As you prepare to settle in for Sunday’s season finale of Downton Abbey, be sure to check out David Gibson’s analysis of why God — the ultimate Upstairs character — seems not to have a leading role on the acclaimed PBS series. And this: where are the Jews on Downton?
In pope news:
- Daniel Burke makes the case why the next pope should probably come from the Global South — at least if he wants to represent the church’s most vibrant regions. The NYT pays similar attention to heavily Catholic Brazil.
- Scandal-scarred (and retired) Cardinal Roger Mahony of L.A. has a vote in the upcoming conclave, that’s prompting both ire and a collective shrug in the nation’s largest archdiocese.
- This is good enough to get its own item: Mahony says he’s being called to “be humiliated, disgraced, and rebuffed by many.”
- The man who succeeded Mahony in L.A., Archbishop Jose Gomez, is among the first to use the s-word in reference to B16: “saint”.
- B16 says he intends to live “hidden from the world” in retirement, but his closest aide will continue as head of the papal household under a new boss. Too close?
- Manya Brachear talks to Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George — the “elder statesman of the College of Cardinals” — about what he’s looking for in a pope and how the process works.
- The Atlantic asks a series of what-did-they-know-and-when-did-they-know-it questions about signs that B16 was edging close to retirement.
- The head of the traditionalist SSPX, who has rebuffed B16′s various overtures of reconciliation and whose anti-Semitic ways have caused more than a few headaches for the pope, said he’d still like “one final gesture in our favor” before the pope leaves on Feb. 28. Fat chance.
- Gamarelli’s tailor shop in Rome is prepping three papal vestments — small, medium and large.
The Illinois Senate gave a Valentine’s gift to gay and lesbian couples by passing a gay marriage bill, but it faces a somewhat tougher climb in the state House.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis has (somewhat surprisingly) given up the fight to control an independent-minded Polish parish whose bylaws put it beyond the reach of the local archbishop.
President Obama’s former faith-based guru, Joshua DuBois, describes how he first encountered a skinny Illinois state senator with a funny name, and what he plans to do next.
A Minnesota teenager has emerged as a leading voice for gun control after his father was shot dead last year by a disgruntled former employee; Sami Rahamim says he’s motivated by his Jewish faith.
Before you break out the tea and crumpets for your Downton party, be sure to take our readership survey (probably on the right, with the iPad image). Today’s the last opportunity to enter for a chance to win an iPad mini!