Josephine McKenna

Josephine McKenna has more than 30 years' experience in print, broadcast and interactive media. Based in Rome since 2007, she covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis and canonizations of their predecessors. Now she covers all things Vatican for RNS.

All Stories by Josephine McKenna

Popes John XXIII, John Paul II elevated to sainthood

April 27, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) “We declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints, and we enrole them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church,” Francis declared to the crowd in Latin during the two-hour ceremony.

Pope Francis broaches a rare topic: abortion

April 25, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The pope’s remarks represented a departure of sorts for Francis, who has kept a relative silence on the issue as he tried to redirect the church’s energies toward combating poverty and income inequality.

Report: Pope Paul VI to be beatified after California ‘miracle’

April 25, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) According to the weekly magazine of the Pauline Fathers, a miracle involving the birth of a baby in California in the 1990s has been attributed to the late Italian pope; the identity of the family and its location has not been revealed.

Meet the women behind the miracles credited to John Paul II and John XXIII

April 24, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A Costa Rican mother of four says she was healed of an inoperable brain aneurysm after praying to Pope John Paul II and receiving a message of “don’t be afraid.”

John Paul II and John XXIII: A rush to sainthood?

April 22, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The fast-track canonization for Pope John Paul II, and the bend-the-rules process for Pope John XXIII, have raised questions about a rush to sainthood for the two most influential popes of the 20th century.

In his Easter message, Pope Francis prays for Ukraine, Syria

April 20, 2014

(RNS) The Urbi et Orbi (Latin for “to the city and to the world”) message, delivered from the central balcony of the basilica where Pope Francis first appeared after his election a year ago, included a call to end “deadly force” on “defenseless” civilians in Syria, and urgent humanitarian aid for victims of the conflict.

Italy’s ‘singing nun’ shows that ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’

April 17, 2014

ROME (RNS) “In my daily life, something has changed,” Sister Cristina said. “Now people stop me in the street and thank me for the joy that I have given them with my performance.”

Vatican faces second round of UN scrutiny on sexual abuse policies

April 15, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) At issue is whether the church’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal violates international norms against subjecting minors to torture, something that the Vatican’s chief spokesman denied on Tuesday.

Pope Francis: Human trafficking is ‘a crime against humanity’

April 10, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, ” the pope said at an international conference.

Oscar-winner plans TV series with an American pope in a scandal-rife Vatican

April 8, 2014

ROME (RNS) In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the producers predicted the imaginary pope would rival other complex characters, including Tony Soprano, Walter White and Frank Underwood.

Pope approves reforms for scandal-plagued Vatican bank

April 7, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The pope’s statement ended months of speculation about the troubled bank’s future and endorsed a proposal developed by Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy.

Pope Francis calls traditional marriage an icon of God’s love

April 2, 2014

(RNS) Pope Francis’ emphasis on traditional marriage during his Wednesday (April 2) audience comes after his much-discussed comments on gays soon after his election a year ago.

Sainthood rites for John Paul II, John XXIII to be beamed around the world

April 1, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) For the first time, viewers will be able to watch the historic canonizations of Pope John Paul II and John XXIII live in 3-D movie theaters in 20 countries across North and South America and Europe.

After ‘Bishop Bling’ scandal, Vatican silent on Atlanta archbishop’s $2.2 million mansion

April 1, 2014

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Vatican officials declined to comment on a new $2.2 million residence built for Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, but the episode is particularly embarrassing since Francis fired a German bishop for a lavish $43 million mansion.

Rome’s clergy tailors find a subdued mood under low-key Pope Francis

February 6, 2014

ROME (RNS) On the streets of the ecclesiastical fashion district in the center of Rome, the mood is somber. No one wants to criticize the much-loved Pope Francis, but his personal style, combined with the ongoing economic crisis, is having an impact on business.

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