According to Belgian media La Libre, in an unprecedented gesture, Bishop Luc Van Looy, SDB, emeritus of Ghent, has asked the pope not to make him a cardinal. Pope Francis accepted his request. Named by Francis on May 29 at the Regina Coeli, he has chosen to refuse the red hat. (…/luc-van-looy-eveque-emerite…/

From stories known so far, none of the 21 cardinals-elect named on May 29 were informed by Pope Francis before the public announcement that they were to be named to the red hat.


EWTN held another of its popular “Roman Nights” series last evening on the amazing terrace of the building on Via della Conciliazione that houses our Rome bureau offices as well as those of other media outlets. Held periodically, Roman Nights are set in many different historical and artistic locations of Rome.

Drinks and a buffet were set up for the guests to enjoy before the guest panel began its discussion. It was a hot, humid evening but the strong winds and some rain that seemed a possibility never materialized

These nights are always a wonderful time to catch up with colleagues and, more importantly, to make new friends among people whose work is in some way associated with the Church. A theme is chosen for each Roman Night and the guest speakers last night, moderated by EWTN Rome bureau chief Andreas Thonhauser, focused on the upcoming 10th World Meeting of Families. The celebration this year is multi-faceted as it takes place not only in Rome but in dioceses throughout the world from June 22 to 26.

Msgr. Walter Insero, head of the communications office of the Diocese of Rome, introduced the evening and highlighted the Rome celebration of the WMOF where a highpoint will be the closing Mass with Pope Francis on Saturday afternoon, June 25, and the Angelus the following day. It was a truly Roman Night in a magnificent setting and just yards from St. Peter’s Basilica!

The highlight of the evening was meeting a young priest whom I had not seen for 10 years but recognized immediately, Fr. Stefano Cascio! The story of his vocation was made into a movie in 2012 , “Sept Ans de Conviction” (Seven Years of Conviction) and won the Mirabile Dictu Catholic film award in 2013. I saw the film, one of the most riveting movies I have ever seen, and then attended the awards dinner where Stefano and I first met and chatted. We briefly stayed in touch when he became an assistant pastor at a church in the first neighborhood I lived in in Rome, a church where I attended daily Mass.

The years passed – and then last night happened!. Stefano is now in another parish but also works with Msgr. Insero at the diocesan communications office! More to come on that story!