A pope who reforms and a sister who rebuilds

Two don't-miss stories from the New York Times this weekend: first, Paul Vallely's op-ed "Cleaning Up the Vatican," about Pope Francis's reforms to the scandal-ridden Vatican bank and what they say about his leadership style and priorities.

The seismic changes that are underway behind the scenes in Rome are even more radical than public appearances suggest. And they offer illuminating insights into the steely character of the man who likes to present himself to the world as a model of smiling humility.

As Vallely tells it, amid the debates about "style" vs. "substance," and in ways that are not obvious to the public, Francis is getting things done. Recalling the financial scandals the pope dealt with as archbishop of Buenos Aires, which he wrote about in his book Pope Francis: Untying the Knots (and which I blogged about here), Vallely writes, "He acted swiftly, decisively and transparently — on several levels at once. And that is what he has been doing for the past year with the opaque finances of the Vatican and its scandal-mired bank." The job is a big one. But Francis seems like a man who knows what he needs to do. Here's to his success.

Meanwhile, on the margins: Sr. Teresa Fitzgerald, CSJ, and her ministry to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in Queens is the subject of a nice profile by John Leland, "The Sister of Second Chances." The women she serves are affected by poverty many times over. Thank God there is a sister who is patient and loving enough to seek them out where they are and show them a way forward. Take some time to read about it -- and if you are moved to help, you can visit Hour Children online.



Mollie Wilson O’​Reilly is editor-at-large and columnist at Commonweal.

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