If you’re app-y and you know it… show the pope!

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has launched its upgraded Pope App this week, offering “all things pope” for your iPad or Android device.

President of Pontifical Council for Social Communications shows Pope Francis news on tablet during meeting at the Vatican

Pope Francis checks out the updated “Pope App,” developed by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

 

popeapp1President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Celli, and project coordinator, Thaddeus Jones, showed Pope Francis on Monday the updated version, which features news, images, live-streaming video and more.

It aggregates a large amount of content produced by the Vatican’s many media outlets, like Vatican Radio and Vatican television, and offers alerts so a user will know when a live event is about to begin.

The free app is available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian.

sound cloud

Another platform the PCCS has ventured onto recently is SoundCloud.com, where it’s posting audio content in different languages from Vatican Radio.

The SoundCloud account lets people share, repost, favorite and save the audio interviews and news reports onto their own playlist for listening on any device when they want.

 

Here are a few samples:

 

 

 

 

 

Nadine’s journey into pornography

Compared to all the professional types who were on the program at the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation 2014 Summit in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, Nadine was relatively obsequious. She just sat in a chair along with a couple of other women for a late-morning panel last Friday, one of several presentations that day.

But Nadine’s story was truly compelling. Compared to the other women who spoke with their professional research about pornography and its effects, Nadine’s story was personal. She had actually been in pornographic movies.

Nadine — she didn’t use her last name during her remarks — looked to be in her 70s. See appeared to be quite unassuming, but that could be because she was conditioned to be that way.

“My mom was a product of the 1940s, when you went to college to get your ‘MRS’ degree,” Nadine said. But then Nadine came along. “I was the stone in her puddle. She couldn’t be who she wanted to be now that she had me.”

It left the little girl emotionally starved -– “no conversation, no touching, no nothing at all,” Nadine said. It got to the point that her mother would develop a list of offenses she had committed each day to tell her father, who would then spank her when he came home from work. “I remember my dad really being angry when I stopped crying” after being hit, she added.

Nadine went to a Catholic school, where she was regularly bullied, including what she called mental torment and abuse. “The nuns turned a blind eye” to it, she said, adding that her father told her, “If you cooperate with the boys, it won’t hurt so bad.” She did cooperate, but it still hurt.

“By the time I got to high school, I was an emotional wreck,” she recalled. “I graduated high school, I don’t know how.” After graduating, Nadine moved to another town to get away from her family.

“I went to a dance, and the man came down from the bandstand and asked me for a date,” Nadine said. On that first date, she remembers, “I got into a Porsche. We went back to the big city, dinner, dancing. He asked me to marry him on the first date.” She declined.

As they continued dating, though, she was told, “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to that man.” “I hate when you get referred to as a ‘thing,’” she said. However, “he was taking care of me. He wasn’t hurting me,” but now she understands that this new boyfriend of hers was grooming her to appear in porn movies. “He spotted me, he groomed me, and he married me.”

CNS image created using tagcrowd.com

CNS image created using tagcrowd.com

One day, not long after she turned 21, Nadine’s husband told her they were going to go to a friend’s house for dinner and drinks. “The man who was to film me for the next three years and three months showed me” the things he had in his basement, which would double as his studio. “I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, but this man was a friend of my husband,” so she figured he couldn’t harm her, she said.

But then “I got a shot in my arm. He drugged me,” she recounted. “The first time (she was filmed)I remember almost everything,” Nadine said. But they kept returning to the house. “I was filmed every two or three months, several sessions at one time.” Nadine never put up any protest to her husband. But to cope, she added, “I was drinking water glasses full of liquor.” Because of the harshness of the sexual activity, Nadine noted, “it took me two or three weeks before I could be intimate with my husband.”

Her husband never said anything about Nadine’s prolonged absences from the dinner parties. They went on summertime yacht trips. He also fathered three children with her. But when the porn business beckoned, according to Nadine, “he would drop in on me and say, ‘You can go shopping with’ — the pornographer’s wife. It was just an excuse to get me over there.”

What happened to Nadine, she told her attentive audience, “was a lot of violence, being in a bedroom and being raped and locked in — a lot of bad stuff. … I learned to cooperate. If I saw it happening to someone else, I just” — here she clicked her tongue -– “checked out.”

“(The pornographer) told me I was a star. So I guess you could say I was a porn star,” Nadine said, pausing before she gave a cheerless, quiet “Yay.”

She admitted, “I compromised. But I was young and wanted to live.” Even so, Nadine noted, “I had a suicide plan.”

At one point she decided she had had enough. “I left a note, took a bag and my hair dryer, and I left,” Nadine said. “I went to work. I got a sleeping bag and a pillow and rented an apartment.” But the day after she got her apartment, “my husband found me, strangled and beat me.”

She got a divorce — and got nothing in the settlement, suspecting that her lawyer had been bought off by her husband’s attorney — “but the threats and the stalking continued,” Nadine said.

At one point in her hard-won freedom, the pornographer’s wife offered to meet her one last time. She, too, had been sickened over what had gone on in her house, and over the course of a weekend she filled in a lot of blanks for Nadine. One of the revelations: “My husband did know what was going on. He was the (film) editor.” Another revelation: “One of the girls from the pornographer’s house was in my house four days after I left.”

What’s it like for Nadine now, decades after all this? “It’s really bad,” she said. “I have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder. Panic attacks. I hate when I have to throw up” because it reminds her of some of the scenes she had to act in in the porn movies. And “don’t ask me to make a decision about anything,” she advised. “It’s just a horrendous experience.”

She remarried. “On the honeymoon I knew something was wrong. He was gay, and he only wanted children,” Nadine said.

The pornography also had a negative effect on her now-grown children. All three have chronic health conditions, brought on by the drugs she was injected with while pregnant so she would act in porn movies.

“I’m in isolation. It’s self-imposed,” Nadine said. “The last several years, the Lord my God, the king of the universe, he sent good people to be with me.

Nadine considers herself lucky in that she never caught a sexually transmitted disease during her brief but all-too-long career.

What disgusts Nadine is the apparently true prophecy of the pornographer. “The main filming me said, ‘You are setting precedent. Someday what you are doing now will be normal.’ And then I look at music and TV and video games …” Her voice trailed off, a tacit acknowledgment of how on the mark he had been.

A ‘Top Ten’ list about Jesus

Unlike David Letterman’s “Top Ten” lists, this list starts with the smallest number and then proceeds from there.

The list is from Jesuit Father James Martin, editor at large of America magazine and author of the new book “Jesus: A Pilgrimage,” which documents his own pilgrimage to the Holy Land as part of his preparation to write a book about Jesus.

Jesuit Father James Martin on pilgrimage in Holy Land (Photo courtesy Fr. Martin)

Jesuit Father James Martin on pilgrimage in Holy Land. (Photo courtesy Fr. Martin)

Father Martin is no stranger to comedy, what with his being the chaplain to “The Colbert Report”; host Stephen Colbert, even when he isn’t using the French-sounding affectation of his surname, is a honest-to-goodness Catholic.

But Father Martin plays it straight with his own “Top Ten,” driving home some essential points about Jesus’ earthly life and ministry while deflecting some of the suppositions others tend to make about Jesus.

Take a look for yourself. It’s a deft four-minute video.

An intern’s farewell to CNS & Rome

By Caroline Hroncich

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During my first week in Rome, I attended Pope Francis’ Prayer for Peace in Syria (CNS Photo/ Caroline Hroncich)

VATICAN CITY — When I got off the bus before heading into the office on Thursday, I walked down Via della Conciliazione and ended up in St. Peter’s Square. I stopped for a while in front of the Christmas tree, and looked around the square. Over the past four months I’ve been in St. Peter’s Square on many occasions, but there’s something about doing it for one last time that really makes you think.

It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in my professor’s office at Villanova University discussing the possibility of interning with the Catholic News Service Rome bureau for the semester. I’d never so much as been outside of the United States before, and was unsure what to expect when I set foot in Rome for the first time. But four months later, I can safely say I’ve learned so much about journalism, the Vatican and myself.

jlo2

My “paparazzi” photo of Jennifer Lopez leaving a store near the Vatican (CNS Photo/Caroline Hroncich)

I felt truly welcomed by the CNS staff and honestly felt like this was a place where I could be creative and explore my own ideas. I’ve met so many wonderful people and explored so many new things I could go on for hours about how great each opportunity has been. I took paparazzi shots of Jennifer Lopez, I sat in the ‘VIP’ section at the papal audience, I helped out with the office move, just to mention a few of my many adventures.

When I arrived at Villanova two and a half years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to be. With so much pressure to decide, the infamous “undeclared” loomed on my transcript until about the last possible second. Once I decided on communications I faced a bigger challenge: What exactly did I want to do with my life? I’d tried my hand in a few areas, but none seemed to fit.

Writing has always been something that I’ve enjoyed, and interning at CNS really helped me realize that. With the help of the entire CNS staff, I conducted my first interview, wrote my first news story, and my first blog post.

Capture

A photo I took of Pope Francis arriving at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 20 (CNS Photo/Caroline Hroncich)

This semester has made me realize that regardless of what I end up doing in the future, if I don’t get to write, I won’t truly be happy. I’m thrilled that I’ve been one of the lucky few to have had this experience.

When I board my flight back to the United States on December 21, I will be filled with many mixed emotions. When I think about the things I will miss about Rome (most of which will involve food), CNS trumps it all. In the future, if I return to Rome, I know one of the first places I will visit is the CNS office on Via della Conciliazione.

Editor’s note: Caroline Hroncich is a student at Villanova University and she interned at Catholic News Service’s Rome bureau for the semester.

- – -

Be sure to check out some of the other stories Caroline wrote during her time here:

English photographer strives to capture spirituality of the homeless

A Jesuit promotes human dignity, from Central America to the Holy See

Vatican official says not to expect papal encyclical on poverty

From New Jersey to the Vatican, opening a dialogue with the Gospel

A trip down under: Exploring the Vatican necropolis

Vatican collecting your video greetings for the pope

VATICAN CITY — Since email is so last decade, how would you like to send the pope video Christmas greetings and prayers? popevideo msg

Now you can with Vine and Instagram sharing platforms through the Vatican’s Pope2You website.

Record and post your video using Vine or Instagram and insert the link onto this form, adding any additional notes and prayers in the dialogue box.

If you want, you can also send the links directly from your device via email to pope2you@me.com adding any written words you want in the email.

The only downside is the videos they collect won’t be presented to Pope Francis until sometime after Christmas.

But there is always the old-fashioned way of sending an actual card or note by air/surface mail to:

Pope Francis

Domus Sanctae Marthae

00120 Vatican City State

and don’t forget:

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Mater Ecclesiae monastery

00120 Vatican City State

It’s never too early to think about Christmas wishlists…

audience nov 20 2013

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square Nov. 20, 2013. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — Have you attended one of the pope’s weekly general audiences in St. Peter’s Square?

If so and you’d like a memento of that day, you should know that you can order online a DVD of Vatican Television’s full coverage of the event.

Obviously anyone can purchase the DVDs and you can pick any general audience spanning from April 21, 2010 to today’s. Those dates include some historic gatherings like Pope Benedict’s last general audience Feb. 27.

The Italian-based website www.vaticanum.com has partnered with the Vatican for a while now, helping people around the world order and receive print, audio and visual media produced by Vatican outlets as well as some religious articles.

In fact, with the Christmas countdown now at “35 Days to Go,” it may not be too early to look for some special gifts from the Vatican.

The site offers things like:

Some unique offerings include:

  • Cardinals seen in Sistine Chapel to begin conclave to elect successor to Pope Benedict at Vatican

    Cardinals entering the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel March 12 as they begin the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

    A double CD titled “Music of the Conclave,” with the complete live recordings of the liturgical music sung by the Sistine Chapel Choir and the cardinal electors chanting before entering the conclave that eventually elected Pope Francis.

  • A four-CD box set of “the only recording ever” of Pope Benedict praying the entire rosary in Latin.
  • (Though they’re sold out…) the official and misspelled “LESUS” medal of Pope Francis’ pontificate.
  • A stuffed “Bedtime Bunny” that children can take to bed and, when they press its tummy, helps them recite a classic bedtime prayer.

 

Pope Francis ranks #1 most talked about name on the net

VATICAN CITY — Of the 1.83 billion people chatting and posting in English on the Internet, guess what they’ve been talking about most ?

Pope leads general audience at Vatican

Crowd captures Pope Francis on their mobile devices as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square May 20. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Not only is Pope Francis the most talked about name of 2013, his twitter handle @Pontifex ranks in the top-five “top words” on the World Wide Web.

The Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor combs the web and ranks the words, phrases and names that get the heaviest and widest usage in the English language worldwide.

The results of their annual survey of top terms used during 2013 rank “Pope Francis” as the #1 proper name most talked about on the web ahead of “ObamaCare” and “NSA” — the U.S. National Security Agency.

@Pontifex ranked fourth in the list of top words being used.

http 404Coming in first for top words on the Internet, according to GLM, was “404” — an HTTP code that appears after trying to follow a broken link; second  goes to “fail,” which was a popular catchphrase and Internet meme depicting failed outcomes; and third is “hashtag” — the pound sign that turns any word or phrase into a kind of metadata tag #LookItUp.

Some past top words and names from other years include “Apocalypse,” “Occupy,” “Newtown,” and “Steve Jobs.”

GLM said it determines the top words, names and phrases by analyzing “global discourse” on the Internet, blogs, media outlets and social media.

 

Updated — The @Pontifex franchise: over 10 million served!

UPDATE:  Well, that didn’t take long!

At 9:32 p.m. Saturday Oct. 26, a little more than 24 hours after our original blog post, the @Pontifex accounts reached 10 million followers.

Il Sismografo plots out the papal path to Twitter fame quite nicely:

  • @Pontifex accumulated 3.3 million followers in its first two and a half months (from Dec. 12, 2012 to Feb. 28, 2013, when Pope Benedict resigned) .
  • 6.7 million more people hopped on board between March 17 and Oct. 26.

Pope Francis sent a celebratory tweet to mark the occasion.

 

VATICAN CITY — Watch out @KanyeWest and Christina Aguilera @xtina. @Pontifex is hot on your heels.

pontifex

Screengrab of Pope Francis’ Twitter account @Pontifex.

Pope Francis’ Twitter accounts in nine different languages are ready to reach 10 million followers, putting the leader of the universal church dangerously close to some of the music industry’s biggest artists and Hollywood’s hottest stars.

With 9.9 million followers this week, the pope has pulled ahead of @MTV (Music Television) and @nytimes (The New York Times).

The push in popularity is largely being fueled by the surge in Spanish-language followers of @Pontifex_es, which recently went over 4 million people, beating the English account by nearly one million.

Archbishop Claudio Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (which runs The Pope App and the news.va aggregator), said the pope’s total tweet-reach, however, goes way beyond just his followers. When people re-tweet the pope’s mini messages, they’re then sent on to more than 60 million people, he told Vatican Radio today.

As we reported this summer, Pope Francis is, in fact, the most influential world leader on Twitter, with the highest number of retweets worldwide. He’s also the second most-followed leader of the world, running behind — albeit by a long stretch — U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Vatican’s media adviser, @GregBurkeRome, said last week that the pope’s Twitter presence has been especially important for Catholic immigrants who work in countries with strict restrictions on religious liberty and have difficulty accessing news or written materials about the church.

Decoding Francis: Vatican media adviser offers “10 things to know”

VATICAN CITY — If people are still unsure about what to make of Pope Francis, the Vatican’s media adviser offered his take on decoding the pontiff.

GREG BURKE, MEDIA ADVISER TO VATICAN, PARTICIPATES IN PRESS CONFERENCE ABOUT POPE'S PRESENCE ON TWITTER

Greg Burke, media adviser to the Vatican, participating in a Vatican press conference Dec. 3, 2012. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“Pope Francis is not a politically-correct pope,” rather, he is “a loyal son of the church” who presents the hard truths with a heavy dose of mercy, said Greg Burke, senior communications adviser to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

The former U.S. journalist, who’s been based in Rome the past 25 years, gave a behind-the-scenes talk last week to hundreds of benefactors celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

U.S. Msgr. Peter Wells — another top official at the Secretariat of State — also spoke at the same Oct. 18 event in the apostolic palace, where he gave his take on the reform of the curia and how they counteract secular media manipulating the pope’s message.

In trying to describe his papally-appointed role as the Vatican’s chief media strategist, Burke (an unabashed soccer fan) said, “We kick the ball to Francis and Francis scores the goals.” “We let the pope do his thing.”

He said Pope Francis clearly knows how to communicate and his effectiveness comes from his authenticity. “It’s not charm. It’s Christian charity, which is a whole lot more attractive than charm.”

He also said “Pope Francis is not a politically-correct pope, in my opinion.”

Pope greets people in wheelchairs after celebrating Mass in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

Pope Francis greeting people in wheelchairs after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

There’s been a lot of spin in the press about what the pope has been saying, but “I believe the pope wants to get beyond left and right” by getting people to focus on the Gospels, on God and his truth and mercy.

“He’s a loyal son of the church” who sees its task as being like “a field hospital” that runs to and helps people who are hurting, he said.

The pope is not advocating a “feel-good” religion of “I’m OK-you’re OK-Catholicism,” but talks about the truth of the Gospel that includes mercy and forgiveness.

“The Gospel is not there to make us feel good. The Gospel is there and makes very practical demands on us,” and one of those demands is to “tell people the truth and walk with them to the Lord,” Burke said.

Burke said, “the pope’s picture should have one of those warning labels” on it, much like a pack of cigarettes does, but with the words: “Danger: This man could change your life.”

Here’s Burke’s Top Ten List to describe and better understand the Argentine pontiff:

Pope greets man as he meets with patients, others at hospital in Rio

Pope Francis greeting a man at Rio de Janeiro’s St. Francis of Assisi Hospital — a clinic for recovering drug addicts. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (July 24, 2013)

1. Mercy — The story of the Prodigal Son is a recurring theme and the pope repeatedly says that God never tires of forgiving and welcoming his lost children back home.  “The church is waiting here for you with open arms,” is the message, Burke said.

2. Moxie/courage — “We’re all going to get challenged by Pope Francis. Get ready!” People who live comfortably or live in developed nations will be especially challenged, Burke said, adding, “This is good. This is the Gospel.”

3. Margins, missions — Francis is continuing with his predecessors’ criticism of a world divided by haves and have-nots. The pope “is not a fan of cheap grace and feel-good religion. He wants to see Christians who are not afraid to get their hands dirty,” Burke said.

Woman prays as pope leads vigil to pray for peace in Syria

A woman in prayer as Pope Francis led a vigil to pray for peace in Syria in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 7. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

4. Prayer — Non-believers often don’t notice how important prayer is for religious life. For example, Blessed Mother Teresa was often looked upon by the secular press as “a social worker wearing a habit.” But, Burke said, the pope has constantly been stressing the importance of prayer and urging people to pray.

5. Encounter — The pope is asking people to embrace a “culture of encounter” where they experience God and meet with others, including non-believers. This attitude of encounter and communion also starts at home, with your family, Burke said.

Pope Francis gives thumbs as he leaves St. Peter's Square after celebrating Palm Sunday Mass

Pope Francis giving a thumbs up after celebrating Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican March 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

6. Joy — The pope “gets a thumbs’ up on that,” he said, as he’s able to show his joy so plainly. He said that according to Pope Francis, the biggest dangers and temptations in life are “discouragement, discord, the doldrums and the devil.”

7. Service — By paying his hotel bill in person (even though he had just been elected pope), phoning people who write to him and other do-it-yourself tasks, the pope is leading by example with the message that “it’s not about power or privilege; if we’re here, we’re here to serve.”

Pope Francis steps off a plane in Rome, returning from his trip to Brazil

Pope Francis stepping off a plane after returning to Rome July 29 from his trip to Brazil. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

8. Simplicity/Humility — Living in a Vatican guest house instead of the apostolic palace, carrying his own briefcase on a trip… that’s just how the pope is and people will have to “get used to it because we’ll see more of it,” Burke said.

9. Compassion — Burke, who’s a numerary member of Opus Dei and went to Jesuit-run St. Louis University high school in St. Louis, said he used to joke with people “that everyone should have a Jesuit education. Now with Pope Francis, everyone is getting the benefits of a Jesuit education.”

“Compassion and suffering with others is something Pope Francis has a knack for” and it’s especially evident when he embraces people and is totally present one-on-one with an individual, even in large crowds.

10. Energy — Burke said for a 76-year-old, the pope “has a lot of energy and we’re going to be in for an interesting ride!”

Pope Francis is ratings king for Italian TV

Pope greets crowd after celebrating Mass for catechists in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

A cameraman captures the moment as Pope Francis greets the crowd in St. Peter’s Square after celebrating a Mass for catechists at the Vatican Sept. 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — Italian television has seen its viewership ratings of papal events skyrocket since Pope Francis’ election.

The number of people tuning in to watch the pope celebrate major liturgical events and his Sunday Angelus has “soared,” according to the Italian daily, “Il Fatto Quotidiano.”

The Italian state television channel, RAI 1, reported a jump of almost three-quarters of a million people watching its coverage of the noon Angelus.

Viewership of the weekly pre-“pranzo” prayer went from 1.56 million people in 2012 to 2.27 million people this year, “Il Fatto” reported. Not bad for a country of 60.9 million people with just 30.3 million televisions sets.

Audience share of RAI 1’s papal Mass broadcasts saw an even bigger boost going from 15.82 percent during Benedict XVI’s pontificate to 22.35 percent today. That translates, the paper said, into nearly one in three households tuning in to Pope Francis to watch him celebrate Mass.

Pope Francis waves as he leads his first Angelus in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace as he leads his first Angelus in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican March 17, 2013. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis’ first Angelus address in March grabbed a 45 percent audience share and the Via Crucis a few weeks later nabbed 36 percent — numbers that are usually the norm during live coverage of Italians’ other “religion:” national soccer playoffs.  In a play on words, the Italian paper said when it comes to audience draw, “a Mass (Messa) is worth Messi,” the champion Argentine soccer star.

TV 2000, the television station of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, had its day of fame when it broadcast live Pope Francis’ visit to Assisi earlier this month, making the tiny station the 5th-most watched channel that day, ahead of some major commercial channels.

The Italian all-news channel, SkyTG24 is giving more airtime than ever before to the pope’s Sunday Angelus, the paper said, because “when Francis is on air, people don’t change the channel.”

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