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Latest Vatican Items
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.
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.
While papal resignations are extremely rare, there are precedents in the two-millennia history of the Roman Catholic Church.
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.
Since Sept. 11, those who supposedly run our government have spluttered with frustration over the lack of linguistic abilities among the agencies tasked with combating terrorism. I suggest that these worry-warts silence themselves for a few days and read Roger Dingman's fascinating account of how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps trained some 1,200 Americans — most of them not of Japanese ancestry — as Japanese language officers during World War II.