Francis and Francis and Dr Kueng and All: Friday Bits

A big week in the Church and the world: too big to get my blog around, somehow. Here are some Friday bits to think about through the weekend. Francis Goes Home to Assisi Today, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, was the day Pope Francis made a pilgrimage to venerate the holy places associated with his namesake. This most Franciscan of Jesuits (or most Jesuitical of Franciscans?—it’s a tossup) got to spend the day in one of the holiest… Read more

Dearest Pope Francis . . . Snap Out of It!

I love you dearly, Holy Father. But there’s no denying you’re overdue for an earful—a come-to-Nonna meeting, with all due respect—from some ladies of a certain age and station, for whom I dare to speak. Don’t get me wrong. My beef is not with your theology. You probably don’t get to read the Sunday Los Angeles Times, so you may have missed an op-ed piece calling you on the carpet for being a traitor to feminist hopes. One of the… Read more

Pope and African Bishops to Cardinal Kasper: “Can you hear us now?”

Presented for your consideration: Pope Francis has named Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea (which, for the Eurocentric, is an African country) as Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship. Listen up. Deacon Greg Kandra has the story at The Deacon’s Bench, via The Vatican Insider: The Vatican has an African cardinal leading a Vatican Congregation once again. Nigerian cardinal Francis Arrinze was Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 2002 to 2008, while Cardinal… Read more

Brittany and Lauren: A Diptych for the Dying

Over this weekend of saints and souls, Brittany Maynard, diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, took her own life. Lauren Hill, diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, took her first and last layups as a college basketball player. Both young women’s stories played out in the public arena. Both challenge, poignantly, Americans’ beliefs about death—that very uncomfortable reality we would rather die than face. I am not the only one seeing Brittany and Lauren as contrasting icons, two sides of a diptych…. Read more

A Musical Birthday Card to (and from) St Teresa: No Worries

I am disturbed. I am affrighted. And I suspect I’m not alone. In the world, the apocalyptic horsemen ride hard. In the Church, folks are either toppling statues (and statutes) or busy sending out Save the Schism Date postcards, at least as far as anyone can tell from the garbled barque-to-shore transmissions and the excited utterances they provoke. Here in my house (in your house, too, maybe) the everyday demons of worry and sorrow are never far away. So here,… Read more

Thanks, Catholic News Service, But No Thanks

As Deacon Greg Kandra reports at The Deacon’s Bench, Catholic News Service (CNS) today released matching videos purporting to summarize two sides of a hot-button debate on the eve of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. While only one thread in a tangled rope of issues facing families, Catholic or not, in the world today, the discussion of whether Catholics who marry after a civil divorce (but whose first marriage was validly sacramental and has not been declared null) might… Read more

A Little (Astonishing) Perspective as an Antidote to Dread

The world, it seems hard to deny, is on an express handbasket to hell. For Catholics, as for other people of faith, the challenge is how to find and proclaim the Good News in the horrific headlines. How to find and praise God in the horror. How to live the Spirit’s gift of wonder and awe when all around us are losing heads, literally and figuratively, and blaming it on somebody’s idea of religion. I don’t have answers to those… Read more

Don’t Judge a Bishop by His Residence (or the Pope’s)

I love Pope Francis. I don’t love when the world—(including more than a few Catholics)—uses Francis as a stick to beat bishops with. Today’s CNN frontpage feature, headlined “The Lavish Homes of American Archbishops,” uses public real estate and tax data to profile U.S. archepiscopal residences valued at more than $1 million. The investigation’s subhead says it all: “10 of the country’s top church leaders defy the Pope’s example.” I’m no fan of bishops who bling for bling’s sake. And… Read more

The Magdalene’s Cave: Thoughts on Priesthood and Women

I’ve said it before. I am a Catholic woman who once believed, passionately and thoroughly, that women were called to ordination in the Catholic Church. And now I don’t. On the feast of the Magdalene, that Apostle to the Apostles and patroness of uppity women, some thoughts. First, though, a caveat. My changed position is not really about thinking. When people ask me why I no longer have issues with a male priesthood, I could say, like a certain president, that… Read more

Looking East Clearly: More on Orthodox Divorce and Remarriage

My recent post on the “Orthodox solution” has provoked a lot of conversation here and on social networks. Most of the reaction has been from Catholics who do not wish to see the Church alter its practice of denying the sacraments to divorced Catholics who remarry, and interpreted calls to look to Orthodox practice as a signal that the upcoming synod might seek such an alteration. My purpose—and, I believe, the purpose of Cardinal Kasper and other Church leaders who recommend… Read more


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