The ecumenism of blood

Pope Francis is still confounding just about everybody, but here he articulates a striking concept.  After the jump he tells an anecdote about a Lutheran pastor and makes us realize what all Christians might be facing:

Today there is an ecumenism of blood. In some countries they kill Christians for wearing a cross or having a Bible and before they kill them they do not ask them whether they are Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic or Orthodox. Their blood is mixed. To those who kill we are Christians. We are united in blood, even though we have not yet managed to take necessary steps towards unity between us and perhaps the time has not yet come. [Read more...]

Will Pope Francis be the last pope?

In checking out the predictions for last year, I came across a post I wrote with this lede:

More doomsday predictions, this time from the Roman Catholic side! According to writings attributed to St. Malachy in 1139, pope #112 will be the last one, and then Jesus will return. That would be the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who is #111.

And now we have #112, the Person of the Year who has made Catholicism cool again, Pope Francis.  But will he be the last of the line?  After the jump, the story I quoted back in February, 2013. [Read more...]

Who else should be Person of the Year?

Time Magazine announced its Person of the Year for 2013:  Pope Francis.  That’s a good and fitting choice.  But it is the custom of this blog for you the readers to nominate who you think should be Person of the Year.  So who else should it be?  (We will adopt Time Magazine rules, according to which the Person of the Year doesn’t actually have to be a person, as when The Computer won it in 1982. [See the list of previous winners.]  So feel free to nominate the Drone.) [Read more...]

Allowing divorced Catholics to take Communion?

Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic hierarchy are reportedly re-considering the practice of denying Communion to Catholics who have  divorced and remarried.

Details after the jump.  Notice in the church debates over the issue how we can see Rome’s teaching that the Sacrament is for those who are holy, rather than for those who need the forgiveness of sins.  We also see Rome’s opposition to divorce, while still allowing divorce-like annulments. [Read more...]

Pope Francis as evangelical?

In our continuing effort to try to figure out the new Pope of Rome–is he a liberal? a traditionalist?  a traditionalist acting liberal?–another possibility has presented itself:  Is he evangelical?  (Not “an evangelical,” but evangelical in the sense of stressing the Gospel–grace, Christ, the Word of God–more than the typical Roman Catholic pontiff?) [Read more...]

Conservative Catholics vs. Pope Francis

Conservative Catholics, by definition, venerate and obey the Pope.  So what do they do when the Pope is more liberal than they are? [Read more...]

“Evangelization” and “Evangelism”

Pope Francis has said that he is against “proselytizing.”  But he is also speaking on what his predecessor started, the “new evangelization.”  After the jump, some of his remarks on the subject.  He is advocating “dialogue with those who do not share our beliefs,” which he has been doing, and projecting “God’s mercy and tenderness.”  He’s been doing that too.  He is talking about “witnessing,” which we often think of as a Protestant term, depending on what is meant by that.

I’m curious if there is a difference between “evangelization” and “evangelism.”  And how a Roman Catholic, in particular, for whom church membership is critical, carries out “evangelizing” without “proselytizing.”  Can Christians who are not Roman Catholics join in these efforts as he describes them?  Also, is the “evangel”–the good news of Christ’s forgiveness won on the Cross–always clear, either in Catholic “evangelization” or Protestant “evangelism”?   [Read more...]

Is the Pope Catholic?

Pope Francis has done another interview:

Pope Francis cranked up his charm offensive on the world outside the Vatican on Tuesday, saying in the second widely shared media interview in two weeks that each person “must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them” and calling efforts to convert people to Christianity “solemn nonsense.” [Read more...]

The Pope refuses to judge gay people

Pope Francis, responding to reporters’ questions, said, “Who am I to judge gay people?”  Though what he said about homosexuality and gay priests is being hailed as a revolutionary change, he really didn’t alter church teaching.  He just spun it differently.  After the jump, an account of what he said and some reflections. [Read more...]

Indulgences via Twitter

Pope Francis will be offering a plenary indulgence–that is, a full release from Purgatory for sins committed up to that point–for those who follow the World Youth Day activities on Twitter or other social media sites. [Read more...]