A Clarification: Difficult Times, Difficult Thoughts

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Some clarifications. There were some who took exception to my calling the pope “wrong” yesterday. I want to be clear: I believe it was a mistake to open up a rejected proposal for debate and bring discredited theologians and leaders back into prominence. Most troubling is his personal support of Cardinal Danneels, which is inexcusable and reflects very [Read More...]

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Benedict and the Bishops on Communion for the Divorced

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The current synod is certainly not the first synod to consider the issue of communion for the divorced and remarried. In October 2005 the synod kicked around these issues, and in February 2007 Pope Benedict XVI published the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis (the Sacrament of Charity). Note well the long passage of time between synod [Read More...]

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The Pope and I

Dawn at the Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, where the pope is about to say mass.

I don’t want to brag or anything, but I had mass with the pope. And not some big open air mass. Nope. This was a votive mass for Our Lady, Mother of the Church, in the glorious Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. I even got a plenary indulgence for participating. Take that, [Read More...]

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Day 0: World Meeting of Families

The pope signs start a couple miles from my house and create an increasing sense of traffic panic the closer you get to Philadelphia.

I drove into Philadelphia yesterday (Monday) on assignment for the National Catholic Register, so I got an early taste of some of the World Meeting of Families. I spent much of my time trucking around to museums and exhibits for a feature story I’m writing, so most of my cell phones pics are of old things, and [Read More...]

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Bishop O’Connell’s Frustrations With Pope Francis

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On the eve of the pope’s visit to Philadelphia, Bishop David M. O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton (my bishop) has given a long and candid interview about the challenges and joys of running a diocese in the age of Pope Francis. He also reveals that he will not be participating in any of the papal [Read More...]

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The Fascinating Story of a Historic Cross at Papal Mass in DC

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When the pope celebrates mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, there will be a fascinating piece of history there with him: an iron cross made for the first mass in the English colonies in 1634. The Georgetown University site has the story. The cross is believed to have been forged [Read More...]

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LiveTweet of #LaudatoSi: Part One

Here you go, all Storified and everything. I plan to return to the task tomorrow morning. [View the story "Live-Tweeting @LaudatoSi Part I (ThomasLMcDonald)" on Storify] [Read more...]

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#LaudatoSii: Hold Your Breath, Make a Wish, Count to Three

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Tomorrow I will begin reading Laudato Sii, and I plan to tweet as I go. I’m already seeing the overheated freakouts online and it’s a sorry spectacle. Everyone needs to cut the crap, m’kay? It seems like all we do lately is replay the right’s reaction to Mater et Magistra and the left’s reaction to Humanae Vitae. [Read More...]

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