Is Francis too radical for his flock?

That’s the provocative question at the heart of this piece from Foreign Policy:  While the Church still regards homosexual acts as sinful, no previous pope has offered a “who am I to judge?” response to the question of what to do with gay priests. Indeed, under the reign on Francis’s immediate predecessor, Benedict XVI, top [Read More...]

More Pope Reaction: “He is Leading with Mercy”

From the Washington Post comes this roundup of reaction to Pope Francis’s comments yesterday—including some astute thoughts from our own Eve Tushnet:  “Pope Francis’s brief comment on gays reveals great mercy,” said the Reverend James Martin, an influential Catholic commentator. ”That mercy, of course, comes from Jesus Christ. And we can never have enough of [Read More...]

Pope Francis on Gays: “Who Am I to Judge Them If They’re Seeking the Lord in Good Faith?”—UPDATED

The interview that will be making headlines around the Catholic media this morning, from John Allen in NCR: On the way to Rio de Janeiro on July 22, Pope Francis told reporters that “I don’t give interviews.” But at the end of his seven-day tour de force in Brazil, not only did the pope give an [Read More...]

John Allen on “What We Learned About the Pope in Brazil”

He filed this for the CNN Beliefs blog: Francis was elected at 76, so he doesn’t exude the animal magnetism of the early John Paul II, the last pope to command this kind of popular affection. Elected at 58, John Paul delivered dramatic gestures like the actor he once was. For instance, he would kiss [Read More...]

Pope Francis: “We Need a Church Capable of Warming Hearts”

This is simply beautiful:  Francis was addressing the Brazilian Church but today’s lunch with the region’s cardinals and bishops in Rio’s Archbishopric was much more than this. The Pope laid out a plan for his pontificate. He presented the image of a Church which walks beside its faithful in order to be truly missionary and [Read More...]

What’s the Media Saying About the Pope in Rio?

Vatican Radio’s Sean Patrick Lovett has the answer:  One thing that really stands out in headlines across the media spectrum, is how the Argentine Pope is conquering everybody – even the Brazilians (!) – with his warm and simple attitude and with the direct way he uses words… Both local Rio papers, O Globo and [Read More...]

On Pope Francis: “You Can See He is a Pastor. He is Not a King.”

Some provocative insights on Pope Francis from a provocative former Franciscan, via Vatican Insider:  “Three weeks before Bergoglio’s election, I tweeted: Francis is going to be the next Pope because as St. Francis did, the Church needs someone who can restore its lost credibility…” Leonardo Boff no longer wears a habit after his clash with [Read More...]

“I Need to Watch This Guy Closely, Because He’s a Good Example for Me…”

That’s New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, talking about—who else?—Pope Francis. From an interview with NCR’s John Allen: You were one of the cardinals who elected Francis, and presumably you had some idea of what kind of pope he would be. To what extent has it turned out the way you expected? In some ways, it’s [Read More...]

“Why Would Conservative Catholics Be So Upset?”

That’s one of the questions Michael Sean Winters poses in this rejoinder to Archbishop Chaput’s comments yesterday in the National Catholic Reporter. An excerpt: Pastors around the world are reporting increased levels of Mass attendance and more frequent reception of the sacrament of reconciliation. Is this not what conservative Catholics have been calling for these [Read More...]

A Remarkable Meeting with Pope Francis

Robert Moynihan describes a “joyful encounter” in the Domus Santa Marta: This morning, as the hot July sun was just beginning to rise over Rome, something extraordinary happened. Wearing a bicycle helmet and black-and-purple bicycle gloves, a black-haired young man from Porto Alegre, Brazil — the country where the Pope will meet next week with [Read More...]