Pope Francis is set to name 17 new cardinals on Saturday, including Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, will be installed as archbishop in Newark in January, becoming the diocese's first cardinal. But Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who hosted Francis at last year's World Meeting of Families, is not among the new cardinals, a departure from recent tradition. The city's five previous archbishops have all been made cardinals. It "seems pretty clear that Francis is intentionally breaking the tradition that certain dioceses automatically get a red hat," said William Madges, professor of theology and religious studies at St. Joseph's University. Read more
Mayor Jim Kenney is urging Philadelphians to ratchet down the vitriol in the wake of recent protests, racist graffiti and violent flash mob incidents. "I know right now that many Philadelphians are feeling anxious, angry, afraid, even hopeless. Others feel emboldened by hateful rhetoric to act out in destructive ways," the mayor said. "But if we allow any of these feelings to guide our actions, then we are no better than what we claim to oppose." Read more
Philadelphia School District students could soon start classes before Labor Day, and finish earlier in June. Changes for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school-year calendars are set to be introduced at today's School Reform Commission meeting. Attendance lags in June; this year, the school year extends through June 20. "This is a way for us to get more instructional time during what I call 'prime time,'" said Cheryl Logan, the district's chief academic support officer. "The more instructional time we get in before Memorial Day, the better." Read more
A legislative panel is continuing its probe into Kathleen Kane's tenure as attorney general, even though she stepped down from the state's top law enforcement post after a felony conviction in August. A former top prosecutor testified Monday that Kane thwarted an investigation involving a Scranton multimillionaire who later gave Kane a large campaign donation. "I have an opinion that the investigation was interfered with, that it did not follow its natural course," Laurel Brandstetter testified. Read more
A federal judge has ordered the CIA and National Security Agency to disclose to him whether they spied on Occupy Philadelphia protesters during the monthlong demonstration at what is now Dilworth Park. U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller has given the agencies until early next year to submit a list of any records about potential surveillance activities. The order came in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by a lawyer for the demonstrators. Read more