The Vatican on Thursday sought to tamp down speculation that Pope Francis wants to reverse church teachings and allow divorced and remarried Catholics and their spouses to take communion.
Religion News Service walks through what happened after word surfaced earlier this week that the pope reportedly called a woman in Argentina and told her it is OK for at least some divorced Catholics or their spouses to receive that sacrament.
The woman, Jacqueline Sabetta Lisbona, had written to the pope about her anguish because she felt she couldn't receive communion since her husband's previous marriage had ended in divorce and they had not been married in a church. According to The Washington Post, "the last time she tried to take the Eucharist was last year, but the local priest ... denied her communion."
Her husband, Julio Sabetta, tells CNN that his wife "spoke with the pope, and he said she was absolved of all sins and she could go and get the Holy Communion because she was not doing anything wrong."
After that news hit the Web, the Vatican weighed in. NPR's Sylvia Poggiolli notes that Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a brief statement that nothing about church teachings should be inferred from any personal calls made by the pope.
In that statement, Lombardi does not dispute the accounts of what the pope reportedly said. But he does say that the pope might have been misinterpreted, according to the Vatican's English translation of Lombardi's statement:
"That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope of personal relationships, and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion."
"Therefore," Lombardi continues, "consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from these occurrences."
Pope Francis is known to pick up the phone. Agence France-Presses notes that:
"The pope has previously been reported making calls from the practical to the intense, including calling his newsagent in Buenos Aires to cancel a subscription and comforting a mother grieving over her murdered daughter.
"The Vatican rarely makes official comment on reports of the calls, which often rely solely on the person in question saying that they have been called by the pope — who has been dubbed 'the cold call pope' by the tabloids."
Do you know what a guillotine sounds like? How about a Tiegel semi-automatic stop-cylinder printing press?
These are some of the sounds from past generations that have been lost (sometimes for the better). But the Museum of Work in Norrköping, Sweden, is preserving those sounds.
Here & Now’s Robin Young listens to some of these lost sounds with Torsten Nilsson, curator of the Museum of Work.
- Torsten Nilsson, curator of the Museum of Work in Norrköping, Sweden.
Measles cases in the United States have spiked in the past four months, driven mostly by people traveling from the Philippines, which is in the midst of an explosive outbreak of the highly contagious virus. By April 18, 129 cases have been reported, the most in that time period since 1996.
The situation is unusual enough that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday warned people to get their measles shots up to date, especially if they're planning international travel.
"We're impacted by what happens globally," Dr. Anne Schuchat, an assistant surgeon general and director of the national center for immunization at CDC, told reporters.
But we're also impacted by the fact that more people are choosing not to have their children vaccinated against measles and other infectious diseases, Schuchat said. "Today's measles outbreaks are too often the result of people opting out." Eighty-four percent of the people who have gotten measles so far this year were either not vaccinated or didn't know if they had been vaccinated, according to CDC data.
California has reported the most measles cases, with 58. It's also a state that allows parents to refuse vaccinations for children due to philosophical beliefs. Other outbreaks have been reported in New York and in Washington state.
Many doctors practicing today have never seen measles, which means that the disease can be spread when a sick person shows up in an emergency room or doctor's office. That happened in 11 of these new cases, according to a report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
So people who haven't been vaccinated should be sure to tell ambulance drivers and other health-care workers to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, which can linger in the air for hours.
Earlier this month, the Washington State Department of Health warned people who had attended a Kings of Leon concert that they had been exposed to measles by a woman who hadn't yet exhibited symptoms, which include a fever, cough and rash.
"You can be infectious four days before the visible onset of symptoms, and four days after," Schuchat said.
People considering international travel should make sure they're up to date on vaccinations, the CDC says, and infants 6 to 11 months should have at least one dose of the MMR shot that protects against measles before being taken overseas.
The Sunday morning talk shows once played a vital role in American politics. Shows like “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation” and “This Week” used to facilitate opportunities for news-making interviews that would set the national political agenda.
Now fans are criticizing such shows for being too gossipy or hosting the same guests repeatedly, and these once influential programs might be dying out.
NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the way politicians and journalists are altering their use of Sunday morning programs.
Transparency and low cost aren’t exactly widespread when it comes to getting healthcare. But Elliot Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, is trying to change that.
The hospital is offering “CareBundles,” an all-inclusive fee for procedures like colonoscopies and knee surgery. At this time, only the uninsured can get fixed price procedures. But while the initiative is in its infancy, some big companies are making similar low-cost deals with hospitals in other parts of the country.
From the Here & Now Contributors Network, New Hampshire Public Radio’s Todd Bookman reports.