Author Archives: Robert Mickens

Robert Mickens

About Robert Mickens

Robert Mickens, LCI Editor in Chief, has lived, studied and worked in Rome for 30 years. Over that time he has studied at the Gregorian University, worked at Vatican Radio and been the Rome correspondent for the London Tablet. He regularly comments on CNN, the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His famous Letter From Rome, brings his unparalleled experience as senior Vatican correspondent for the London Tablet and founding editor of Global Pulse Magazine.

ROBERT MICKENS. A priest-centered Church, confused and unprepared.

In the past five or six decades, Catholic bishops in almost every part of the world have stood by, paralyzed, watching helplessly as the number and quality of priesthood candidates have continued to dwindle.

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ROBERT MICKENS. Catholics still don’t get it: sexual abuse is not about sex. Jean Vanier violated the Second Commandment, not the Sixth

We continue to hear of incidents that more than suggest that Catholics – and, in particular, their bishops – have learned very little from the clergy sex abuse crisis.

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis begins the most important year of his pontificate.

When the history of Pope Francis’ time as Bishop of Rome is finally written, there is a good chance that the Year of Our Lord 2020 will be recorded as the most important of his entire pontificate. Some are wondering … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Francis is dragging the Church, kicking and screaming, into… the 20th century. The pope’s reforms are seen as too modest by some, but too radical by others

“The Church is 200 years behind the times.” (“La Chiesa è rimasta indietro di 200 anni”.)

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ROBERT MICKENS. A controversial synod and an unusual consistor. Pope Francis doubles down on reforming the Church and the Vatican

There’s a lot of commotion in and around the Vatican right now. It consists mostly of the angry rumblings of traditionalist Catholics who don’t particularly care for the way Pope Francis is leading the Church. Then there are the retaliatory … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis steps up his campaign for immigrants

“Xenophobia and aporophobia today are part of a populist mentality that leaves no sovereignty to the people. Xenophobia destroys the unity of a people, even that of the people of God.”No one who has been following the activities of Pope … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Francis continues to make us all a bit uncomfortable – From his stance on migrants to his encyclical Laudato si’, the pope causes controversy

Pope Francis is an equal opportunity offender. No matter where you place yourself along the Catholic Church’s broad spectrum – right, left or center; conservative or liberal; traditional or progressive – if you are not challenged and even disturbed by … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis is seeking to unite humanity

“Among all the world’s political and social leaders, Pope Francis stands increasingly alone as the most powerful force for global peace and stability.” Thus began the prelude to an earlier article titled, “Pope Francis or Steve Bannon. Catholics must choose.”

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ROBERT MICKENS. Reforming the Church with ‘no possibility of return.’ How Pope Francis is initiating processes of Church reform that will be hard to undo.

How many cardinals does it take to help Pope Francis reform the Roman Curia? And how many years do they need to get the job done?Many Catholics – at least those who are hoping the pope can succeed in decentralizing … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis or Steve Bannon? Catholics must choose. American alt-right leader enlists Catholic allies to turn people against the pope

  Among all the world’s political and social leaders, Pope Francis stands increasingly alone as the most powerful force for global peace and stability. Thank God – and the cardinals who elected him in March 2013 – that the Argentine … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Vatican document on gender is like lipstick on a pig. The call for dialogue cannot disguise the text’s uncompromising ideological views .

Catholic bishops, including those in Vatican offices, are not exactly the most credible authorities on issues pertaining to sexuality these days. Few people would disagree with this, except – maybe – bishops themselves. And, of course, those who are trying … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. The current state of the priesthood and episcopacy seems to be in shambles. Broken trust in a broken clerical system.

“If you want to be priest, lie!”That was supposed to be a punch line in “Mass Appeal,” a comedy-drama written by American Catholic playwright Bill C. Davis. First staged in 1980, it was made into a film four years later.

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis’ race against the clock. The 82-year-old pope looks increasingly like a man rushing to complete a mission

The first rays of dawn had barely begun to rise over a cloudy St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican. But at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, Pope Francis was already on his way to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport where, 40 … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Birds of a feather…

Due to sex abuse scandals, Francis has ‘decapitated’ one cardinal and if true to his word, two others — and probably more — may also lose their red hats. The credibility of the Roman Catholic Church’s collective leadership (i.e. its … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. The sex abuse summit and the Vatican’s lack of transparency.

Illustrative of the Church’s fear of revealing the truth is the case of Msgr. Joseph Punderson. 

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ROBERT MICKENS. The frequent-flier pope will soon face one of the biggest challenges of his pontificate

“The Church is called to come out from itself and to go to the peripheries, not only those that are geographical, but also existential: those of the mystery of sin, of suffering, of injustice; those of ignorance and of the … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. How serious is Pope Francis about eradicating clericalism?

Even after waging war on clericalism there’s little evidence to show that the pope has dramatically changed the attitude of the clericalists in the Church. 

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ROBERT MICKENS. The pope’s bewildering inaction on sexual abuse.

There is no question that Francis is authentic — He does not demand of others what he does not demand of himself. 

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ROBERT MICKENS. The Pope’s long, hot summer. (La Croix 27/7/2018)

Will Francis make the necessary and radical changes needed to save the Catholic Church from its ongoing meltdown?  

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ROBERT MICKENS. Chile’s bishops offer their resignations en masse.

The question is did they all decide to jump together or were they pushed? It can be called nothing less than cataclysmic. The Catholic bishops of an entire national hierarchy have offered to step down for their negligence in handling … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis, a brewing crisis and ‘feminine genius’

The biggest error Catholic leaders have made regarding the church’s response to priests abusing children has been the exclusion of women leading the policy-making and reform process.

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ROBERT MICKENS. The pope’s bewildering inaction on sexual abuse

Pope Francis has been away in South America this past week and, while in Chile, he drew only modest crowds of supporters. It was the frostiest reception he’s received on any of his 22 foreign trips — at least to … Continue reading

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ROBERT MICKENS. Ugliness has trumped decency, kindness and goodwill 

Pundits have failed or refused to acknowledge the chief motive for Trump’s victory – the deep and visceral hatred so many Americans have for the Clintons, particularly towards Hillary Clinton

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ROBERT MICKENS. Pope Francis clips Cardinal Pell’s wings.

In the space of a week, Pope Francis reduced the responsibilities of Cardinal George Pell and rebuffed an initiative by Cardinal Robert Sarah. … Pope Francis [also] did a pretty good number on Australian Cardinal George Pell by once more … Continue reading

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Robert Mickens. Cardinal Pell and the Vatican power struggle.

The Holy See’s abrupt suspension this week of anexternal audit of all its financial operations by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is being described by almost everyone as the Vatican old guard’s latest attempt to derail Pope Francis’ reforms. This narrative pits “a … Continue reading

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Robert Mickens. The Pope’s Opposition.

It has been known for quite some time that a number of cardinals and bishops, both in Rome and abroad, are – to put it mildly – uncomfortable with the way Pope Francis’ pontificate is unfolding. Well, this week it all … Continue reading

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Robert Mickens. An exercise in keeping friends close and enemies closer.

No Australian bishop has ever assumed such high rank in the Catholic Church as Cardinal George Pell, who eight months ago became head of the Vatican’s newly created “finance ministry” or Secretariat for the Economy. For the 73-year-old native of … Continue reading

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Robert Mickens. Letter from Rome.

As I was saying last time, before I was interrupted, Pope Francis is facing resistance to the fresh air and change of ethos he’s trying to bring about inside the Church. And those with eyes to see can detect this … Continue reading

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