Christian Culture Series on Salt + Light: John Thavis, Vaticanista

thavis lecture

“Power, Personalities and Politics at the Vatican”

John Thavis is a journalist, author and speaker specializing in Vatican and religious affairs.  For more than twenty-five years John Thavis held one of the most fascinating journalistic jobs in the world: reporting on the inner workings of the Vatican as the head of the Rome Bureau of Catholic News Service.  His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it first appears. Thavis reveals Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations of modern life.  Author of the recent New York Times best seller, “The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church,”  Thavis examines the reign of Pope Benedict, the momentous transition that just took place in the papacy, and the history of one of the world’s oldest and most mysterious institutions.

Tune in Saturday, February 15 at 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT to watch this episode of the Christian Culture Series.

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Photo: (from L to R) Tony Spence, Director and Editor in Chief at Catholic News Service, Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London, John Thavis, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB

 

Vatican Connections: Friday, May 31, 2013

The topic getting ink in Rome this week involved some leaked information but it had nothing to do with private documents, no stealing, no accusations. In fact, the person who leaked the information probably did not realize they were releasing previously undisclosed information.

The “mole” was the Bishop Luigi Martella of Molfetta, Italy. While on his ad limina visit with the other bishops of the Puglia region, an informal chat with the Holy Father. To reassure the bishops that Pope Benedict XVI is indeed in good health, Pope Francis reportedly said, “I was worried about his health before, but now he’s okay. He’s even working on the encyclical about faith.”

Bishop Martella, apparently thrilled by this news, wrote about it in a letter to the faithful that he posted on his diocesan website. Italian media, who had been speculating for some time about the role the retired pope might play in the current pontificate, jumped on this piece of information. Headlines inclued “Benedict writes encyclical” and similar statements.

The Holy See spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi, told Catholic News Service that he could confirm that Pope Francis was on board with the plan to release an encyclical on Faith for the Year of Faith. Fr. Lombardi also said he could absolutely deny that Pope Benedict was writing the document for Pope Francis.

Another piece of information that Bishop Martella leaked is that Pope Francis is planning to write an encyclical of his own. It should come as no surprise that, as Bishop Martella reports, Pope Francis’ first encyclical will be about poverty, not in the material sense, but in the evangelical sense. This recalls his words at his audience with media, just after his election “how I want a poor church, a church for the poor.”

While we will have to wait to get further details on the timing, one thing is for sure: given Pope Francis’ style of preaching, the encyclical will be something everyone can read and understand. Pope Benedict’s encyclicals were theologically beautiful and profound, but the average person had to re-read them several time to fully understand them. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Pope Francis’ encyclical being read far and wide by a vast and varied audience.

Vatican Connections: Benedict’s last week as pope

It has been nearly two weeks since Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing his resignation. Last week we looked at his announcement and the reaction from the cardinals who were first hand witnesses to the historic moment. This week we look at the questions that have begin to arise: what will happen to Benedict XVI after February 28? When will the conclave start? What will the next pope have to deal with with? What is Pope Benedict XVI doing before he leaves the See of Peter?

John Thavis, former CNS Rome Bureau Chief and the author of “Vatican Diaries” looks at this moment in relation to the nearly 30 years of Vatican events he’s covered. George Weigel looks ahead to the challenges the next pope will have to deal with. Francis X. Rocca, CNS Rome Bureau Chief walks us through what is happening this week and next, and points out things to watch for in the coming days. Also, we take questions from viewers about this resignation, including the various rumors that are circulating about Pope Benedict’s decision.

Perspectives Daily – Wednesday, Dec. 7


Tonight on Perspectives: We look in-depth at Pope Benedict’s weekly General Audience and the American Catholic Church may soon be getting a new Saint. More than that, the Knights of Columbus were honoured in Rome yesterday and Catholic News Service will soon be getting a new Rome Bureau Chief – we tell you who.

A veteran Vaticanista heads west

A fixture in the Holy See Press Office, John Thavis is now preparing to step down as the Rome Bureau Chief of Catholic News Service. Since 1983, the Minnesota native has covered the Vatican for CNS, where he has become one of the most-read journalists on the Roman scene. In this Witness interview from 2007, Thavis shares his experiences covering two papacies from the unique perspective of the Vatican press corps.

Let us begin!

“Let us begin!”

The phrase is a fitting conclusion to the press conference introducing Archbishop Charles Chaput as the new leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Catholic News Service’s John Thavis offers the details on today’s significant appointment.

You can also view Salt + Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica’s Witness interview with the Archbishop here.

 

CNS: Diplomacy and Drought

The Vatican has established diplomatic ties with a predominantly Muslim nation, and the Pope appeals for humanitarian aid to Somalia. Catholic News Service Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis reports.

CNS Vatican Report: Back in Black

After being in the red for the last few years, Vatican finances are back in the black — but a decrease in donations by the faithful means a mixed financial picture for the Vatican. Catholic News Service Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis and Rome correspondent Cindy Wooden report investments and tourism can play a role in keeping the Holy See solvent.

CNS: On Arts and Artifacts

Taking a look at the Vatican’s not-so-Secret Archives, bracing for reaction from China, and sixty artists for sixty years of ordination. Catholic News Service Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis covers all this in today’s Vatican report.

CNS Vatican Report: Happy anniversary, Papa!

It’s been a busy week for Pope Benedict, with the highlight being his 60th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. That milestone is the focus of this week’s Catholic News Service Vatican Report with Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis and Rome correspondent Carol Glatz.