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We’re featuring three new items on the website right now, starting with Robert Mickens’s latest Letter from Rome, in which he discusses the “opposition” to Francis that began to coalesce after publication of

his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, the “programmatic” document for his pontificate. It is striking how many priests and bishops, at least those famous for quoting papal documents ad nauseam, seem unable to even pronounce the name of Francis’s challenging text. And opposition is bound to intensify in the Vatican. Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, coordinator of the Council of Cardinals (C-9), said this week the pope wants fewer cardinals working in a reformed Roman Curia.

Read the whole thing here.

Also, the editors comment on immigration reform in the wake of President Obama’s executive action:

Unfortunately, the humanitarian conditions that urge action on immigration reform appear less important to legislators than the politics surrounding the issue. Having won a majority in Congress, Republicans now must choose between actively opposing a policy that could improve the lives of many American citizens—specifically, children whose parents might otherwise be deported—and allowing the president to claim a measure of success on immigration.

Read all of “Out of the Shadows” here.

Finally, Timothy P. Schilling writes from Holland on the country’s traditional Sinterklaas festivities, in which “assistants” to St. Nicholas dressed in blackface figure prominently; read all of “Holland’s Zwarte Piet Problem” here.

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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