Comments: 189 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

cahutchins71 karma

Why does hearing you speak your own name after a segment on NPR always make me hungry?

spoggioli47 karma

beats me but buon appetito!

zebbart33 karma

The Pope's recent comments contrast quite sharply with statements he made just a few years ago as Archbishop of Buenos Aires - inflammatory comments against abortion and gay marriage. Is this a shift in his position, a creation of the media's shifting narrative, or just a matter of the context of the statements?

spoggioli26 karma

While he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio took a very tough stand against the government on the issue of same-sex marriage. But he also welcomed the president of Argentina at the Vatican after he was elected pope. His papacy is still very new and his every statement is being carefully analyzed by Vatican watchers to get a sense of what kind of papacy this could be. I think the statement he has made so far that surprised the most was "who am I to judge gays?". But it is in no way clear if that means we will see a substantial change in Church dogma on issues of sexual morality etc.

wheezymustafa24 karma

Hi Sylvia! I always love hearing your name/sign off after your report.. It's a close 2nd to Ofeibea Quist-Arcton's..

My question is - from what I've heard, based on the newly elected black politician and other articles, that Italy may not be the most foreign-friendly country. Is that a nationwide problem, or is it isolated to a loud minority? What's your perspective on this for any outsider wanting to visit that country?

spoggioli25 karma

you're right, there is a growing xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment in Italy -- mostly in the North and mostly fomented by the anti-immigrant party The Northern League. The attitude toward migrants is very different in Southern Italy, where many people have relatives who emigrated abroad.

ssjh1322 karma

Let me first say that I love hearing you pronounce your own voice. Coming in second place is Lakshmi Singh.

Real question though: what's the #1 thing you wish more Americans knew about Europe?

spoggioli55 karma

i wish they had a better understanding of the origins of the welfare state -- not a product of socialism but an idea hatched by the conservative leaders of post-war Europe as a means to end the vicious civil strife of WW2.

quietude3817 karma

Just how much tension is there in the Vatican between the very populist message Pope Francis seems to promote and the more hard-line positions that Vatican officials took under Pope Benedict?

spoggioli23 karma

In the shadow of the dome of St Peter dissent is rare. But there is certainly a sense that things will not be the same soon within the administration and many officials are very said to be very unhappy about that

ttthhhhppppptt6 karma

when you say things will not be the same, do you mean that his papacy will be different or that that dissent may no longer be rare?

spoggioli25 karma

I mean in the heart of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, dissent is not often out in the open, not public. It's whispered in the marble loggias and alcoves. I think already with this papacy, many Catholics who felt they had been pushed to the margins during the previous two papacies now feel thethe Church could again be more inclusive.

pejamo17 karma

Sylvia! I admire your work. I also admire your speaking voice which has so much character. Are you a smoker?

spoggioli32 karma

used to be. I quit 16 years ago.

Fairlightchild16 karma

What is your favorite TV show?

spoggioli54 karma

The Wire

DeepThrust16 karma

Is it possible for a reporter to be critical of the Vatican and still maintain enough access to effectively cover the institution? Or is there likely to be retalitation in the form of lossed access to leaders if negative reports are filed, even if they are accurate?

Thanks! I <3 NPR. Donate to your local stations, people!

spoggioli16 karma

access has never been very easy at the Vatican, especially for women reporters. Hopefully that will change

Dundermuffin66611 karma

Do you think Pope Francis will set a trend for a more progressive papacy?

spoggioli19 karma

it is really too soon to say whether there is going to be substantial change in dogmatic issues. But pope Francis has certainly set a very new tone and created a very different atmosphere. Many Catholics tell me they feel attracted once again by the Church and hope for reform. The pope appears to want to revive the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and open up the Church to the modern world

BackToManhattan10 karma

There have been long-standing reports/rumors about the Vatican having connections to the powerful Mafia in Italy (particularly the bank). Do you believe there will be significant changes in the status quo that has existed for so long?

spoggioli15 karma

The Vatican Bank was linked in the past to some very shady business dealings with organized crime figures like Michele Sindona. And Italian authorities opened an investigation a few years ago into alleged money laundering by the bank. Pope Francis has vowed to clean up the bank and has already started with several personnel changes. Just this week the first annual report in its 125-year history. The pope has even said maybe there is no reason why the Vatican should have a bank.

illwill1810 karma

Greetings Sylvia, as others have said, I love your voice and sign off.

Question, what has been the most interesting story you have uncovered in your many years that wasn't even a blip on most people's radars?

spoggioli19 karma

a story I did earlier this year about a musicologist in a small southern italian town who has dedicated his life to recovering the lost musical compositions of people detained in nazi and fascist prison camps during ww2.

chasely8 karma

Ms. Poggioli,

Thank you for the work you do covering the Papacy and many important stories in Italy and Europe.

It seems that some vocal people in the US and parts are Europe are forgetting important lessons of history and are reverting back to extremist roots as their economic conditions worsen.

The Golden Dawn has been covered pretty extensively by NPR. Are there similar neo-fascist movements happening in Italy, or do you worry about there being new neo-fascist movements if the economy in Italy degrades?

spoggioli8 karma

there is a very disturbing surge in ultra-right parties in several European countries besides Greece-- for example Norway and Austria and the political stage in Hungary is also very worrisome. In Italy, the Northern League is increasingly strident in its racist and xenophobic ranks, but it did lose some votes in the last elections.

Joshy1788 karma

Out of all of the progressive/different things that the new pope has done/said, which action has shocked you the most and why?

spoggioli16 karma

maybe not shocked, but I was impressed that among his recent phone calls he called the founder of the Slow Food Movement, Carlo Petrini to praise him for his "amazing" efforts to safeguard endangered food stuffs. I think it shows that he really is interested in a very broad number of issues

Qaher-3138 karma

Do you have a favorite place in Italy to visit?

spoggioli9 karma

My favorite regions are Tuscany and Sicily

dyanceyfunnie7 karma


spoggioli9 karma

it has upset Europeans tremendously

whynotjoin7 karma

What impact do you think Pope Francis' shift in tone will have on relations between the Catholic Church and Italy and/or with American and European Bishops? Could we see a pull back from involvement in politics from Bishops generally?

spoggioli9 karma

The impact in Italy has already been felt -- Italian bishops have shifted away considerably in their "support" for the party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. We'll just have to wait and see if and what impact it will have on the American Catholic hierarchy.

tobeywhippet7 karma

What is Pope Benedict doing currently? We don't hear about him at all anymore!

spoggioli13 karma

Pope Benedict has retired to a residence inside the Vatican grounds. he has appeared in public for a brief event only once.

STLHolder7 karma

Are there special plans to celebrate Feast Day of St. Francis tomorrow?

spoggioli7 karma

Pope Francis is going to Assisi, birthplace of St Francis, tomorrow with the 8 cardinals he has appointed as his papal advisory board. The've been meeting in Rome with him this week for their very first session.

soullessworkerdrone7 karma

Are Italians & Southern Europeans at all concerned at potential economic impact from the US government shut-down and upcoming debt-limit conflict? Or maybe it's a benefit, since bond prices in Italy & Southern Europe will remain stable/move up slightly relative to US bonds?

spoggioli6 karma

right now Italians and other southern Europeans are mostly very concerned about the deep economic crises in their countries -- especially youth unemployment which is soaring.

DeepThrust6 karma

Are Europens still asking about what the heck happened to Pope Benedict? This had to be one of the strangest things to happen in Europe since the Church admitted ot the existence of a heliocentric solar system.

From your perspective, what exactly happened that resulted in his "retirement." I didn't think Popes retired. Why was he forced out and who exactly benefited from the coup?

spoggioli7 karma

the exact reason is still a mystery. The overall sense is that the weight of the papacy -- especially a papacy that has been afflicted by many crises and embarrassments -- was beginning to be too much. and he always wanted to dedicate much of is time to writing about theology. but we really know very little about what he is doing now.

redyellowand6 karma

Is Pope Francis as awesome as he seems?

spoggioli20 karma

He has a very reassuring tone and manner. he is surprising a lot of people by simply picking up the phone and calling people -- ordinary folk who have written him as well as prominent atheists and has started engaging a very interesting dialogue with non-believers

Procris2 karma

Where's your favorite place to go out for dinner?

spoggioli2 karma

I have many favorites in Italy - my favorite regional foods are Venetian, Sicilian and Neapolitan. But when I'm in US, I go for Chinese, Thai, Japanese

zoomboomer2 karma

I apologize in advance for a gossipy question, but is Jersey Shore as much as embarrassment to Italians as it is to Americans?

spoggioli15 karma

I don't think most Italians have ever heard of it

DeepThrust2 karma

What is the Vatican doing these days to elminate child abuse within the church? It seems every day a new story is published detailing the cover up of the systematic sexual torture of children by the Priests across the globe.

Has the culture changed at all in the last decade or so? Is it more the same than different? Has Pope Francis addressed this issue?

Thanks! I <3 NPR! :)

spoggioli3 karma

in April, a month after he was elected, pope Francis told the Vatican theological watchdog to "act decisively" against clerical sexual abuse and carry out "due proceedings against the guilty". He has spoken forcefully on the issue, but many victims of clerical sex abuse are critical that so far all they have heard is words, and not seen sufficient action.

thomasstanley12 karma

Do you think this Pope is qualitatively better than previous Pope or is he just being more publicized by the media?

spoggioli6 karma

They couldn't be more different. Benedict was cerebral but also very gracious and he attracted big crowds in St Peter's sq. Pope Francis is more down to earth, speaks in very simple terms and this has sparked great interest all over the world -- not only among Catholics

PrinceTrollestia1 karma

Ms. Poggioli! Although you are a foreign correspondent, if NPR asked you to host your own show, what would you want your show to be about? What would you want to focus on, and what would you want to talk about?

Also, in street fight between the hosts of Morning Edition and All Things Considered, who do you think would win?

spoggioli6 karma

no comment