“Someone In the Family Is Suffering”

 While we in the US---Catholics, the media---are still parsing and praying over last week's papal interview, Pope Francis himself is wasting no time in issuing marching orders (H/T The Deacon's Bench). "Am I indifferent or is it like someone in the family is suffering?" he asked.He asked everyone to be honest with themselves and respond in their hearts: "How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted" and for those who are in difficulty for professing and defending the … [Read more...]

Oh, Lord, Come by Here!: Letting Our Longings Out

 No matter how you spin it, the papal interview published last Thursday has prompted some remarkable soul-searching. When that seed fell on the good ground here in the Patheos Catholic neighborhood and environs, it was as though the spring rains had come to California's high desert. Something impossibly beautiful is blooming in the way that Catholics of all ages and conditions and walks of life and places on the gameboard are wrangling personally with what they hear in Pope Francis's … [Read more...]

The Parable of the Papal Interview

Hear this!A pope went out to give an interview. And as he talked, some of his words fell to the media, and those birds gobbled them up before they could even be heard.Others of his words fell to those who didn't understand his context. They received his message with joy, but the first time it occurred to them how difficult it would be to live by those words, their enthusiasm withered like seedlings in a drought.Some of his words fell among cranky people who believed those words … [Read more...]

The Church and the Costa Concordia: A Lesson

 Righting the ship. If you've been following the efforts  to raise the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise vessel, grounded for nearly two years on an Italian reef, you know it was no simple operation. It took vision, commitment, lots of money and equipment and time.Righting the Church (which is, even for those of us who share Pope Francis's graced optimism, always in need of righting) is the much the same.It only takes one person---the Concordia's captain, who swears he didn't know … [Read more...]

Fine Print on the Invitation: Who Is Welcome at the Table of the Lord?

 I am confused. This will probably seem disingenuous, or a violation of my fast from bile. But I truly am curious, not angry.How do I understand my call to mission---our common calling to evangelize? What kind of invitation do I issue, and to whom?This is what Pope Francis said to the bishops and clergy gathered in Rio today (h/t to Fr James Martin, SJ): Let us help our young people to discover the courage and joy of faith, the joy of being loved personally by God, who gave his … [Read more...]

Five for Joy: Michael, Mary’s Mantle, and Other Saturday Mysteries

After a week of quiet for prayer, work, and celebration, I'm back with a First Saturday's worth of joyful mysteries.5 It's been stormy in Catholicland, so I am delighted that we are going into this weekend under the doubly papally invoked protection of St Michael the Archangel. He's been my personal patron since my journey away from and back to the Church began, always leading and prompting me toward home again. I don't think it's coincidental that many of those who reached out to me, bore … [Read more...]

More Kind, More Demanding: Seeking the Way to Witness on Same-Sex Marriage

 This is an apology, but not a retraction. My most recent post---confessing to mixed emotions about the Supreme Court's decisions on same-sex marriage---seems to have created as much confusion in my readers as there is in my head.Some people are concerned that I personally believe what I said I feared: that my Church sees homosexual persons not as sinners, but as sin itself. I know that's not Church teaching, far from it. But it is, in my experience and observation, all too often … [Read more...]

In “That Uncomfortable Silence,” Let Love Grow

 I haven't blogged since Wednesday. Struggling too much with what to say and how to say it, taking my pain to the cross. That pain, I have to be honest, does not come from the rulings the Supreme Court made on same-sex marriage, which the US leadership of my Church---to whose mysteries, including the sacramentality of marriage, I give full assent, though I have a devil of a time with the way those mysteries are proclaimed---called "tragic." It's far more personal (and therefore selfish) … [Read more...]