Lady of Victory Basilica is midway through that process for Father Nelson Baker. Father Baker was ordained in 1876 and spent nearly his entire ministry at that church where he developed a small orphanage and a school.
It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists when Benito Mussolini's party ruled over Italy in the 1920s and '30s. But in The Pope and Mussolini, David Kertzer says the historical record and a trove of recently released archives tell a very different story.
It's fascinating, Kertzer tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, "how in a very brief period of time, Mussolini came to realize the importance of enlisting the pope's support."
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 6:13 pm
In a period of just over two years, Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests for molesting children, according to the AP, which says it obtained a document representing a rare collection of such data.
As of Friday afternoon, NPR hasn't independently confirmed the AP's information, not having seen the document. Here's a bit of context from NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome:
"If confirmed, the number of nearly 400 marks a sharp increase over the 170 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of defrocked priests.
A light fog engulfs St. Peter's Basilica's dome at the Vatican on Saturday. The Vatican came in for tough public scrutiny over its handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal at a U.N. hearing in Geneva on Thursday.
Credit Gregorio Borgia / AP
Former Vatican Chief Prosecutor of Clerical Sexual Abuse Charles Scicluna, appearing at the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, on Thursday.
Credit Martial Trezzini / EPA/Landov
Bishop Francis Kane, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago, at a news conference on Wednesday in Chicago.
Pope Francis began his papacy in March. In his first year as pope, columnist James Carroll says, Francis has put unprecedented focus on "the dilemma of the vast majority of human beings who simply don't have enough to live decently."
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Pilgrims and residents gather on Copacabana beach before the arrival of Pope Francis for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July.
Credit Felipe Dana / AP
Pope Francis blesses a child during the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in October.
"Who am I to judge?" With those five words, Pope Francis "stepped away from the disapproving tone, the explicit moralizing typical of popes and bishops," writes columnist James Carroll. Francis made that statement in July, in response to a reporter's question about the status of gay priests in the Church.
Pope Francis continues to shake up the Vatican establishment. This time, in what observers are calling a major move, he reshuffled the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important organizations in the Vatican.
In the biggest shakeup announced on Monday, Francis removed Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the group and replaced him with another American, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C..
Time magazine has dubbed Pope Francis its Person of the Year, calling him "The People's Pope." This title comes weeks after he criticized aspects of the global economy and "unbridled consumerism" in a document called an apostolic exhortation. Host Michel Martin recently spoke with a group of practicing Catholics about how Pope Francis has inspired them in their faith.
Author Michael Sean Winters: What the pope's exhortation puts into focus