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Pulitzer Center Update March 11, 2013

This Week in Review: The Vatican's Old Boys Club

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Cardinals in Rome ordered two investigations of American nuns. Is this a modern-day Inquisition...

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A cardinal walks near St. Peter's Square ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's last public audience on February 25, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Benedict has been the leader of the Catholic Church for eight years and is the first Pope to retire since 1415. He cites ailing health as his reason for retirement and will spend the rest of his life in solitude away from public engagements. Image by Oli Scarff. The Holy See, 2013.


As the cardinals of the Catholic Church gather in Rome to elect the next pope, one constituency whose voice will not be heard in the Sistine Chapel are the women who make up at least half the church's membership. This is particularly disturbing to the nuns who more often than not are on the front lines of the church's fight for social justice and its ministry to the poor. As Pulitzer Center grantee Jason Berry writes in his multi-part investigation for GlobalPost and the National Catholic Reporter, many members of female religious orders feel they have been targeted by a vindictive Vatican investigation that some have called a new Inquisition.

The investigation comes at a time "when many convents are immersed in asset-management plans to cover rising elder-care costs, while the larger Catholic Church is reeling from the costly litigation connected to a sprawling priest sex abuse scandal from Boston to Los Angeles and Ireland to Germany," writes Jason. "As the Vatican investigation of the nuns deepened, many sisters grew appalled at what they saw as disinformation tactics, powerful churchmen using doctrine to mask a campaign of retribution for the nuns' liberal politics, and, as they saw it, a psychological projection by scandal-stained cardinals and bishops."


This week, we wrapped up our second year of the Sharp Writer-in-Residence Program, a unique partnership between the Pulitzer Center and the College of William & Mary through our Campus Consortium initiative. Critical to the program is the mentorship provided by Pulitzer Center-supported journalists Jina Moore and Stephanie Hanes during the six-month course. They created a series of workshops exploring the craft of journalism and today's media landscape. Through small group and individual sessions they taught students how to turn their reporting into stories that would interest a broad audience. Read the eight students' reporting projects on issues ranging from international aid and school gardens to the global perception of Che Guevara.


The Picture of the Year International photo contest, the oldest and one of the most prestigious of such competitions, found much to like about this year's crop of entries from Pulitzer Center photojournalists. Louie Palu took second place in the portraits category for his image of a young Mexican woman who had just been deported from the United States. And our iBook "Voices of Haiti" was given the jury's special recognition in the "Best e-Books" category of the competition. Peter DiCampo and Stephanie Sinclair were also recognized for their outstanding work.

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The Pulitzer Center and The College of William & Mary continue their unique initiative to provide...

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