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Confused by the Vatican?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jul 12, 2004

If you can't understand what's going on at the Vatican... If it seems to you that not every prelate in the Roman Curia is "on the same page"... If you want to know why the Pope doesn't step in and demand that his subordinates toe the line...

Those are questionst that Vatican-watchers ask each other constantly, and try-- with varying degrees of success-- to answer. For an unusally good effort to explain the inner workings of Vatican politics today, see John Allen's "Word from Rome" coumn in the latest National Catholic Reporter.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Jul. 14, 2004 12:47 PM ET USA

    alex: that's the trouble..the Church thinks it is just an institution. Like most giant bureacracies (governments too) it's too inept to focus on any one thing for very long. Unlike other bureacracies, it's Satan's favorite target and HE is not too inept to pirate its vast resources for his own vile purposes.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 13, 2004 12:07 PM ET USA

    First thing I was told upon application to RCIA was that, Catholic Church is a large institution. It is a large instituitonal corporate body and I learned as I passed through Initiation that every shade of opinion could be found amongst it's members. I take much comfort in the mixed messages that come from the Vatican for the enemies of our Holy Mother are consistently genuinely confused by them.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 13, 2004 10:43 AM ET USA

    C'Mon JJP! Give Phil L. the benefit of the doubt! He and Diogenes are like this (middle and forefingers crossed)!

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jul. 12, 2004 5:11 PM ET USA

    I hope you understand, Phil, that this is just an EXPLAINATION and NOT a JUSTIFICATION. I can "explain" a car wreck according to the laws of physics..., but a JUSTIFICATION..., that is for perhaps a court..., and ultimately God to decide JP