Pope Francis: Intervention for a Hoarder Church

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I got my wish. Last week, the conclave elected as a successor to St Peter and to the retired Pope Benedict XVI a man who seems to embody the best of my two favorite popes (John XXIII and Benedict)---doctrinal faithfulness and pastoral joy. I even called St Joseph's Day as the perfect date for the inaugural Mass. What I couldn't predict is that the erstwhile Cardinal Bergoglio, with whose name I wasn't even familiar when it was announced, would take the papal name and embody the best of my … [Read more...]

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

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Image sourceJorge 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...]

That Papal Lightning Strike? It’s a GOOD Thing

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Image sourceThere's been quite a bit of buzz about this photograph of lightning striking the dome of St Peter's today, on the day that Pope Benedict XVI's intention to renounce the papacy was made public.Of course, there's been global buzz about every aspect of that announcement---from instantly produced Facebook memes to Vegas odds on the March Madness conclave brackets. Some of it's good buzz: the outpouring of respect for the Holy Father's candor, humility, and courage; the chance to … [Read more...]


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