Top Stories from the Vatican in 2019 (and what’s next in 2020)

Swiss Guards arrive to attend Pope Francis' Christmas message and blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 25, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Happy New Year from Inside the Vatican!

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For our New Year’s Day episode, Gerry and I are taking a look back at some of the biggest Vatican stories of 2019.

We start with February’s Vatican summit on the protection of minors, which Gerry and I covered together in Rome. We talk about the steps Pope Francis has taken to follow up on that meeting, including the elimination of the “pontifical secret” in December which paved the way for the long-awaited Vatican handbook that will establish universal norms for handling cases of clerical sexual abuse. Gerry also gives us a timeline on when to expect that document.

Next, we take a look at Gerry’s pick for the year’s most important papal trip: Pope Francis’ trip to Abu Dhabi, also in February. On this trip, the pope celebrated the first papal Mass on the Arabian Peninsula and signed a document on human fraternity with Muslim leaders. Gerry walks us through why these gestures were so significant and what lasting effects they have already had.

Skipping ahead to the fall, we discuss the Amazon synod, when all of the bishops from the Amazon region along with indigenous people, leaders and experts from around the world came to Rome to lay out how the church would respond to its many challenges in the region. We talk about when the pope is likely to issue a final document from that synod, and when its suggestions would be put into effect.

We wrap up this episode with a lightning round of the most important Vatican stories in categories like the most significant papal appointment, the top interreligious dialogue story, and what Vatican story we should keep our eyes on in 2020. (Check out the title of this episode in your podcast feed for the answer!)

Links from the show:

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