Austen Ivereigh is a British writer, journalist, and commentator on religious and political affairs who holds a PhD from Oxford University. His work appears regularly in the Jesuit magazine America and in many other periodicals. He is well known on British media, especially on the BBC, Sky, ITV and Al-Jazeera, as a Catholic commentator.

Ivereigh has written a biography of Pope Francis that describes how this revolutionary thinker will use the power of his position to challenge and redirect one of the world's most formidable religions. The book is The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.

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 Composite Photo by Dave Lucas / Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany

Reverend Monsignor Edward Scharfenberger was announced as the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Albany Tuesday morning.

Some 36 years ago, in March 1977,  Reverend Howard Hubbard received word from the Vatican that he was chosen to serve as Bishop of Albany. The years have passed quickly.

WIkimedia Commons / Rvin88

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 — the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.

The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning.

He emphasized that carrying out the duties of being pope — the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide — requires "both strength of mind and body."