from Nicholas Wapshott:

The pope’s divisions

By Nicholas Wapshott
December 30, 2013

The political roundups of 2013 make little mention of perhaps the most important event to alter the political landscape in the last 12 months. It was not the incompetence of the Obamacare rollout -- though that will resonate beyond the November midterms. Nor was it House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) finally snapping at the Tea Party hounds who have been nipping at his heels.

from Photographers' Blog:

An island of religion in a sea of secularism

February 19, 2013

Warsaw, Poland

By Kacper Pempel

When Pope Benedict XVI announced last week that he was stepping down, the mood in my country, Poland, was overwhelming. This is one of the most devoutly Catholic countries in Europe, which still proudly identifies itself as the birthplace of Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II. On the day of the announcement my colleagues went to the church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw. The worshipers coming out of the church were in a state of shock. "It’s so sad. It’s such a shame. But what can we do? I can’t believe it,” said one woman as she left the Holy Cross church in the Polish capital, who gave her name as Maria. “I am very sorry because I really like the Pope. He is continuing the teachings of our Pope (John Paul II).” Janusz, another worshiper, said: “I don’t think it’s true. In my opinion it would not be a good solution. It would definitely be a huge pity for Poles and Catholics.”

Pope slams selfish food speculators, urges curbs on world commodity markets

July 1, 2011

(Traders in the Corn options pit at the CME Group signal orders shortly before the closing bell in Chicago, February 11, 2011/Frank Polich )

“If I were Pope Benedict, this is what I’d tell them in Berlin …”

June 27, 2011

(The Reichstag building, seat of the German Bundestag in Berlin, where Pope Benedict will deliver a speech on September 22. Picture taken on November 22, 2010/Pawel Kopczynski )

Spanish Catholic priests criticise corporate sponsorships for papal visit

By Reuters Staff
June 22, 2011

(Advertisements from an electricity company covers scaffolding at one end of the Bernini Colonnade, as a crowd listens to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican June 14, 2009/Chris Helgren)

Liberal U.S. Catholics say their Church is not listening

By Reuters Staff
June 12, 2011

(St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, 4 March 2005/Tom Heneghan)

Members of a liberal group of U.S. Catholics called on Sunday on Church leaders to open talks with their members on controversies ranging from the ordination of women to allowing priests to marry. Members of the American Catholic Council, meeting in Detroit, said they had grown concerned that the Church hierarchy was not listening to its members on issues such as the role of women, married clergy and the treatment of homosexuals.

Pope urges help for traditional families crumbling in secularised Europe

June 5, 2011

(Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead a solemn mass in Zagreb June 5, 2011. The Pope is on a two-day visit to Croatia/Alessandro Bianchi)

Guestview: How Catholic should a Catholic charity be?

June 1, 2011

(Homeless Egyptian children enjoy a meal in Kafr El Sisi Center for Children at Risk in the Giza neighbourhood of Cairo March 12, 2007. The street children are fed, taught vocational skills, given health care and counselled at the center run by Caritas/Goran Tomasevic)

China says respects religious freedom after pope laments pressure

May 19, 2011

(China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu in Beijing, December 7, 2010/David Gray)

Vatican “means business” on rooting out clerical sex abuse

May 16, 2011

(Swiss Guards at the Vatican, May 6, 2011/Tony Gentile)

The Vatican told bishops around the world Monday that they must make it a global priority to root out sexual abuse of children by priests. The Roman Catholic Church told bishops in a letter that they should cooperate with civil authorities to end the abuse that has tarnished its image around the world.