Posts in Europe
Don’t underestimate the Vatican’s power in Italian politics

(OPINION) Italy’s government has been plunged into chaos after the nationalist-populist coalition that had struck fear across the European establishment collapsed. It means that Italians could potentially be going to the ballot box once again this fall. It’s also a reminder of how powerful the Catholic church remains in determining the country’s politics.

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Meet the Vatican’s revamped press office and the challenges it faces

(NEWS ANALYSIS) The Vatican press office may be second only to the White House communications department when it comes to ranking the world’s busiest public relations operation. The upcoming Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region will be their first real test.

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A peek inside the restoration of New York’s historic Trinity Church

As Americans gather to celebrate Independence Day, it is worth remembering that historic Trinity Church in New York City played a significant role in the birth of America and remains the burial site of several Founding Fathers, including Alexander Hamilton.

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Vatican's soccer team had little choice but refuse to play in Austria

(COMMENTARY) The women’s soccer team representing the Vatican — yes, the Vatican has a women’s soccer team — canceled its planned international debut in Austria when sports, religion and politics made for a bad mix.

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Director Franco Zeffirelli's faith inspired his best movies

(COMMENTARY) The Italian director is known for many things, but will be most remembered for is his deep Roman Catholic faith, his an ardent support for the anti-abortion movement and his 1977 masterpiece movie Jesus of Nazareth.

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Can French politicians make Notre Dame great again?

Rebuilding Notre Dame will be a painstaking task. Estimated to cost in the billions, the cathedral has also become a political pawn in a broader fight between traditionalists and secularists. In a country divided politically — the recent European election was another reminder of this — the fate of Notre Dame very much rests in the hands of the country’s warring lawmakers.

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Is the Vatican playing a game of 'wag the dog' with the American press?

(COMMENTARY) Pope Francis is a great example of an international leader whose handlers like to control the message. Not too different from the White House press office, where access can often be very limited. That makes the papal news conference, the one that takes place aboard the pope’s flight on the way to Rome at the end of very trip, very important.

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American anti-Semitism is growing from new, surprising sources

A recent poll found that only 80% of Americans believe that 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.

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Pope vs. populists: European election results highlight Catholic divisions

(NEWS ANALYSIS) Never shy about brandishing a rosary or invoking God’s help, Italy’s Matteo Salvini has provided voters in the recent European elections with an alternative to Pope Francis’ pro-migrant stance and the church’s traditional social teachings.

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Nationalism and Catholicism collide in run-up to the European elections

(NEWS ANALYSIS) Matteo Salvini, who leads the League party, could take his anti-immigration stances to Brussels if opinion polls prove correct. His hardline stance on the issue has put him at odds with the Catholic church in Italy as well as with Pope Francis, who has repeatedly spoken in favor of refugees seeking asylum in Western Europe.

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Mainstream press continues to ignore French church vandalism incidents

(COMMENTARY) A month after the Notre Dame blaze, there continues to be little to no coverage when it comes to the rash of suspicious fires and vandalism that plagued French churches in the weeks before the Paris incident, which was quickly deemed unintentional by Parisian authorities.

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'Lords of Chaos' film tells origins of Norwegian black metal

(NEWS ANALYSIS) The genre became infamous in the early 90s for suicide, arson, murder and more. Were those metal heads and their successors devil worshippers? Or just creative, dark rock musicians?

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7 Holy Week traditions from across the globe

While the death and resurrection of Jesus marks the holiest time on the Christian calendar, different cultures and nations celebrate in very unique ways. Here’s a look at seven international traditions from Bermuda to the Philippines.

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Try these Easter eats from around the world

What would Jesus eat? Some of the world’s oldest Lenten bites, from Israel to India, are still sizzling. Others are cultural adaptions to fit the Lenten fast with local ingredients.

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Pilgrimage to Ireland: The Book of Kells at Trinity College

Trinity College in Dublin, to be exact, holds many a wondrous treasure for the insatiable scholar and fewer curiosities for the vaguely obligated tourist. For me, it held one of the crown jewels of literature, The Book of Kells.

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