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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Vatican
Weeks after al-Qaeda-linked rebels seized the Christian town of Maaloula in northwest Syria, they now have captured Sednaya, an Aramaic-speaking village to the north of Damascus.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has emerged from his self-imposed silence inside the Vatican walls to publish a lengthy letter to one of Italy's most well-known atheists. In it, he denies having covered up for sexually abusive priests and discusses everything from evolution to the figure of Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis told prelates Saturday to shun the "logic of human power," pressing his campaign to root out corruption and other wrongdoing from the Vatican's scandal-tainted power structures.
The Vatican on Tuesday rushed to deny the contents of a television broadcast that appeared to show Pope Francis performing an exorcism on a wheelchair-bound boy.
One of the Vatican's main Twitter accounts and the website of its communications office were running stories about Batman on Thursday with the headline "Holy Switcheroo!" _ raising concerns they might have been hacked.
Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by the Vatican's papal conclave last week after five rounds of voting. He took the name Pope Francis -- after St. Francis of Assisi, the revered Italian friar who founded the Franciscan Order -- and became the first Jesuit and first leader from the Americas of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
On the eve of their conclave to select a new pope, cardinals held their final debate Monday over whether the Catholic Church needs a manager to clean up the Vatican or a pastor to inspire the faithful at a time of crisis.
Cardinals in Rome for the conclave to elect the next pope received a briefing on the Holy See's finances Thursday amid questions about the Vatican bureaucracy and continued suspicions about its bank.
While papal resignations are extremely rare, there are precedents in the two-millennia history of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI broke centuries of precedent Monday by resigning the papacy because of issues of old age, surprising the globe's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics and prompting speculation that the next pope will be the first non-European to lead the church in modern times.
When Pope Benedict XVI announced last month he was transferring his respected sex crimes prosecutor to Malta to become a bishop, Vatican watchers immediately questioned whether the Holy See's tough line on clerical abuse was going soft — and if another outspoken cleric was being punished for doing his job too well.
The pope's butler was convicted Saturday of stealing the pontiff's private documents and leaking them to a journalist in the gravest Vatican security breach in recent memory. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the Vatican said a papal pardon was likely.
Members of the Vatican police force have said they found thousands of documents hidden inside the home of Pope Benedict XVI's former butler, including original documents signed by the pope with indications they should be destroyed.
There was a time when a Vatican trial could end with a heretic being burned at the stake. Paolo Gabriele doesn't risk nearly as dire a fate, but he and the Holy See face a very public airing over the gravest security breach in the Vatican's recent history following the theft and leaking of the pope's personal papers.
There was a time when a Vatican trial could end with a heretic being burned at the stake.
"Scicluna embodied the zero-tolerance line on sex abuse," veteran Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli wrote recently.
"The judges have never received pressure to decide in one direction or another," he told reporters at a Vatican briefing Thursday. "The pope can't tell the tribunal what to do."