Planning a Place for the Pope

Despite the guessing game regarding Pope Francis’s intentions to visit Philly next year — he almost certainly will, barring illness — officials are proceeding to plan for him. One unsettled item: Where he would speak.

“One million turned out on the Parkway in 1979 for the appearance of Pope John Paul II, so it’s easy to assume that if Pope Francis does come to Philadelphia, the Parkway would be the site,” says CBS Philly — but quickly adds that other spots are under consideration.

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Penn State Hires Former Cal Athletic Director

Penn State has a new athletic director, the first of the post-Sandusky era. But Sandy Barbour comes with some baggage of her own: She was reportedly forced out as Cal’s athletic director amid questions about the football team’s graduation rate and the poor performance of her choice for football coach, Sonny Dykes. 

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Smerconish’s Death Penalty Lament

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Poor Michael Smerconish. Pennsylvania still isn’t killing people as fast as he’d like.

So the radio host/CNN talking head took to the most prominent op-ed space in Philly — the Sunday paper, right next to the editorials — and sounded off on an old hobby horse: Pennsylvania justice isn’t working correctly because the state too rarely carries out an execution.

“Today, no matter how heinous the murder, no killer could have a well-founded fear of actually being executed in Pennsylvania,” he lamented. And he’s right. Pennsylvania hasn’t carried out an execution that was opposed by the defendant since 1962.

One thing that Smerconish fails to properly consider, though, is how that empty death chamber might actually be serving the interests of justice.

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Chaput: Pope Francis to Philly in 2015

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[Update 11:50 a.m.] Well, maybe not.

6ABC reports:

A Vatican spokesperson told Action News that, despite reports of Pope Francis coming to Philadelphia in 2015, there has been no confirmation of his travel plans.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese also told Action News there has been no confirmation of the Pope’s visit. In a statement, a spokesperson said:

“There has been no official confirmation by the Vatican or The Holy See of Pope Francis’ attendance at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. We still expect that any official confirmation will come approximately six months prior to the event.

There’s more to the statement, suggesting that Chaput was speaking out of an abundance of confidence instead of any official confirmation. Ugh. Way to get our hopes up, guys.

[Original] Pope Francis has confirmed he will come to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in 2015, Catholic Philly reports.

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Could Dems Take Back the Pa. Senate?

Even though Gov. Tom Corbett faces a steep climb to re-election — Tom Wolf has all but been coronated in some quarters — the assumption in most quarters has been that the Legislature will remain safely in GOP hands.

No so fast.

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