Benedict writes to atheist, says he never tried to hide abuse cases

From CNS:  In a letter to an atheist Italian mathematician, retired Pope Benedict XVI defended his own handling of allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and politely criticized the logician’s total reliance on scientific facts for meaning. “I never sought to conceal these things,” the pope said of cases of clerical abuse, [Read More...]

Fr. James Martin on The Big Interview: “We both had the same thought: ‘You know, this could be kind of a dud.’

Hours after that interview with the pope was published, the grumbling began—and from some unexpected places.  One of them was in Catholic media. Greg Erlandson, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, complained on his blog: While I am at the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications with such leaders as Cardinal Thomas Collins of [Read More...]

The pope’s powerful outreach to a prodigal people

I’ve been reading some of the reaction to the ground-shaking interview with Pope Francis. Not all of it has been warm. Traditionalists, in particular, find it worrisome, and some conservative commentators have been downright hostile. It seems to me they are missing the point.  The Holy Father was speaking to the world, but he was [Read More...]

What’s in a name? Some insight into Pope (George Mary) Francis

From Dr. Edward Mulholland in Zenit:  Jorge María Bergoglio is now better known as Pope Francis. An hour after we saw him on the balcony, asking for our prayers for him as Pope, I wrote that the three keys to this pontificate would be humility, reform and evangelization. After six months of homilies, travels and surprises, I [Read More...]

“A man can wear the loftiest of miters without having his head swell to fit it…”

Another voice added to the “Amen” chorus singing the praises of Pope Francis, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni:  It wasn’t the particulars of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking message in an interview published last week that stopped me in my tracks, gave fresh hope to many embittered Catholics and caused hardened commentators to perk up. It [Read More...]

Pope Francis on social communication and “the great digital continent”

The scoop, and text of his remarks today, from Vatican Radio: Pope Francis on Saturday addressed the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Pope Francis said the goal of the Church for its communications efforts is “to understand how to enter into dialogue with the men and women of [Read More...]

NY Times: “A surprise pope keeps on surprising”

The paper sniffs around for some analysis of the pope’s interview:  Francis is challenging the status quo of the Roman Catholic Church so determinedly and so unexpectedly that Vatican watchers are debating whether this is merely a change of tone, as many had thought at first. Some now think the pope may be making a [Read More...]

Cardinal Seán O’Malley responds to Pope Francis interview

The cardinal, of course, is part of the “Super 8″ group of advisors to Pope Francis who will be convening next month in Assisi. From the cardinal’s blog:  For although the Church’s principal activities are the pastoral work of our parishes, Catholic education, social services and health care — which serve millions — people can [Read More...]

The Francis Effect: 8 ways he’s changing the Catholic Church

Elizabeth Tenety in the Washington Post offers some anecdotal evidence: increased Mass attendance, larger crowds at papal audiences, more people lined up for confession. And that’s just for starters. Read it all.   [Read more...]

Who said that?

 “I was asked to give interviews and I always knew the questions in advance. They concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems. If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions; we give the impression that we are moralists [Read More...]