NATIONAL NEWS: Pope Francis Disappoints With Trans Comments

Pope Francis blesses baby  while in Philadelphia.

Pope Francis blesses a baby during his Philadelphia trip in September 2015.

Pope Francis makes discouraging remarks about trans youth identity and same-sex marriage.

Pope Francis has disappointed members of the Catholic church on matters pertaining to LGBTQ relations in his recent letter Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), which covers marriage and the family. In his writing, he supports the College of Pediatriciansrecent claims that “conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” “The young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created,” Pope Francis states. He further asserts that if individuals believe they have “absolute power over our own bodies,” it could potentially imply that “we enjoy absolute power over creation.” The 261-page document also included statements that there are “absolutely no grounds” for sincerely acknowledging “homosexual unions.” All of this comes as another reminder that Pope Francis is not as socially progressive as many followers had initially hoped. Read more »

Will I Go to Hell If I Don’t Go To Mass During the Blizzard?

Via Shutterstock

Via Shutterstock

With the probable Blizzard of 2016 about to bear down upon us, you probably have a lot of important questions. Did I buy enough bread? Are there batteries in the flashlight? What time does the liquor store close? And of course: What will become of my soul if I skip church on Sunday due to the massive amount of snow, snow that God himself hath sent? Well, if you’re Catholic, we have some answers for you. Read more »

You Can Own the Pope’s Philly Fiat

The pope and his "little car" in Philadelphia. Photo | Jeff Fusco

The pope and his “little car” in Philadelphia. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Pope Francis’ four-door Fiat was the subject of much talk when he visited Philadelphia in September — stylish, yet small and environmentally friendly, the little vehicle gave off just the right vibe of humility that Francis himself has sought during his papacy.

Now it can be yours. The Fiat will be auctioned Jan. 29 at the Philadelphia Auto Show’s Black Tie Tailgate. The announcement was made today by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Proceeds will go to church ministries.

“When we learned that these vehicles would be given to us, we wanted to find some way for the public to see them and answer Pope Francis’ call to love and care for the poor,” Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a written statement announcing the auction. Read more »

Fame, Fate, and the Boy Soprano


Bobby Hill performing with the Keystone State Boychoir.

Three months after unexpectedly sharing the stage with Pope Francis on the Parkway, Bobby Hill is still being recognized everywhere he goes.

Consider just this past week: On Monday, Bobby’s father took him shopping for a new suit, and whether they were at Joseph A. Bank at Liberty Place or the Boscov’s in Plymouth Meeting, people would point and whisper Isn’t that the kid who sang for the pope?

On Wednesday, in Beverly Hills, where the 14-year-old was honored at the Ebony Power 100 gala along with John Legend, Prince, and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, music managers and agents shoved business cards in his face while members of the African-American power crowd snapped selfies with him. Read more »

Bobby Hill Named One of Ebony Magazine’s 2015 Power 100


Bobby Hill (front center) singing with Keystone State Boychoir.

Remember Bobby Hill? He’s the 14-year-old with the “voice of an angel” who wowed the world during Pope Francis’s papal visit with his last-minute a cappella performance of “Pie Jesu.” He’s a soloist with the Keystone State Boychoir and is having quite the autumn since that breakout performance. 

Selected as one of Ebony magazine’s 2015 Power 100, Hill is flying out to Los Angeles to sing at the magazine’s 70th Anniversary Gala this Wednesday, December 2nd at the Beverly Hilton. This Central High School student should have plenty to keep him from getting bored as he’ll be honored alongside Prince, Penn alum John Legend, Janet Jackson and Viola Davis.

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Pope Doll and Other Timely Philly Trinkets Buried in Time Capsule at the Fillmore

Fishtown historian Kenneth Milano places a stuffed pope doll into the time capsule.

Fishtown historian Kenneth Milano places a stuffed pope doll into the time capsule.

The new Fillmore Philadelphia is barely a couple months old now, but if our great-great-grandchildren go digging around in Fishtown one day, they may come across a little piece of its history. Officials from the venue lowered a time capsule into the ground on the Richmond Street side of the building Wednesday afternoon with items that provide a snapshot of Philly and the venue in 2015. The capsule holds some sports and media memorabilia — and even a reminder of Pope Francis’s visit in September. Here’s what they put in it:

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Want a Piece of Pope Francis Carpet? This NJ Company Will Send You Some

Left: Pope Francis in Philadelphia, with carpet laid by NJ's Event Carpet beneath his feet (Photo by Bradley Maule) / Right: Event Carpet's Ted Resnick, holding a square of white pope carpet and a cross made from white and gold pope carpet (Photo courtesy Event Carpet)

Left: Pope Francis in Philadelphia, with carpet laid by NJ’s Event Carpet beneath his feet (Photo by Bradley Maule) / Right: Event Carpet’s Ted Resnick, holding a square of white pope carpet and a cross made from white and gold pope carpet (Photo courtesy Event Carpet)

Pope Francis is long gone from Philadelphia, but one New Jersey businessman has found a way to keep the spirit of giving going full force: He’s sending fragments of carpet from the papal events to people all over the world in exchange for donations to St. Jude’s Hospital for Children. Read more »

Alan Butkovitz’s Damning Study of the Pope’s Visit Is Misleading


Business was godawful in Philadelphia during the papal visit, according to a new “economic impact study” by City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

Butkovitz found that 85 percent of the hotels, restaurants and retail stores that his office surveyed “said that revenue this September compared to prior Septembers was either significantly or somewhat less than average.”

Butkovitz added in a statement, “None of the customers that typically frequent these businesses were around, not only on the weekend, but were absent the week leading up to the papal visit.”

Butkovitz’s study has at least one major problem, though. His office surveyed only 108 companies located in the so-called “traffic box” — a relatively small area in Philadelphia where incoming traffic was banned during Pope Francis’ trip.

To get a real understanding of how the papal visit affected Philly, you’d have to survey businesses throughout the entire region. That’s because plenty of pilgrims booked hotel rooms, ate at restaurants, used transportation services, and shopped at stores outside of the traffic box — probably more than they did inside the traffic box, in fact, according to local economist Kevin Gillen. Read more »

City Hosting a “Day of Kindness” to Honor Pope and Dalai Lama Visits

Philadelphia was to play host to two of the world’s top spiritual leaders this fall (we got the pope, the Dalai Lama canceled), so, in the spirit of keeping the holiness flowing, the City and nonprofit organization A Day of Kindness have teamed up for “A Day of Kindness” on October 27th. (History buffs may recognize that date as the birthday of Philadelphia—its 333rd.)

“We are working to bring out the spirit of kindness William Penn envisioned when he founded Philadelphia,” say reps from A Day of Kindness. “Our intention is to invite the best of the human spirit to be more present by facilitating acts and expressions of kindness. We are reaching out to the diverse communities, faiths, celebrities and underserved populations of the city to reacquaint each other with the kindness that lives inside all of us.”

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