I want to send congratulations and best wishes to Pope Francis on the third anniversary of the start of his pontificate tomorrow, March 19! That is also the solemnity of St. Joseph and in Italy it is Father’s Day – a beautiful triple celebration!

This is a somewhat abbreviated version of “Joan Knows” – if I had the time I could either add more news or at least explain my amazing day so you’d understand the brevity of this column!


My guest this week is Janet Morana who is, many of you know, the Executive Director of Priests for Life and also co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a group that mobilizes women and men who have lost children to abortion. Janet is also co-host of The Catholic View for Women with Teresa Tomeo and Astrid Bennett Gutierrez.


Our focus this weekend in what is a riveting conversation, will be the lawsuit that Priests For Life has before the US Supreme Court, a case that will be heard at the Court on March 23rd . Janet is an individual plaintiff in that case. This all came about because of the HHS mandate that is part of the federal health insurance program as Obamacare. Under federal law, health insurers and employer-sponsored group health plans generally must cover certain preventive health services, including contraceptive services, abortifacents, etc. prescribed for women by their doctors.

The Petitioners – Priests for Life, Little Sisters of the Poor and others who are in this suit, object to providing contraceptive coverage on religious grounds but are eligible for a regulatory accommodation that would allow them to opt out of the contraceptive-coverage requirement but which, in the long run, also has objectionable clauses. What you might not have understood before, you will understand after our conversation.

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives:


THE LIGHTS OF THE DOME AND FACADE OF ST. PETER’S BASILICA are to go dark on the evening of Saturday, March 19th.. From 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM in the evening, the lights shall remain dark on the occasion of the 2016 edition of Earth Hour – an initiative promoted by the World Wildlife Fund International in which Vatican City State is participating. According to the Holy See Press Office, the lights illuminating the two fountains in the square and the four candelabra surrounding the central obelisk will remain shining, however, along with those that light the two “arms” stretching from either side of the Basilica’s narthex and signed by the two great equestrian statues of Constantine and Charlemagne, north and south, respectively. (Vatican Radio)

POPE TO LAUNCH INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT – Pope Francis on Saturday officially launches his own account on the Instagram photo-sharing social network site, under the name “Franciscus.” Founded in 2010, Instagram has around 400 million users worldwide and shares photos and videos with a community of followers. The opening of the Pope’s Instagram account will increase his strong presence on social media platforms. He already has a Twitter account with the hashtag @ Pontifex that has over 26 million followers who are constantly increasing in number.  Speaking in an interview with Vatican Radio,stagram the Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Monsignor Dario Vigano said the decision to open an Instagram account arises from the Pope’s conviction that images can reveal many things. Monsignor Vigano explained that the aim is to tell the story of this Pontificate through images allowing people who want to follow or know more about the Pope to see and share his gestures of tenderness and mercy.  He said the images that will be posted on Instagram will emphasize the qualities of closeness and inclusion that Pope Francis lives out in his daily life.  The opening of the Pope’s Instagram account follows last month’s meeting between Pope Francis and the Instagram Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Systrom. In a post after the audience, Systrom said they discussed “the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages.”