Pope Francis

Mark Dupont via Twitter

Pope Francis today issued a much anticipated proclamation on Catholic family life. For context on the 256-page papal document, WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the Rev. Mitchell Rozanski, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pope Francis is often seen as a champion of the downtrodden. He frequently speaks about poverty and the injustice of inequality.

During his upcoming visit to Africa — from Nov. 25 to 30 — he'll visit three countries with high rates of poverty and rapidly growing economies: Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic.

His presence is certain to attract a lot of attention. But will his visit benefit poor people in these countries? What kind of difference, if any, can a visit from the pope make?

Just three months ago, I commended the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si which focused on the need for humanity to unite in an effort to drastically cut back carbon emissions to mitigate climate change.  In this commentary, I want to focus on one of the Pope’s economic arguments.

 It was an historic day in Washington.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about hearing Pope Francis’ speech in person. 

 Vanessa Langdon, a student journalist for The College of Saint Rose's student paper, The Chronicle, talks about her hectic but rewarding experience covering Pope Francis visit to America as the very first Pope to address Congress. 

Pope Francis will make history tomorrow when he becomes the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress.   Catholics in western Massachusetts are planning to be witnesses to the history.

Pope Francis has brought something controversial to the papacy—the prospect of change. In his new book, The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis, Gary Wills, New York Times best selling author of Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition and What Jesus Meant, takes on one of the most pressing questions in modern religion today: what does the future hold for the Catholic Church?

Gary Wills is a historian, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and professor emeritus at Northwestern University. He joins The Roundtable today to discuss the novel behavior of the current pope and his own opinions on the future of the papacy.

 Tomorrow is the big day.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that he’s looking forward to Pope Francis’ address to Congress. 

The Vatican


Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base at around 4pm, where he will be greeted by President and Mrs. Obama. Here to discuss the Pope's visit is Brother Ed Coughlin, President of Siena College.

Who is Pope Francis?

Sep 22, 2015
WAMC Composite Photo by Dave Lucas

Pope Francis has been heralded as a "spiritual trailblazer." As New York awaits the Holy Father's visit, WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas touched base with papal history expert Dr. Jeffrey Marlett, professor of religious studies at the College of St. Rose.

Vermont's Roman Catholic bishop will be following Pope Francis to New York City and Philadelphia this week, but will spend most of his time with reporters.

WAMC Composite Photo by Dave Lucas

Pope Francis is set to land in New York next week. On the eve of his visit, a new Siena poll shows the pontiff's favorability rating soaring.

Catholic Diocese of Burlington

Catholics across the Northeast are eagerly anticipating the pontiff’s visit later this month. That includes Reverend Christopher Coyne, who was appointed Bishop of the Catholic Diocese Burlington, which serves the entire state of Vermont, last  December.  He is well versed in electronic communications with a constant presence on Facebook and Twitter, and hosts a regular podcast.  Coyne served as Secretary of Communications and Principal Spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston from 2002 until 2005.  He is the incoming chair of the Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  As a result, he is the media coordinator for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., as he tells WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley.

Sen. Charles Schumer has announced the winners of his statewide lottery for 100 pairs of tickets to be part of the papal audience on the West Lawn of the Capitol following Pope Francis' address to Congress on Sept. 24.


The announcement today by Pope Francis of a streamlining of the marriage annulment process was welcomed by one longtime adjudicator of annulment requests from western Massachusetts Catholics.

The head of the annulment tribunal for the Diocese of Springfield, Msgr. John Bonzagni said the administrative changes ordered by the pope will eliminate automatic appeals, initiate a hearing within 30 days of application, and end the practice of charging fees to people seeking to annul their marriage.

"Everybody's life is going to be made a lot easier," said Bonzagni.

The Vatican Thursday published Pope Francis’ much anticipated encyclical on the environment.  The Pope warns of serious consequences if the world does not act on climate change.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with a renowned climate researcher, Raymond Bradley, director  of the Climate System Research Center at UMass Amherst.


Pope Francis recently called the Armenian massacre the “first genocide of 20th century.” With many areas marking Genocide Awareness Month, the killings and their aftermath are being discussed tonight at Siena College.


It was announced Thursday that Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress September 24th, making him the first pope to do so.

12/23/14 Panel

Dec 23, 2014

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain, and political consultant Libby Post, and College of St. Rose Communications Professor Mary Alice Molgard.

Topics include North Korea's Internet Collapse, Pope Francis warns Vatican leaders, Russian Facebook, DeBlasio Calls for Peace, Pakistan Executions, and remembering Joe Cocker.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Religious news figured prominently in the headlines during 2013.   The world was shocked in February 2013, when Benedict became the first pope to resign in almost 600 years. Fast forward nine months: Benedict's successor, the Argentine Pope Francis, was named Time Magazine's "person of the year." Not bad for a fellow who once upon at time worked as a bouncer!

Dr. Alan Chartock's Morning Commentary

Dec 12, 2013

WAMC political observer discusses why President Obama's "selfie" with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt is causing  an uproar and TIME magazine naming Pope Francis Person of the Year for 2013.

Pope Francis raised eyebrows when he announced the Vatican would conduct a global survey. The poll has made somewhat of a "soft landing" in North America.

Zennie Abraham, flickr

The head of the Roman Catholic Church has called for the faithful to be surveyed on issues facing modern families… 

In an unprecedented move to examine parishioners’ beliefs, Pope Francis is calling on bishops to measure what Catholics think about matters facing modern families, including many issues that go against the norm of the church. 

The Vatican

In a 10-minute speech to four new ambassadors to the Vatican on Thursday, Pope Francis made scathing comments on the state of the world economy, calling for global reform that focuses on human dignity.


Special masses were said in Catholic churches in the region today to mark the installation of  Pope Francis.  

   About 200 people braved a snowstorm to attend a noon mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield, where Bishop Timothy McDonnell declared it a day to rejoice.

   The mass in Springfield took place several hours after the installation mass  for the new pope was held under bright blue skies in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican . The crowd there was estimated at between 150,000- 200,000 people.

Stephen Gottlieb: The Choice of a Pope

Mar 19, 2013

I have held back from talking about the choice of a pope. After all, a pope is a decision to be made by and for our Catholic brothers and sisters. And it seems improper for non-Catholics to get into that issue.

NYS Catholic Conference Reacts to Newly-Elected Pope

Mar 14, 2013
Zennie Abraham, flickr

The new pope elected Wednesday is the first pontiff from the Americas - Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, whose papal name will be Pope Francis. Here is reaction from the New York State Catholic Conference.

The Catholic Conference is the official voice of the Catholic Church in the state, representing New York’s bishops in matters of public policy. Dennis Poust is its spokesman.

Poust highlights what he thinks the 76-year-old South American’s papacy will mean for New York’s Catholic Community.

Plus, says Poust:


Rev. Gary Dailey is director of the Office of Vocations for the Springfield Diocese. He travels frequently to the Vatican. He spoke with WAMC"s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill about Pope Francis

Wikimedia Commons/Aibdescalzo

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, whose papal name is Pope Francis, becomes the 266th pope in the history of the Catholic Church. He is the first pontiff from the Americas, and succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation last month, amid health concerns.

The New York State Catholic Conference represents New York’s bishops in matters of public policy. And Dennis Poust is its spokesman.