Salus Populi Romani—A New Pope Goes Home to Mamma: UPDATED

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Image source Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, you've just been elected pope. What're you going to do next? According to a tweet from the always knowledgeable Rocco Palmo, Papa Francesco is not going to Disneyland. He's doing what every good Italian boy---and the new pontiff, though hailing from Argentina, is of Italian extraction---and every good Bishop of Rome does first. He's going home to Mamma. Specifically, in this case, Pope Francis will make a private visit sometime tomorrow to … [Read more...]

A Clock Set to Eternity: Why It’s Never ‘Time’ for the Church to Do Something

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What time is it? For Catholics, it's always eternity. My Patheos Catholic Channel colleague Mark Shea asked for prayers yesterday because he'd been invited to participate in a HuffPost discussion about "whether it's time to end the celibate priesthood." Leaving aside the chances (nil) that what the Huffington Post wants to do with this topic is anything resembling discussion, the question itself gives me fidgets. It's emblematic of the cluelessness of so much of the interregnum blather, from … [Read more...]

Your Average Joe, with a Twist: Betting on a Pope

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I'm pretty good at handicapping the ponies (Pete McPortland's daughter could hardly be anything less), but when it comes to papabile, I might as well be a hunch bettor. Ask me who the next pope will be, and I'm likely to give you the equivalent of "whichever cardinal has the cutest name" or "the guy who's praying with blinkers on for the first time." I can't even rely on my foolproof college basketball system for predicting a win in the Religion News Service's brilliant take on papal March … [Read more...]

The Dowager Pope and the (Very) Fallible Media

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Gaaaaaaaaaaahhhh. How long can stupid go on? The renunciation of the papacy by Pope Benedict XVI is certainly providing a test case. Not only is the MSM uncharacteristically obsessed with the story---more so, from what I can tell, than many Catholic commentators and even your average Catholic-in-the-pew-a-couple-of-times-a-month---but it continues to heap ignorant on ignorant in truly unprecedented fashion. Like today. I mean, we know that when it comes to Catholicism the New York Times is … [Read more...]

Breaching a Contract, Breaking Faith: Religious Freedom in Cincinnati

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We're used to thinking of religious freedom as an individual right---my freedom of conscience to believe and practice as I choose. But as the continuing debate over the HHS mandate demonstrates, freedom of religion under the First Amendment also guarantees the rights of religious institutions. When those freedoms collide, what gives? In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, for which I perform occasional work as an independent contractor, the cases of two dismissed Catholic school employees are in … [Read more...]

It’s a Wonderful Mardi Gras, Encore

Reposting from last year, because it's as true as ever. Our own celebrations might be subdued today, because we're in a reflective mood after the announcement of the Holy Father's renunciation of office. But the rest of you? Let it roll, on us. Today is Lundi Gras---Fat Tuesday---in New Orleans. Last night the monarchs of Zulu and Rex arrived by boat at the foot of Canal Street, kicking off the party that won't end until tonight at midnight. The good times are rolling, in a frenzy of parades … [Read more...]

Strength of Mind and Body: Praying for the Pope, the Church, the World

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  My eyes popped open at 3:01 am PST, the TV still on the overnight news. A few minutes later, a special report: POPE BENEDICT XVI TO RESIGN. If, as it seems now, the reports of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation are true, there is special reason to invoke the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes on this her feast day. According to the text of the pope's message, which has been posted on the website of Vatican Radio, the Holy Father---"after having repeatedly examined my … [Read more...]

Our Left Foot: Downton Abbey & Anti-Catholic Snobbery

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Not a few American Catholic fans of Downton Abbey were taken aback by a couple of scenes in last night's episode from Season 3. [Spoiler warning, if you're a DA follower who's behind on your dvr.] When Lady Sybil's widower---the Irishman Tom Branson, who was also once the family chauffeur---announces his intentions to have their newborn daughter baptized a Catholic, he triggers an explosion of protest from Lord Grantham. "A left-FOOTER?" Robert blurts at the breakfast table. In later scenes, … [Read more...]


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