Inside The Vatican

America Media

Each week, Colleen Dulle goes behind the headlines of the biggest Vatican news stories with America’s Rome correspondent Gerard O’Connell. They'll break down complicated news stories that have a whole lot of history behind them in an understandable, engaging way. Colleen and Gerard will give you the inside scoop on what people inside the Vatican are thinking, saying—and planning.

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Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh covered and participated in the Latin American ecclesial assembly in Mexico City last week. It was the first meeting of its kind, bringing together about 1,000 bishops, priests, religious and lay people to discuss the region’s pastoral needs in a synodal way. On “Inside the Vatican,” Austen joins host Colleen Dulle to discuss his experience at the meeting and what lessons the Latin American church can teach the rest of the world about synodality. Colleen and Austen also discuss how this assembly built on the last meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean bishops in Aparecida, Brazil in 2007. “Aparecida calls for missionary pastoral conversion; it calls for the Church to realize that Christianity is no longer spread through law and culture, that we have to go back to, as it were, the early church understanding, which is that we’ve had an experience of encounter with Christ, and therefore, everything we do as a church needs to be about facilitating that encounter,” Austen explained. Pope Francis was a key player in the Aparecida meeting and hoped that this year’s Latin American ecclesial assembly would revive its legacy. Austen describes why the implementation of Aparecida wasn’t as far-reaching as originally hoped and how, despite that, the Latin American church remains a worldwide leader in synodality. Links from the show: Crux: Pope Francis calls for ‘prayer and dialogue’ as Latin American Ecclesial Assembly opens Vatican News (Spanish): La Iglesia es líder en la sinodalidad con diversos métodos de escucha National Catholic Reporter: First of its kind assembly to address future of Latin American Catholic Church Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Dec 2

29 min 27 sec

The U.S. bishops approved their long-awaited and much-debated document on the Eucharist at their November meeting last week. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” America’s national correspondent Michael O’Loughlin, who covered the meeting in Baltimore, joins Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell and host Colleen Dulle for a conversation about what the bishops decided and what the Vatican hopes they will do next. Listen and subscribe to “Inside the Vatican” on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The final document, which passed with an overwhelming 222 votes, focused primarily on the theology of the Eucharist and only made oblique reference to pro-choice politicians. But the bishops stepping back from a contentious debate in favor of unifying around the pastoral need they see for better catechesis on the Eucharist was the kind of show of unity the Vatican had hoped to see, Gerry said on the podcast. In the second half of the show, the panel discusses Vatican officials’ interventions at the bishops’ meeting. Their messages on synodality and sexual abuse, paired with a message Pope Francis shared with the Italian bishops’ meeting this week, paint a picture of a Vatican that is relieved at the resolution to the ‘communion wars’ and hopes to see the bishops unify around other issues. Links from the show: Debate over the Eucharist and pro-choice politicians ends in a whimper at bishops’ meeting Leaked draft of bishops’ document on Communion lacks explicit reference to pro-choice politicians Inside the Vatican: Eucharistic revival or Communion war? How politics and the pandemic are framing a debate among U.S. bishops Pope Francis shares 8 Beatitudes for Bishops, giving a model for the 21st-century pastor Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 25

25 min 59 sec

Pope Francis lavished praise on several reporters this week, awarding Televisa’s Valentina Alazraki and Reuters’ Phil Pullela papal knighthoods on Saturday, and praising America’s Michael J. O’Loughlin’s research into Catholic responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in a letter published Monday. But Pope Francis’ relationship with the press wasn’t always so friendly. Before he became pope, “you could count on two hands all the interviews he'd given in his life,” veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell explains on this week’s “Inside the Vatican.” On this week’s episode, Gerry and host Colleen Dulle take a look at how the pope’s relationship with the media has changed over time and examine the vision of the media that Pope Francis laid out in his speech to Vatican journalists this weekend. Links from the show: Pope Francis’ 3 tips for journalists today Read Pope Francis’ speech to journalists Pope Francis thanks America’s Michael J. O’Loughlin for reporting on Catholic responses to H.I.V./AIDS Inside the Vatican: Pope Francis thanks author for book on LGBT Catholics and the AIDS crisis Inside the Vatican: Eucharistic revival or Communion war? How politics and the pandemic are framing a debate among U.S. bishops Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 18

27 min 8 sec

Pope Francis sent a letter to America’s national correspondent, Michael J. O’Loughlin, thanking him for his research on the interactions between the Catholic Church and the gay community—and the stories of many gay Catholics—at the heights of the AIDS epidemic. O'Loughlin recently published his research in a new book called “Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear,” which follows up on America Media's podcast: “Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.” “Thank you for shining a light on the lives and bearing witness to the many priests, religious sisters and lay people, who opted to accompany, support and help their brothers and sisters who were sick from HIV and AIDS at great risk to their profession and reputation,” the pope wrote to O'Loughin. On this bonus episode of “Inside the Vatican,” Mike joins host Colleen Dulle to discuss the pope’s letter and its significance, along with Mike’s research into the stories behind the Vatican’s response to the AIDS crisis. Links from the show: How the Catholic Worker Movement inspired one couple to open their doors to people with AIDS Order Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear Listen to Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church, or subscribe on your podcast app. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 15

19 min 40 sec

The U.S. bishops’ debate over whether pro-choice policians like President Joseph R. Biden should be allowed to receive communion has been raging for over a year now. After the bishops’ meeting last November, the bishops created a sub-committee aimed at addressing the challenges of working with a Catholic, pro-choice president. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, president of the U.S. bishops conference, informed the Vatican in March that the working group had decided to draft a document on “Eucharistic coherence,” and Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responded in a letter telling the bishops that their document should not focus solely on politicians, and advising them to engage in dialogue with one another and with the politicians the bishops would be writing about. The Vatican’s effort to temper the bishops’ statement appears to have been successful: a leaked draft of the document lacked any explicit reference to pro-choice politicians, focusing instead on the idea of a Eucharistic revivial and a restatement of Eucharistic theology. On this deep dive episode of “Inside the Vatican,” producer Maggi Van Dorn and host Colleen Dulle dig into the history of the U.S. bishops’ engagement with political issues and give some background on today’s “Communion wars” and the calls for a “Eucharistic revival.” They ask: If no one can win the “communion wars,” does everyone lose? Links from the show: Leaked draft of bishops’ document on Communion lacks explicit reference to pro-choice politicians Can the U.S. bishops be saved from partisan politics? Explainer: Why the Eucharist is confusing for many Catholics (and survey researchers) No one can win the Communion wars over abortion Pope Francis: ‘I have never denied Communion to anyone.’ Archishop Aquila: For the church to live in eucharistic coherence, we must be willing to challenge Catholics persisting in grave sin. Bishop McElroy: The Eucharist is being weaponized for political ends. This must not happen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 11

30 min 1 sec

Pope Francis met with President Biden, President Moon of Korea and Prime Minister Modi from India last week, and in all of the conversations, one subject came up: Climate change. Many of the world leaders who were in Rome for the G20 summit of the world’s largest economies have now continued on to Glasgow, Scotland for the UN’s climate summit, COP26, which runs through Nov. 12. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell unpack Pope Francis’ message to the leaders at COP26 and how the pope understands his role in the climate movement. Then, Colleen and Gerry turn their sights to the U.S. church. Two recent studies paint the image of a church hierarchy that is disconnected from pew-sitters: A 2020 Princeton analysis showed how “Laudato Si” helped convince American Catholics that climate change is an important issue that carries a moral imperative, and 2021 Creighton analysis revealed that “Laudato Si” was largely ignored by American bishops. Links from the show: Pope Francis’ COP26 message: ‘There is no time to waste’ on climate change Pope Francis on BBC Radio: We need ‘a genuine moment of conversion’ on climate change Meet the Catholic map lady who wants to help Pope Francis fight climate change—if the Vatican will let her. Podcast: How ‘Laudato Si’’ changed U.S. Catholics’ minds on climate change Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Nov 4

26 min 5 sec

Today, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. met with Pope Francis in a highly anticipated meeting at the Vatican. The two leaders spoke privately for 75 minutes, which is unusually long compared to other meetings between the pope and heads of state. Details of the private meeting were not released, but the Vatican said the two leaders discussed their joint commitment to the protection and care of the planet, healthcare and the fight against Covid, refugees and assistance to migrants, the protection of human rights, the international situation leading up to the G20 summit, and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation. Following the meeting, President Biden said that the pope told him he is a “good Catholic” and encouraged him to continue receiving Communion. Read: Biden says Pope Francis told him to ‘keep receiving Communion’ Pope Francis and Joe Biden enjoy unusually long meeting at the Vatican Which president met the most popes? Who gave the weirdest gift? A brief history of U.S.-Vatican encounters. Watch: What President Biden said to Pope Francis at the Vatican Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 29

3 min 56 sec

Pope Francis is expected to meet with U.S President Joseph R. Biden, Korean President Moon Jae-in and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week while the leaders are in Rome for the G20 summit. So, what happens when a pope meets a president? On this episode of “Inside the Vatican,” veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell and host Colleen Dulle explain the formal steps of an “official visit” between a head of state and the pope. Then, Colleen and Gerry dig into the specific issues that President Biden, President Moon and Prime Minister Modi are likely to bring up with Pope Francis. At the end of the episode, Gerry and Colleen discuss why the pope is no longer attending the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, and Colleen gives an update on Pope Francis’ recently-announced trip to Canada. Links from the show: Joe Biden to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Oct. 29 Joe Biden is taking a page from Ronald Reagan’s playbook in his meeting with Pope Francis Pope Francis agrees to Canada trip to help reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 28

28 min 25 sec

This weekend, Pope Francis gave a speech to grassroots activists that some are already calling an important contribution to Catholic Social Teaching. At America, we called it “Pope Francis’ 9 commandments for a just economy.” The pope called on everyone from tech giants to arms manufacturers to stop their destructive and extractive behaviors and instead put their energy toward activities that would build up a better post-Covid society. In the same talk, a video message sent to the “popular movements”–grassroots activist groups around the world–the pope called Black Lives Matter activists “collective Samaritans” and called for a shortened work week. On this episode of “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell contextualize the pope’s comments and explain how his relationship with grassroots activists differs from past popes’. In the second half of the show, Colleen is joined by America O’Hare Fellow Doug Girardot. In the last month, Colleen and Doug contacted every diocese in America to find out what they had planned for the recently launched global “synod on synodality.” The two discuss their findings, their experience reporting the story, and their unexpected appreciation for Eastern Catholic eparchies. Links from the show: Pope Francis’ 9 commandments for a just economy Read Pope Francis’ full address to the popular movements We contacted every diocese in the U.S. about their synod plans. Here’s what we found. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 21

26 min 31 sec

The “synod on synodality,” Pope Francis’ two-year effort to move the church toward a more collaborative and decentralized model, kicked off in Rome on Sunday with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. In his pre-synod speech on Saturday, Pope Francis laid out his vision for the synod, outlining three challenges and three opportunities that the synod faces. The challenges, as host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell explain on this week’s episode of “Inside the Vatican,” aren’t limited to those the pope mentioned: In addition to the difficulty of changing the attitudes of Catholics accustomed to what author Austen Ivereigh called a “command and control model,” there are a number of logistical challenges including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, long distances and conflicts that make diocesan gatherings difficult, and the challenge of holding a large number of meetings in only a short time. Still, the syond’s purpose is not to complete a transformation in the church, but to begin it. Links from the show: Pope Francis clears the way for the beatification of Pope John Paul I ‘There is no need to create another church, but to create a different church,’ Francis says before synod Pope Francis: Synod calls us to become experts in the art of encounter Pope Francis receives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in private audience Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 14

26 min 8 sec

Pope Francis welcomed 40 leaders of the world’s major religions to the Vatican this week to call for definitive action on climate change ahead of the United Nations’ COP26 conference in Glasgow. On “Inside the Vatican,” Gerard O’Connell and Colleen Dulle explain who attended the meeting and what initiatives they called for. The document the religious leaders signed was seen by many as a parallel to Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si (“Praised Be”), which gave a major push to world leaders to sign on to the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. With the COP26 conference focused on advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement, Colleen and Gerry ask, can this interreligious document play a similar role to “Laudato Si,” changing the hearts and minds of political leaders from around the world? Links from the show: Pope Francis and 40 faith leaders call for urgent action to combat climate change: ‘Future generations will never forgive us’ Report: 330,000 child victims of sex abuse in France’s Catholic Church Analysis: In Vatican real estate trial, prosecution made mistakes—but not enough for charges to be dropped against Cardinal Becciu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Oct 7

28 min 13 sec

Women are rising to new heights in the Vatican, but there is still a long way to go before women’s voices and leadership are satisfactorily integrated in the Vatican. In this deep dive episode based on Colleen Dulle’s cover story in America Magazine’s October issue, Colleen and producer Maggi Van Dorn take a look inside the corporate culture of the Vatican to examine how things have been changing for women—and why it’s difficult to have conversations about women’s empowerment there. You’ll also hear from three prominent women working in or with the Vatican: Cristiane Murray of the Holy See Press Office describes her experience over 26 years working in the Curia’s most female office; celebrity economist Kate Raworth gives voice to a new understanding of women’s contributions that Pope Francis seems to have adopted; and Sr. Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary of the synod of bishops, explains why she sees synodality as the way toward recognizing men and women’s God-given equality. Links from the show: Women are rising to new heights at the Vatican. Could they change the church forever? Read America’s women’s month issue Doughnut Economics Action Lab Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 30

34 min 19 sec

Last week, Pope Francis visited Hungary and Slovakia—two countries with about 1,000 years of Christian history. But today, that history is being re-interpreted for political ends, as nationalist or populist leaders like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban use Christian identity as an argument for keeping new migrants out. On this bonus episode of “Inside the Vatican,” Slovakian religion historian Agata Sustova Drelova joins host Colleen Dulle for a closer look at Pope Francis’ interpretation of the countries’ religious history, reframing it as a history of openness, stretching all the way back to Sts. Cyril and Methodius, who first evangelized the area in the ninth century. Agata and Colleen also discuss the pope’s visit to Slovakia’s largest Roma settlement and why Agata believes this papal visit was “a crash course in synodality.” Links from the show: Pope Francis wants a better future for Slovakia’s Roma communities. Roma women are making it happen. Pope Francis to populist leaders: Do not use the cross for political purposes Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 25

24 min 39 sec

In a Q&A session with Jesuits in Slovakia, Pope Francis revealed that after his colon surgery this summer, some prelates wanted him to die. He also issued a thinly-veiled criticism of EWTN, saying the Catholic network’s attacks on him are “the work of the devil.” America’s Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell wrote about the pope’s comments and reported that Pope Francis had previously confronted an EWTN reporter about the network’s attacks on him. On this episode, Gerry joins host Colleen Dulle to discuss the pope’s distinction between attacks on him and on his office, and between legitimate criticism and attacks. Gerry and Colleen also look into Pope Francis’ comments that “some people wanted [him] to die” after his colon surgery and even held meetings to prepare for a conclave. With the pope facing resistance both in the Vatican and in the media, Gerry said, “I found it sad that the pope has to defend himself. EWTN is based in the United States, can not the [U.S.] Catholic bishops’ conference defend the pope on this?” Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell | Pope Francis responds to attacks from EWTN, other church critics: ‘They are the work of the devil.’ Full transcript of Pope Francis’ Q&A with Slovak Jesuits Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 22

14 min 20 sec

Fresh off the papal plane, Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell joins host Colleen Dulle to discuss Pope Francis’ response to his question about the U.S. bishops’ debate over denying communion to pro-choice politicians. “Every time the bishops have not dealt with a problem as pastors they have taken sides politically,” the pope told Gerry. “What must a pastor do? Be a pastor. Don’t go condemning.” He added that he had never denied anyone communion. In the second half of the show, Gerry and Colleen recap the pope’s packed visit to Hungary and Slovakia this week and give their takeaways. At the end of this episode, Gerry described Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova’s emotional farewell to the pope. After our recording, local news outlets in Slovakia reported that the president’s father had passed away a few hours before the pope’s departure. More on the papal press conference: Pope Francis: ‘I have never denied Communion to anyone.’ by Gerard O’Connell Early Takeaways: Pope Francis on Biden, Bishops, Abortion and Communion by Zac Davis and Ashley McKinless Pope Francis speaks about abortion and Communion: Don’t ‘excommunicate’ pro-choice politicians by Junno Arocho Esteves - Catholic News Service Pope Francis said he doesn’t understand why people refuse to take Covid-19 vaccines by Nicole Winfield - Associated Press Gerry’s coverage of Pope Francis’ trip: Pope Francis in Budapest calls on the Hungarian Catholic Church and its pastors ‘to be builders of bridges and promoters of dialogue’ Pope Francis urged priests to limit homilies to 10 minutes in a speech to religious in Slovakia Pope Francis to populist leaders: Do not use the cross for political purposes Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 16

24 min 24 sec

Pope Francis is visiting Hungary and Slovakia next week, and America’s Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell will be traveling with him.  On this week’s show, Gerry and host Colleen Dulle lay out the basics of the trip and examine some of the political and spiritual issues the pope will be looking to address in these two former Soviet Bloc nations. After that, the hosts look at the health questions surrounding this trip: Pope Francis is still recovering from colon surgery, and new variants of Covid-19 make large events risky even in highly-vaccinated countries like Hungary. Colleen outlines the Covid restrictions for the papal trip, and Gerry gives the latest on Pope Francis’ recovery and how it could impact this papal trip. Links from the show: Pope Francis denies reports that he considered resigning due to ill health In first interview since his July operation, Pope Francis says his life was saved (for the second time) by a nurse Where else will Pope Francis travel in 2021? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 9

25 min 46 sec

This summer, Pope Francis made the controversial decision to place significant restrictions on the celebration of the Tridentine Latin Mass. He said that a survey of the world’s bishops showed that John Paul II and Benedict XVI’s generosity in allowing the pre-Vatican II Mass to be celebrated had been “exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the church...and expose her to the peril of division.” In this special deep dive episode of “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle unpacks Pope Francis’ decision, the history behind it, and how it has affected devotees of the old Latin Mass. With a church that seems even more divided after this decision, the question remains: Where do we go from here? This episode features interviews with: Fr. John Baldovin, SJ, professor of historical and liturgical theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and author of several books on Vatican II Rita Ferrone, author of several books about liturgical renewal and a contributor to Commonweal magazine and PrayTellBlog Jonathan Culbreath, a Latin teacher and writer on Catholic Social Teaching who has attended the Latin Mass since the late 1990s Links from the show: Rita Ferrone: “A Living Catholic Tradition” | Commonweal Magazine Jonathan Culbreath: “I love Latin Mass and Pope Francis. Please don’t let a few (very loud) traditionalists ruin it for the rest of us.” | America Magazine James T. Keane: “Explainer: What is the history of the Latin Mass?” | America Magazine Gerard O’Connell: “Pope Francis restricts celebration of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass in new decree” | America Magazine Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Sep 2

36 min 58 sec

Pope Francis has issued a motu proprio–an authoritative declaration made on the Pope’s personal initiative–to restrict the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass in the Catholic Church. The decision overrides and reverses a previous decree of Pope Benedict XVI, who allowed priests to celebrate the pre-Vatican II Mass without limitation. Francis has become increasingly concerned that the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Mass, sometimes called the "extraordinary form," has created division in the church and even hostility towards the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. His decree grants bishops the full authority to authorize and regulate the pre-Vatican II Mass in their diocese. “I desire,” Pope Francis wrote, “to press on ever more in the constant search for ecclesial communion.” Follow America's coverage of this developing story at americamagazine.org Pope Francis restricts celebration of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass in new decree Explainer: What is the history of the Latin Mass? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 16

3 min 37 sec

Pope Francis is in the hospital recovering from a scheduled intestinal surgery he had on Sunday afternoon, July 4. According to Vatican statements based on the pope’s doctors’ reports, his recovery is going well and he can expect to be in the hospital for about a week. The pope underwent surgery for symptomatic stenotic diverticulitis, which is a colon condition that causes part of the intestine to become too narrow for food waste to pass through, causing abdominal pain. The surgery involves removing the narrow section and reattaching the healthy parts. It’s a fairly common procedure, and medical experts say a man of Pope Francis’ age should be able to make a full recovery within a week. Links from the show: July 7: Pope Francis suffered severe restriction of the bowel, continues to make ‘satisfactory’ progress after surgery July 6: Pope Francis’ recovery going well, results of post-op tests are good, doctors say July 5: Pope Francis ‘in good general condition’ after surgery, expected to remain in hospital for one week Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jul 7

3 min 22 sec

No, it’s not a schism. On this special deep dive episode of “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle looks at the German synodal way: What is it, why is it happening, and why do some critics think it could lead to a schism in the Catholic Church? This episode features interviews with: Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen, Germany, a participant in the synodal path and a leader of the path’s subgroup on power in the church Dr. Juliane Eckstein, a researcher at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, and a member of the synodal path’s subgroup on women Fr. Bernd Hagenkord, a Jesuit priest and former editor of Vatican News’ German edition, who is a spiritual director for the synodal path Dr. Thomas Schueller, director of the Institute of Canon Law at the University of Muenster, Germany, and a critic of the synodal path Gerard O’Connell, Vatican correspondent for America Magazine Links from the show: Take the “Inside the Vatican” listener survey! The German Synodal Path, Explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 24

35 min 56 sec

Take Inside the Vatican’s Listener Survey! On May 21, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising and a top advisor to Pope Francis, submitted his resignation to the pope, saying he wanted to take “institutional responsibility” for the sexual abuse crisis. “It is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades,” the cardinal wrote in a letter to the pope. Cardinal Marx has never been accused of sexual abuse or cover-up but expressed that he wanted to take responsibility for helping to mold church structures that failed to prevent sexual abuse. In a decision that came as a surprise to Cardinal Marx, Pope Francis refused to accept the resignation, using the opportunity to tell the world’s bishops to take action on abuse. The offer of resignation sent shockwaves through Germany and the Vatican. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell discuss the aftereffects of Cardinal Marx’s offer to resign. Tune in next week for a special deep dive episode on the German Synodal Way. Links from the show: Take Inside the Vatican’s Listener Survey! Cardinal Marx offers Pope Francis his resignation, citing ‘responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse’ Explainer: Cardinal Marx wasn’t accused of sexual abuse or cover-up. So why has he offered to resign? Pope Francis rejects Cardinal Marx’s offer of resignation, calls on all bishops to take responsibility for the abuse crisis Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 17

22 min 41 sec

After 17 years of preparation, a new edition of volume VI of the Code of Canon Law—the Vatican’s penal code—has been published, the first new edition since 1983. About two-thirds of the canons, or laws, in the volume have been updated, and a number of new canons have been added, most significantly in the areas of sexual abuse and requiring penalties for violations of the law. On this episode of “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell walk through the changes to canon law on sexual abuse, women’s ordination, and financial mismanagement. “What the law has tried to do and what his new Book VI of the Code of Canon Law is doing with the penalties is to reduce, as far as possible, the loopholes, to ensure justice for those who have been victims, to ensure proper exercise of authority by those who are in authority and hold penalties for failure to exercise authority properly,” Gerry said. “And also to guarantee to the wider public, to the people of God, the people in the church and outside the church, that they will know that such criminal acts are not acceptable and they will be punished.” After their conversation, Colleen gives updates on the discovery of the remains of more than 200 Indigenous children on the grounds of a former residential school in Canada and the unexpected offer of resignation from Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Links from the show: Pope Francis overhauls church’s criminal code to punish the sexual abuse of adults by priests Pope Francis calls for abandonment of colonial mentality after discovery of buried Indigenous children in Canada Cardinal Marx offers Pope Francis his resignation, citing ‘responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse’ Explainer: Cardinal Marx wasn’t accused of sexual abuse or cover-up. So why has he offered to resign? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 10

31 min 2 sec

The upcoming “synod on synodality” will look different from past synods, the Vatican announced last month: Instead of an event in Rome in 2022, the synod will be a process beginning on the diocesan level this fall, continuing on a continental level in 2022 and ending in Rome in 2023, discussing “communion, participation, and mission” within the church. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell discuss what we know about the new process: who is involved, what the topics for discussion will be, and whether dioceses from the United States to China can pull off the local listening sessions the Vatican is asking for. “As a Catholic, you're part of a global church, which has got big problems in some areas, which is going reasonably well in others, but which has a major task,” Gerry says in this episode. “And I think the Pope is [challenging us to consider] mission. What is the mission of the church? What is the purpose?” Links from the show: Pope Francis: The People of God must be consulted before the October 2023 synod of bishops Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Roche as new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, successor to Cardinal Sarah Pope Francis overhauls church’s criminal code to punish the sexual abuse of adults by priests Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jun 3

23 min 23 sec

With summer just around the corner, Inside the Vatican is bringing you a special episode: our Pope Francis summer reading list. Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh joins Colleen Dulle for a discussion on three books that have shaped Pope Francis (and that he loves to quote): The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni, Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson, and the short story “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Pope Francis’ fellow Argentine, Jorge Luis Borges. Colleen and Austen discuss each work and Pope Francis’ connection to it, and how they’ve influenced the pope’s thinking. Want to discuss these books with other Inside the Vatican listeners? Join the Catholic Book Club Facebook group, where there will be a special post for discussions of this episode! Links from the show: Austen Ivereigh: The Pope & the Plague Austen Ivereigh: An Interview with Pope Francis The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson “The Garden of Forking Paths” by Jorge Luis Borges “Calle Desconocida” (“Unknown Street”) by Jorge Luis Borges Let Us Dream by Pope Francis and Austen Ivereigh Subscribe to America Media’s Catholic Book Club newsletter and join the Facebook group to discuss a new book every quarter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 27

50 min 1 sec

On Sunday, Pope Francis called for an immediate ceasefire to the violence that has escalated between Israeli and Palestinian forces, killing more than 200 people in Gaza and 10 in Israel, according to the most recent statistics. The Vatican has long supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Pope Francis’ goals also include limiting the sale of arms by countries outside the conflict and improving the situation of the Palestinians living in occupied territory.  To that end, on Monday, the pope called Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, conversations which were believed to have included discussions about the crisis in the Holy Land. Pope Francis is also believed to have discussed the conflict with U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry in their meeting on Saturday. But what sway does Pope Francis really have in Israel? This week on “Inside the Vatican,” veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell and host Colleen Dulle take a look at Pope Francis’ goals for the region and where they have been stalled in the past. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell: Pope Francis calls for an end to clashes in Jerusalem Gerard O’Connell: Pope Francis calls for an immediate cease-fire in the Holy Land Stephanie Saldaña: A Christian in Jerusalem at the Start of Another War Gerard O’Connell: Head of Chinese Jesuits named new bishop of Hong Kong Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 20

22 min 34 sec

It’s been 500 years since St. Ignatius suffered the cannonball injury that would pave the way to his conversion—from an ambitious young soldier rumored to be dating a princess, to leaving it all to found the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. To commemorate that 500th anniversary, the Jesuits have declared an Ignatian Year, remembering their roots and announcing new initiatives for their future. So this week, “Inside the Vatican” host Colleen Dulle teamed up with Ashley McKinless from America Media’s “Jesuitical” podcast to interview the superior general of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa.  Colleen and Ashley asked Fr. Sosa about his plans for the Jesuits, what it’s like to run such a huge and diverse religious order, and, of course, about his relationship with his fellow Jesuit, Pope Francis. Links from the show: Learn more about the Ignatian Year Listen to the “Jesuitical” podcast from America Media Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 17

32 min 42 sec

The Vatican stepped into the U.S. bishops’ ongoing debate over giving Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians last week, issuing a letter May 7 to every bishop in America urging them to undertake a two-part dialogue process before drafting any national guidelines on the issue. Up to now, the decision over whether to give a pro-choice politician Communion has been up to the local bishop, with varying results: President Joseph R. Biden’s previous local bishop in Wilmington, Delaware, along with his current bishop in Washington, D.C., have both allowed him to receive Communion, while House Speaker Nancy R. Polosi’s local bishop, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, recently wrote in support of denying pro-choice politicians communion without naming Ms. Polosi.  Last fall, the national bishops’ conference assembled a committee to draft a proposal for a guideline that could be applied nationwide, to be voted on at the bishops’ upcoming meeting next month. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stepped in with a letter signed by its head, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, putting the brakes on the drafting process until the bishops undertake an “extensive and serene” dialogue with one another and the politicians in question. It urges them to reach a “true consensus” on the issue. Will the bishops listen? This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell unpack the letter, examining how binding the letter and the U.S. bishops’ agreements are, along with what decisions the bishops now face. Links from the show: Vatican sends letter to U.S. bishops: Don’t rush the debate on Communion, politicians and abortion Bishop McElroy: The Eucharist is being weaponized for political ends. This must not happen. Archbishop Aquila: For the church to live in eucharistic coherence, we must be willing to challenge Catholics persisting in grave sin. Lay people have been passing on the Catholic faith for 2,000 years. Now Pope Francis has made it an official ministry Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 13

23 min 45 sec

Last week, Pope Francis signed two big changes to Vatican law: First, he implemented a sweeping anti-corruption decree that limits the gifts Vatican employees can receive to $50; then, he updated a previous legal reform to remove bishops’ and cardinals’ special rights in Vatican courts. For most of the church’s history, bishops and cardinals could only be judged by the pope. Pope Francis changed that in 2019 as part of a slate of legal reforms aimed at combatting the sexual abuse crisis. In order to increase accountability and the number of cases that could be heard, the pope created a special court called the “court of cassation” to hear bishops’ and cardinals’ trials. With last week’s change, though, bishops and cardinals can now have their cases heard in the regular, lay-led Vatican tribunal. Why make the change now? In this week’s episode of Inside the Vatican, host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell take a look at what effect the change could have on the ongoing investigation—and possible trial—of the Vatican’s London finance scandal, in which bishops and cardinals may be among those tried. Colleen and Gerry also unpack the Vatican’s new anti-corruption law. Links from the show: Pope Francis issued a sweeping anti-corruption decree. How will it affect Vatican operations? Cardinals and bishops to lose special legal privileges under new papal decree Italian bishop-elect shot in his home in South Sudan US Catholic bishops to vote on pressuring Joe Biden to stop taking Communion over abortion views Bishop McElroy: The Eucharist is being weaponized for political ends. This must not happen. Pope Francis calls for monthlong global prayer marathon for end of pandemic Pope Francis asks for prayers for peace in Myanmar Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

May 6

20 min 39 sec

Almost two months after his first papal trip since spring 2020, Pope Francis has set his sights on a few more international visits before the end of the year: To Hungary and Slovakia, Cyprus and Greece, Lebanon and Glasgow. On this week’s episode of “Inside the Vatican,” America’s veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell and host Colleen Dulle dig into what we know about each trip and what is motivating the pope to go. “There’s a spiritual dimension; there’s also a political. You can’t get away from that,” Gerry says on the show. Colleen also gives updates on Pope Francis’ name day celebration, the appointment of San Diego bishop Robert McElroy to a Vatican board, and the possible upcoming canonization of Blessed Charles de Foucauld. Links from the show: Where else will Pope Francis travel in 2021? Pope Francis celebrates his name day at Vatican vaccination clinic for the poor and vulnerable Pope Francis appoints San Diego’s Bishop McElroy to board of Vatican office promoting human development Who was Charles de Foucauld? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Apr 29

35 min 20 sec

When Father John Wester received a call just before 8 a.m. Mass, he had no idea it would be the nuncio, the pope’s ambassador, phoning to tell him he would be the next auxiliary bishop of San Francisco. Archbishop Wester’s story is not unusual. Most bishops are appointed without ever knowing they were being considered for the job and are caught by surprise when chosen. The bishop selection process is perhaps the most secretive hiring process in the world, shielded from both the candidate and the priests and people he will serve. Those who are consulted about possible candidates are required to return the list of questions they’ve been sent, because even the questions, which reveal no particulars about a candidate, are protected under the Vatican’s top confidentiality classification: the “pontifical secret.” There is a joke among the hierarchy that “a pontifical secret is a secret you don’t tell the pope,” but the secrecy around this process has been chipped away in recent years. In 1984, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., then the editor of America magazine, obtained the survey that the nuncio sends out to gather information on candidates. He published it, in full, in America. The biggest blow to the secrecy around how bishops are appointed, though, came from the Vatican itself. Last fall, it took the unprecedented step of revealing how former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was removed from the college of cardinals and from the priesthood for abusing minors, managed to rise through the ranks despite rumors circling about his sexual misconduct. The Vatican’s 460-page report detailed who supported Mr. McCarrick’s promotion to archbishop and soon after, cardinal-archbishop, of Washington, D.C., along with who opposed it and who withheld information about his abuse. The McCarrick report was the most significant glance the Vatican had ever given into the process of making a bishop, and already there are calls for similar reports on others involved in abuse or cover-up. America’s Vatican correspondent, Gerard O’Connell, said on this week’s episode of “Inside the Vatican,” that “the McCarrick report put a silver bullet through the pontifical secret.... It has explained largely how the system failed from down low to high up.” In this week’s deep dive episode on how bishops are chosen, Father Reese walks host Colleen Dulle through the official process of choosing a bishop, and Gerry explains where that process went awry in the case of Cardinal McCarrick. Pope Francis has tried to create such a system by having the secret questionnaire that is sent out to bishops rewritten, expanding it from one page to four and including specific questions about abuse and cover up. Working from a copy of the new survey that he obtained, Gerry summarizes some of the questions that the Vatican is now asking about possible bishops. Finally, calls for laypeople to have more of a voice in the selection of bishops have come from inside and outside the church. Pope Francis has asked nuncios to reach out to a wide variety of people, including clergy, religious and laypeople, when gathering feedback. Some lay groups say that consulting with laypeople needs to be a required step in the process. Colleen speaks to Kerry Robinson of Leadership Roundtable, an organization founded in the wake of the 2002 sexual abuse crisis that fosters collaboration between bishops and laypeople in the areas of church management, finances, communications and human resources. Although Leadership Roundtable has not called for any changes to the bishops’ appointment process, Ms. Robinson stresses the importance of diverse voices: “We need to solve for our own myopia,” Ms. Robinson says. “If I were in charge of appointing bishops, I would want desperately for as much informed advice and opinion as possible.” Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell | Deep Dive: The McCarrick Report and the popes it implicates Can the Catholic Church find a better way to choose bishops? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Apr 22

34 min 3 sec

Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine the pope having the kind of strong relationship with a top Muslim leader that Pope Francis has with the Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb. Back in 2019, the two signed the groundbreaking document on Human Fraternity together in Abu Dhabi, but a new book by the Muslim judge, Mohamed Abdel Salam, who was intimately involved in the process of putting that document together, explains that the road to signing that document was not always easy. Judge Mohamed Abdel Salam presented his new book about the process, The Pope and the Grand Imam: A Thorny Path, to Pope Francis last week. On this episode of “Inside the Vatican,” America’s Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell walks listeners through the story of how the pope and the grand imam rebuilt the once-icy relationship between the Vatican and the top Sunni institute, Al-Azhar University. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell: An inside look at how Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar have revolutionized Catholic-Muslim relations Buy The Pope and the Grand Imam: A Thorny Path: A Testimony to the Birth of the Human Fraternity Document Holy Father Names New Under-Secretary for CDF Pope Francis warns World Bank and IMF: Covid-19 is not the only global crisis we’re facing right now Read: Pope Francis on the risen Jesus’ message of mercy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Apr 15

26 min 26 sec

Pope Francis celebrated a private Holy Thursday Mass at the apartment of Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the high-ranking prelate whose resignation Pope Francis ordered last September. The dismissal was widely believed to be linked to the Vatican’s $200 million London real estate scandal. Most years, Pope Francis has left St. Peter’s Basilica and opted to commemorate the Last Supper in prisons or refugee housing facilities, where he has washed the feet of women, inmates and asylum seekers. Some have read his private Mass at Cardinal Becciu’s home as a sign that the pope has changed his mind about accepting Cardinal Becciu’s resignation and asking him to renounce his rights as a cardinal. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” Gerry explains why he does not believe Pope Francis is retracting his decision and explains how he interprets the gesture. Links from the show: Pope Francis celebrates Last Supper Mass at the home of Cardinal Becciu whose resignation he accepted last September Podcast: The Vatican’s $200 million London real estate scandal, explained Pope Francis at Chrism Mass: Preaching the Gospel will always mean embracing the Cross Cardinal, at pope’s Good Friday service, decries divisions within church Pope Francis on Easter: ‘The risen Christ is hope for all who continue to suffer.’ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Apr 7

19 min 27 sec

Why does the Vatican advocate for democracy in Myanmar but not Hong Kong? This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell discuss Gerry’s wide-ranging interview with Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher. In the interview, Gerry and Archbishop Gallagher discussed the Vatican’s strategies in China and its hopes for the Biden administration. Gerry took the opportunity to discuss the Vatican’s view on democracy more broadly, asking whether the Vatican, as Europe’s last absolute monarchy, supports democracy around the world and why it has been silent on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong when it has advocated strongly for democracy in Myanmar. Gerry and Colleen also discuss revealing comments Archbishop Gallagher made about the Vatican’s often opaque relationship with China. Links from the show: Pope Francis spoke out against oppression in Myanmar. Why is he silent on China and Hong Kong? Interview: Joe Biden says ‘America is back.’ What does that mean for U.S.-Vatican relations? Pope Francis instructs Vatican to provide vaccines for 1,200 of Rome’s poorest people during Holy Week Pope Francis names Juan Carlos Cruz, prominent abuse survivor and whistleblower, to Vatican panel Podcast: The Vatican-China deal, explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 31

23 min 37 sec

Church historian and Villanova University professor Massimo Faggioli joins host Colleen Dulle to discuss the Vatican’s recent guidelines banning private, individual Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica and restricting celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass (officially called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) to one chapel in the basilica’s crypt. Dr. Faggioli explains how the change is part of Pope Francis’ ongoing effort to implement the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and how the Council’s changes to liturgy reflect new understandings of theology and ecclesiology. The two also discuss liturgical divisions within the church and how those may be affected with these changes to worship in St. Peter’s Basilica. Links from the show: Why the Vatican is restricting the Traditional Latin Mass | Behind the Story Gerard O’Connell: The Vatican restricts Traditional Latin Mass and suppresses private Masses at St. Peter’s Basilica Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 26

26 min 13 sec

Last week’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document marked a departure from Pope Francis’ usual pastoral tone on LGBT issues, even though the pope had approved its publication. This weekend, the pope spoke against “theoretical condemnations,” posing “gestures of love” as an alternative. America Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell spoke with several Vatican officials who told them that the pope’s comments were an effort to distance himself from the document. Why use anonymous sources for this claim? This week on “Inside the Vatican,” Gerry and host Colleen Dulle discuss the pope’s comments and why Vaticanistas use anonymous sources so often. In the latter half of the show, the hosts discuss Gerry’s recent interview with Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher, which America will be publishing in three parts this week. (Read part 1 on the Middle East here and part 2 on China here.) Archbishop Gallagher spoke about Pope Francis’ diplomatic goals for his recent Iraq trip and the Vatican’s larger goals for influencing the region. Links from the show:  Vatican sources suspect Pope Francis was distancing himself from CDF statement on same-sex unions in address Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq was a historic breakthrough. But will it lead to greater peace in the Middle East? Pope Francis spoke out against oppression in Myanmar. Why is he silent on China and Hong Kong? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 24

27 min 32 sec

This week, a statement from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith made global headlines, saying that the church cannot bless gay unions and reiterating that they are “not ordered to the Creator’s plan.” The document said Pope Francis “assented” to its publication, which disappointed LGBT Catholics who had come to appreciate the pope’s more supportive tone. But how closely did Pope Francis really examine the document? This week on “Inside the Vatican,” America’s Rome correspondent Gerard O’Connell reveals that the document was drafted by a much smaller group of people than would ordinarily be involved in writing this type of statement and that Pope Francis reviewed it just before his Iraq trip.  While it is unclear how much attention Pope Francis gave the document, Gerry says that it is significant that the document said the pope was “informed” and “assented to its publication,” a more hesitant phrasing than “approved” and “ordered its publication,” the terms the Vatican normally uses. On this week’s show, Julia Erdlen, a Boston College graduate student in theology who identifies as queer, shares her reaction to the new document on blessing gay unions. After that, Gerry and host Colleen Dulle discuss a recent guideline banning priests from celebrating Masses alone at the side altars in St. Peter’s Basilica and restricting celebrations of the Tridentine Latin Mass to one chapel in the basilica’s crypt. The two explain how these moves align with Pope Francis’ goal of implementing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and explain why the pope has ordered an outside review of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell | Vatican, with Pope Francis’ approval, says priests cannot bless same-sex couples Michael J. O’Loughlin | ‘It just hurts’: Catholics react to Vatican ban on blessings for same-sex couples Gerard O’Connell | The Vatican restricts Traditional Latin Mass and suppresses private Masses at St. Peter’s Basilica Before naming Cardinal Sarah’s replacement, Pope Francis wants an outside review of the congregation for worship Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 17

21 min 1 sec

Pope Francis visited Iraq March 5-8, and America’s Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell traveled with him. Fresh off the trip, Gerry joins host Colleen Dulle on “Inside the Vatican” to discuss what it was like to travel with the pope on his riskiest trip yet. Pope Francis was determined to visit Iraq despite the increases in violence and coronavirus cases there because he wanted to encourage Iraqis to believe in their country’s future after decades of conflict. In particular, he hoped to bring hope to Iraq’s Christian minority, which shrunk by 75 percent as Christians fled persecution by Islamic State extremists. This week on the podcast, we hear from a young Iraqi Christian woman, Rashel, who has had difficulty imagining a future for herself in her country. She went to see Pope Francis this weekend with her family. “He said so many words in each town [where] he went,” Rashel said. “All these words were...about the peace. This is what we need.” As Gerry said on this week’s show, “Peace means a future.” That peace will require reconciliation between the different communities in Iraq, particularly between the Shia Muslim majority and religious and ethnic minorities, like the Christians. Pope Francis worked in this trip to strengthen Christian-Muslim relations by visiting with Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, one of the most revered clerics in Shia Islam. Gerry describes how Iraqi Christians and Muslims reacted to the leaders’ meeting positively, believing it would be a step towards peace in the country. As for Rashel, while she said it was difficult to know exactly what effect the pope’s visit would have long-term, “I feel that something good is going to happen, really. I don’t know when, but I think it’s going to happen. I’m sure from this [visit].” Links from the show: Inside the Vatican’s Deep Dive into Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq Gerard O’Connell: Pope Francis makes history by meeting Ayatollah al-Sistani, spiritual leader of Iraqi Shia Muslims Gerard O’Connell: ‘Peace more powerful than war’: Pope Francis ends his Iraq trip in the land once ruled by ISIS Gerard O’Connell: Pope Francis says Iraq trip brought him ‘back to life’ after a year in Covid prison Find all of America’s coverage of Pope Francis’ historic visit to Iraq here Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 10

21 min 55 sec

Pope Francis takes off for Baghdad on Friday, March 5. Once he arrives in Iraq, he will zigzag the country at breakneck speed visiting civic and religious leaders and touring places that are still recovering from the destruction wrought by the Islamic State. Since ISIS’ takeover of the Nineveh Plain, the area where most Iraqi Christians lived, three-quarters of those Christians have left the country. Pope Francis is intent on encouraging them and affirming the choice of those who have remained. Along the way, he wants to continue strengthening relationships with Muslims, visiting for the first time a Shia-majority country. But why go now, when coronavirus cases and violence are both increasing in Iraq? What has given Pope Francis such a sense of urgency around this trip? On this special deep dive episode of “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle speaks with Dr. Amir Harrak, a professor of Aramaic and Syriac studies at the University of Toronto; Rashel Groo, a university student who lived through the ISIS takeover; Jordan Denari Duffner, a scholar of Muslim-Christian relations at Georgetown University; and Gerard O’Connell, America Media’s Vatican correspondent, to explain what the situation in Iraq is like now and why the pope is insistent on visiting, despite the risks. Find all of America’s coverage of Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq at americamagazine.org/iraq2021 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mar 3

27 min 29 sec

On Sunday, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Guinean prelate with whom he has publicly clashed on a few occasions. Pope Francis was widely expected to accept Cardinal Sarah’s resignation soon after his 75th birthday in June, but the pope surprised Vatican watchers this week by declining to fill Cardinal Sarah’s now-vacant post as head of the Congregation for Divine Worship. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle gives a brief update on this news, along with the Vatican’s $60.3 million budget shortfall and its newly-announced penalties for employees who decline the Covid-19 vaccine. Links from the show: Pope Francis accepts the resignation of Cardinal Sarah as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship Vatican expects multi-million dollar budget deficit for 2021 Vatican tells its employees to get a Covid vaccine, or risk getting fired Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 24

5 min 20 sec

Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq, scheduled for March 5-8, has been thrown into further question in recent days. Following the discovery of the new UK-based strain of the novel coronavirus, Iraqi authorities closed businesses and places of worship, including those where the pope was expected to hold events during his visit. A rocket attack near the Erbil airport on Feb. 15 has also heightened security concerns, as the pope was expected to meet leaders from Iraqi Kurdistan at the airport and depart from there for Rome. Despite the concerns, the Vatican insists that the trip is going forward. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Gerard O’Connell look at the challenges of planning this papal trip. “When I asked some people in the Vatican, ‘Well, how is this going to be possible with the lockdown?’ They said, well, you know, there's always an exception to a rule,” Gerry said. Gerry and Colleen also give updates on the church’s involvement in protests in Myanmar, Pope Francis’ praise for a new Colombian law granting protections to Venezuelan refugees, and the plans for Ash Wednesday services in the Vatican. Links from the show: Iraq announces Covid-19 restrictions ahead of papal trip Cardinal Charles Maung Bo on Twitter America Magazine’s documentary on Venezuelan refugees America Magazine’s Lent 2021 Reflections, podcasts and more Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 17

22 min 7 sec

For the first time, a woman will have the right to vote in the Synod of Bishops. Sister Nathalie Becquart, a Xaviere sister, became the first woman to be named undersecretary of the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, a position previously reserved to bishops. As is customary for the undersecretary, Sister Becquart is expected to be a voting member of the 2022 synod. Until now, women have been barred from voting in synods. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell explain the significance of Sister Becquart’s appointment and what it could mean for future synods. As for whether other women could be able to vote in upcoming synods, Gerry said, “I think we may even see that in the synod on synodality. It is under consideration.” Colleen and Gerry also discuss Pope Francis’ trip to Iraq, which was confirmed this week, and his address to the world’s ambassadors to the Vatican. The pope described seven global crises that have been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic and said the “crisis of politics” underlies them all. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell | For the first time, Pope Francis appoints a woman with the right to vote as undersecretary of the synod of bishops Colleen Dulle | Why can’t women vote at the Synod on Young People? Gerard O’Connell | Pope Francis offers a roadmap for overcoming the pandemic—and the 7 other crises it exposed Pope Francis: In 2021, vaccines, fraternity and hope are the medicine we need. Full text of Pope Francis’ address to the diplomatic corps Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 11

23 min 40 sec

Pope Francis made clear this week that he was keeping a close eye on the divisions in the U.S. church, which showed up most recently in the controversy over Archbishop Jose H. Gomez’s statement on the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden. The statement was seen as being inappropriately confrontational by the Vatican, and stateside sparked responses both of support and opposition among other bishops. Cardinal Blase Cupich, who said on Twitter that the statement had not followed the bishops’ conference’s protocol, met with Pope Francis on Saturday. Though it is unclear what the two men talked about, it is evident that the Vatican went out of its way to publicize the fact that the meeting happened. America’s Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell also reported on Saturday that the pope had been briefed on the back and forth over the statement. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” Gerry and host Colleen Dulle discuss Pope Francis’ strategy for bringing the bishops together in spite of their differences. “You know its defects better than I do,” the pope said to a group of American journalists this week, but “I look at the U.S. church with hope.” In the second part of the show, Colleen and Gerry look at Cardinal Bo’s efforts to advocate nonviolence in Myanmar following that country’s military coup this week. Colleen and Gerry also give an update on the plans for Pope Francis’ scheduled trip to Iraq next month and what his scheduled meeting with Shiite Ayatollah Al-Sistani could mean for intra-Muslim relations. Links from the show: Inside the Vatican | Inside the U.S. bishops’ clash with the Vatican over Joe Biden’s Inauguration Gerard O’Connell | Pope Francis meets with Cardinal Cupich, who criticized fellow U.S. bishops for confrontational approach to Biden Catholic News Service | Pope Francis talks Iraq trip, Catholic journalism and the church in U.S. Gerard O’Connell | The military again seize power in Myanmar despite pleas from Cardinal Bo Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Feb 3

27 min 52 sec

Last week, the United States’ second Catholic president was sworn in. The day was tinged with controversy for some U.S. Catholics, though, when the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Archbishop José H. Gomez, issued a statement that was seen by the Vatican as being too confrontational towards the new president. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell look at explain the questions that have arisen around the controversial document: Is there a precedent for this type of statement on inauguration day? Did the Vatican really intervene to stop the bishops from publishing the statement, as one outlet reported? And were the proper protocols followed to gather the bishops’ input? Most importantly, what does the contrast between Pope Francis’ letter to President Biden and Archbishop Gomez’s statement reveal about divisions among the U.S. bishops and with the Vatican? Colleen and Gerry also give an update on Pope Francis’ recent sciatica flare-up, which caused him to miss three events this week. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell | Pope Francis sends greeting to President Biden, contrasting with sharper message from head of U.S. bishops In rare rebuke, Cardinal Cupich criticizes USCCB president’s letter to President Biden How Joe Biden’s Catholic faith will shape his relationship with Pope Francis—and the U.S. bishops Gerard O’Connell | Pope Francis will miss three events this week due to painful sciatica Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jan 27

22 min 40 sec

The Vatican’s judicial system is entering a busy season: Soon, it will deliver a verdict in the trial of the former head of the Vatican Bank who was accused of embezzlement; it will hear the abuse trial of a former St. Peter’s Basilica altar server; and it’s expected to bring charges against a woman accused of embezzling more than 500,000 Euros from the Vatican while employed under Cardinal Angelo Becciu. This week, the Vatican dropped its effort to extradite the woman from Italy to Vatican City, which has raised questions about whether the extradition could stand: Some argue that her lawyers could have made the case against extradition because the woman was not guaranteed a fair trial in the Vatican. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell unpack this question: What makes the Vatican’s judicial system different from a modern democratic one, like Italy’s, and what are its pros and cons? The hosts also discuss Australia’s recent admission that it overestimated the amount of money transferred from the Vatican to Australia by $1.5 billion. Colleen and Gerry discuss how such a big blunder could have been made and what questions remain about the transfers. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell | Australia admits $1.5 billion error in investigation into suspected Vatican money laundering Can defendants get a fair trial at the Vatican? The Vatican decides it doesn’t want to hear Italy’s answer Inside the Vatican | The Vatican’s $200 million London real estate scandal, explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jan 20

21 min 55 sec

The eyes of the world were on the United States last week, when a group of insurrectionists supporting President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building as Congress was certifying the results of last year’s presidential election. Pope Francis said he was “astounded” and denounced the violence and the movement that caused it. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell discuss Pope Francis’ challenge to the U.S. to overcome its divisions and how the U.S. bishops will need to step up in order to achieve that. “The church can't be missing in action in such a big crisis,” Gerry said. Colleen and Gerry also explain this week’s update to canon law which opens the permanent lay liturgical ministries of lector (reader) and acolyte (server) to women for the first time. For a more in-depth look at the change, check out Colleen’s explainer article here. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell | Pope Francis condemns the violence at the U.S. Capitol Gerard O’Connell | Pope Francis calls on Americans to promote reconciliation and protect democracy after the Capitol attack The Editors | Impeach. Convict. Now. Fr. Bryan Massingale | The Racist Attack on Our Nation’s Capitol  Fr. Bryan Massingale and Fr. Matt Malone, S.J. | Video: How to make spiritual sense of the attack on the Capitol Archbishop Mark Coleridge | Catholic bishops can’t risk falling back on old tactics of political engagement Colleen Dulle | Explainer: The history of women lectors and altar servers—and what Pope Francis has changed Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jan 13

24 min 59 sec

Welcome to Inside the Vatican’s 100th episode! This week, host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell celebrate their 100th episode, reminiscing on their favorite memories of the last two years of “Inside the Vatican.” They also give updates on Vatican City’s soon-to-arrive coronavirus vaccines and Pope Francis’ recent sciatica flare-up. (Don’t worry, he’s OK.) Colleen and Gerry also dive into a recent legally binding order from Pope Francis instructing the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, which was once its most powerful office, to transfer all of its assets to the Vatican’s financial oversight office and removing their office’s investing power. The decision comes as financial misconduct in the Secretariat of State is being investigated. With the investigation ongoing, Colleen asks, is Pope Francis jumping the gun with this punitive measure? Support “Inside the Vatican” by subscribing to America: americamagazine.org/subscribe Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell: Pope Francis cancels his New Year’s plans due to ‘a painful sciatica’ Gerard O’Connell: Pope Francis tests negative for Covid-19 after two close advisors were infected Pope formally strips Vatican secretariat of state of assets Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Jan 6

21 min 25 sec

The coronavirus pandemic upended everyone’s plans for 2020—including the Vatican’s. From the first weeks of the pandemic when Pope Francis prayed in the rain in St. Peter’s Square to the London finance scandal to the new standards of transparency ushered in by the McCarrick report, it’s been an unprecedented year in every way. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell recap the biggest Vatican moments of 2020. The hosts focus on three areas of change in the Vatican: transparency, missionary work, and solidarity with the poor. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell: The Top 7 Pope Francis Stories of 2020 Deep Dive: The Vatican’s $200 million London real estate scandal, explained Deep Dive: How will historians judge Pope Pius XII’s decisions during World War II? Deep Dive: The Rise and Fall of Theodore McCarrick Deep Dive: The Vatican-China deal, explained Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Dec 2020

24 min 51 sec

Pope Francis held two pared-down and socially-distanced Christmas celebrations this week: First, Mass on Christmas Eve in St. Peter’s basilica, and then his “urbi et orbi” address and blessing “to the church and the world.” In both, we heard a common theme from Pope Francis in 2020: a strong call for greater fraternity among people. In this episode, host Colleen Dulle gives a quick update on what the pope said. Read Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve homily Read Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi address Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Dec 2020

4 min 9 sec

Just after Vatican City ordered enough doses of the coronavirus vaccine for all of its employees and their families, two cardinals who work close to the pope have tested positive for the virus. Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the 57-year-old papal almoner who once climbed down a manhole to restore electricity to a building where homeless people were living, was taken to the hospital with pneumonia symptoms. Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, 78, the president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, also tested positive. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell discuss the cardinals’ condition and the Vatican’s covid prevention measures, along with a new document from the Congregation from the Doctrine of the Faith stating that it is morally permissible for Catholics to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Colleen and Gerry break down the C.D.F.’s argument on why a vaccine derived from cell lines from an aborted fetus is acceptable for Catholics to receive. The hosts also unpack Pope Francis’ address to the Roman curia on crisis and conflict. Links from the show: Two Vatican cardinals close to Pope Francis test positive for Covid-19 Vatican: Catholics can get Covid-19 vaccines that used abortion cells Pope Francis: Sorting the church into ‘right vs. left, progressive vs. traditionalist’ betrays its true nature Pope Francis’ 2020 address to the Roman Curia Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Dec 2020

21 min 56 sec

Last week, the Vatican dropped a surprise announcement that Pope Francis would be visiting Iraq March 5-8, 2021. The announcement was surprising not least of all because of the ongoing pandemic and insurgency in the country. This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell talk about how the Vatican is weighing the pastoral needs of Iraq’s embattled Christian community and the health and safety concerns for Pope Francis and for the crowds who want to see him. Up next, Gerry and Colleen give their takes on the Vatican’s futuristic Nativity set and explain why Darth Vader and an astronaut are included among the ceramic figures coming to adore the Christ child. Finally, Pope Francis declared a year of St. Joseph beginning December 8. Why did he choose St. Joseph as a patron for this year? Gerry and Colleen explain the background of the decision and reflect on the pope’s new letter on St. Joseph. Links from the show: Gerard O’Connell | Pope Francis plans to visit Iraq in March after getting a Covid vaccine Can Pope Francis visit Iraq safely—even with a Covid vaccine? Colleen Dulle | Why is Darth Vader in the Vatican’s Nativity scene? Pope Francis proclaims a year dedicated to St. Joseph St. Joseph is the patron saint we need in this pandemic Pope Francis | Apostolic Letter Patris Corde Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Dec 2020

23 min 47 sec