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Dec. 8 will mark the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. At the time, the council was a groundbreaking move as an assembly of Roman Catholic religious leaders had not met for nearly 100 years. What would happen during the council was even more groundbreaking.

Tony Flannery
Courtesy of Call to Action

In 2012, Tony Flannery, an Irish priest and religious writer, found out the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s watchdog group, was displeased with some of his writings about the church.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Black smoke appeared again Wednesday from the chimney of the Sistine chapel, signaling that no pope has been elected yet. The first vote was taken Tuesday. After two more ballots this morning, the second and third of this conclave, the Cardinals went to lunch. They are expected to take two more rounds of voting this afternoon unless the 115 cardinals give one man 77 votes in the next round. 

By this weekend, the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics might have a new pope.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Today at 10:07 a.m. St. Louis time,  a helicopter bearing Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th pope, lifted off from the Vatican Gardens to fly 15 miles southeast to Castel Gandolfo on the shores of Lake Albano. The estate with beautiful formal gardens usually serves as the papal summer home because it is cooler, well, slightly cooler than Rome.

There at least until May, under the name of “His Holiness, Benedict XVI the Pope Emeritus,” he is expected to continue a life of prayer and writing. But Wednesday he said that his will not be a “life of privacy.”

Vatican: Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali to retire

Jul 19, 2011
Flickr/Irish Philadelphia Photo Essays

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Philadelphia Archbishop Justin Rigali, sending him into retirement as the archdiocese faces accusations that it covered up a long-running priest sex abuse scandal.

The pope has named Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput to succeed him.

Tuesday morning's announcement from the Vatican says the resignation of the 76-year-old Rigali was due to his age. He submitted it on his 75th birthday in April 2010, as required by church law, but the pope did not immediately act on it.