“How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted?”

This was very much on the pope’s mind this morning—along with some other challenging thoughts on unity, gossip and the “privatized” Church. From CNS:  Backstabbing and gossip hurt people and harm God’s desire for a united human family, Pope Francis said. Unity is a gift from God, “but often we struggle to live it out,” [Read More...]

The pope makes his mark in Newark, “the first truly Francis appointment”

And what is happening in Newark may be telling.  Rocco has everything you need to know,with some wide-ranging analysis: For all the smiles at the cameras and talk of a smooth transition, the difference between Newark Catholicism’s present and future can be boiled down to this: while John Myers prefers to be addressed as “His [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...]

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...]

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...]

Turnabout? Bishop Tobin, once “disappointed” in Francis, now “grateful”

From NCR:  The U.S. Catholic bishop who grabbed headlines when he said he was “disappointed” Pope Francis had not spoken more about abortion now says he is “grateful” to the pope for widening the vision of the church. Providence, R.I., Bishop Thomas Tobin made his newest remarks in a statement Friday, one day after Jesuit [Read More...]

“A pope for the Catholic middle”—UPDATED

That’s how John Allen sizes up yesterday’s headline-grabbing interview with Pope Francis.  His take: In political terms, Francis says something out loud that arguably had already become clear, but with a degree of candor that popes don’t often provide: “I have never been a right-winger.” At the level of content, there’s not much groundbreaking in [Read More...]

Report: Francis urges priests to “welcome” couples living together—UPDATED

That’s just one part of a two-hour discussion he had with the priests of Rome Monday. Details:  “Sanctity is greater than scandal”. This was the message Pope Francis extended to Rome’s parish priests at a meeting in St. John the Lateran this morning, the Diocese of Rome’s weekly newspaper RomaSette reports. The Pope asked for this meeting [Read More...]

“If you speak ill of your brother, you kill your brother…”

From today’s homily, Pope Francis offers a message I really need to take to heart: He who speaks ill of his neighbor is a hypocrite who lacks the courage to look to his own shortcomings. Speaking during his homily at morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis focused on the fact that gossip [Read More...]


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