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May 9, 2019

This week on “Inside the Vatican,” Gerry and I talk about three stories from Pope Francis’ trip to Bulgaria and North Macedonia. We’ll talk about what he did on that trip, as well as two stories he commented on during a press conference aboard the papal plane.

The first of those is the death of “living saint” Jean Vanier, who founded L’arche, the communities where people with abilities and disabilities live together. I ask Gerry about the pope’s relationship to Mr. Vanier and more.

Next, we talk about why Pope Francis visited North Macedonia and Bulgaria, where there are tiny Roman Catholic minorities. Gerry explains the tensions between the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, and how far the ecumenical relations have come in the last few decades.

And finally, we speak about the breaking news on the question of women deacons. Why hasn’t the Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate reached any conclusions? What, if anything, do they agree on?

This episode was brought to you by the documentary “Hesburgh,” available nationwide April 26. Learn more at


Jean Vanier, ‘living saint’ who ministered to people with disabilities, dies at 90
An interview with Jean Vanier
Pope Francis meets with Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarch Neofit
Pope Francis celebrates first Communion with 245 children in Bulgaria
Pope Francis ends visit to Bulgaria, urging its religious leaders to work for peace
In North Macedonia, Pope Francis encourages peace, prays at Mother Teresa memorial
Pope Francis makes history in North Macedonia
Pope Francis says commission on women deacons did not reach agreement