FROM Rachel Donadio
Pope Francis and the Church of Rome Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is now the 266th leader of the Church of Rome. He is known for simple living and care for the poor. The first Jesuit pope and the first born outside of Europe in more than a thousand years, on this first day, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the cardinals who elected him in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. A doctrinaire conservative -- no fan of women's empowerment -- from an increasingly secular country, he's apologized for failing to better protect the faithful when Argentina's military dictatorship abused and killed many thousands of people. His challenges include priestly sex-abuse, Vatican corruption and declining membership. Will he be the breath of fresh air some Catholics say they've been waiting for, or another apostle of the status quo?
The Pope's Last Day Benedict XVI is now the first Pope to resign his office in 600 years. The Pope Emeritus left the Vatican by helicopter today and flew to the summer residence, Castel Gondolfo, where he addressed a crowd from his balcony. Rachel Donadio, Rome Bureau Chief for the New York Times , has more on his last day in office and what's next for 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world.
The Catholic Church Before and After Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI declared today, "I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter." Speaking in Latin, the 85-year old Pope told a group of cardinals that "advanced age" will cause him to resign on the last day of this month. It's the first such action in 600 years, and the Vatican says that one billion Roman Catholics should have a new Pope before Easter. Even close aides reportedly were surprised by the end of an eight-year reign tainted by clerical sex abuse and divided between traditionalists and reformers. We hear more about the decision, the state of the church and the prospect of a new Pope from Africa or Latin America.
Is Italy's Economy Too Big to Fail, but Too Big to Bail Out? When it comes to the troubled economies of the Euro Zone, "contagion" is what economists, bankers, traders and political leaders fear most. Now the focus has shifted from Greece to Italy. Greece at least appears to be getting its economic act together, but Berlusconi's Italy is another matter. We hear about the billionaire Prime Minister who's promising to resign, and what Italy's potential bankruptcy could mean for the rest of the world.
Greece Has Been Scary Enough, Now There's Italy When it comes to the troubled economies of the Eurozone, "contagion" is what economists, bankers, traders and political leaders fear most. Now the focus has shifted from Greece to Italy. Greece now has a unity government led by a banking technocrat pledged to avoid bankruptcy, however unpopular austerity measures might be. Italy has an economy almost triple the size of Greece, Portugal and Ireland combined, with a massive debt it might not be able to pay. Its shaky economy is the creature of Prime Minister Berlusconi, one of the world's most colorful leaders. Will he really get out of the way? We get a taste of Italian politics today and hear what a national bankruptcy would mean for world markets and American banks.
Rome Parcel Bombs Raise Terror Fears in Europe Much of Europe is on edge this Christmas season, and with parcel bombs exploding today at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome, the tension's increasing. Rachel Donadio is Rome Bureau Chief for the New York Times .
Church Abuse Scandal Reaches Pope Benedict XVI Revelations of pedophilia by priests and cover-ups by Roman Catholic authorities began in the US in 1985. Since then, they've spread worldwide, and this week questions have been raised about the actions of Pope Benedict XVI when he was Archbishop of Munich. The latest reports in Europe are from Italy, where three men say they were abused as boys at a Catholic school for the deaf.
Church Abuse Scandal Reaches Pope Benedict XVI Pope Benedict XVI is under increasing pressure to directly address the sex scandals rocking his church. Revelations of pedophilia by priests and cover-ups by Roman Catholic authorities began in the US in 1985. Since then, they've spread worldwide , and this week questions have been raised about the actions of the Pope when he was Archbishop of Munich. The latest reports in Europe are from Italy, where three men say they were abused as boys at a Catholic school for the deaf. Is it a smear campaign, as the Vatican claims, or is it time for the Pope himself to explain his own actions, in the interests of restoring his dwindling credibility?
Fabricating Memoirs First it was A Million Little Pieces . Now, just two years later, a second fake memoir has fooled a major American publisher. Will there be any changes? Love and Consequences purported to be the memoir of a half-white, half-Native-American girl, who grew up in a black foster family in South Central Los Angeles. Margaret B. Jones supposedly carried illegal guns and sold rugs for the gang called the Bloods. But none of that really happened and Jones turned out to be Margaret Seltzer, who grew up in a comfortable suburb in the San Fernando Valley. Rachael Donadio is a writer and editor at the New York Times Books Review.
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."
The President and America's infrastructure: Bait and switch? President Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure proposal may not be what it seems. We look at the prospects for much-needed improvements in roads, bridges and airports.