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

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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...]

O Wisdom! Pile on the Prudence, Please!

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Tonight they begin, the seven prophetic antiphons chanted before and after the Magnificat at Vespers. Each invokes the Messiah by one of his scriptural titles, and each calls on us to prepare a place for him--at his coming now and at his Final Coming--with an attitude that demonstrates our readiness.So, for December 17, O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. O Wisdom, who … [Read more...]

You Can Lead a Beggar to Bread: Pope Francis on Evangelization & Proselytism

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It's Tuesday, and Pope Francis is smacking gobs again. We're still waiting for a better English translation of his latest published conversation with La Repubblica founder Eugenio Scalfari , but it's safe to say there's a lot of seasickness aboard ye olde Barque of Peter this morning. Again.My gob has been so far pretty unsmackable, but a few pull quotes from this latest piece made me reach for the spiritual Dramamine. One, in particular, seemed to be a stunningly insensitive and snarky way … [Read more...]

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

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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

Vincent van Gogh, Sower with the Setting Sun

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...]

Hey, Who You Callin’ Egregious?: More on a Blog Name

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In which Pope Francis gives me an inadvertent shout-out, and I get schooled in the etymology of egregiousness.The news service Zenit has released its English translation of Pope Francis's recent open letter to the founding editor of Italy's La Repubblica, a secular newspaper known for posing challenging questions to the Church's role in Italian life and world politics. In the letter, the pontiff addresses some of these questions directly and personally, as a conversation with Eugenio … [Read more...]

Quick, Martha, Your Girdle! Slaying the Beast of Internet Ordure

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What with so many heads 'splodin' in so many directions this morning---see this wise, sane, unexploded post from The Anchoress Elizabeth Scalia if you've somehow escaped getting brain matter on you thus far---I am in grave need of the intercession of a holy buttkicker. As the grace of the Catholic calendar would have it, today is the Feast of St Martha. Couldn't be a better cavalry to call in.Wait, you say, St Martha of Martha, Martha, you worry too much? St Martha who appeared to get her … [Read more...]

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

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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 Son Jesus … [Read more...]


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