A Clarification: Difficult Times, Difficult Thoughts

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…]

Benedict and the Bishops on Communion for the Divorced

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…]

The Pope and I

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…]

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

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…]

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…]

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

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…]

A Lost Papal Bust by Bernini Found

This bust of Pope Paul V by Bernini surfaced two years ago in a private collection after being lost for 100 years. Commissioned by the Pope’s nephew Cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1621, it was the first papal work of the 23-year-old artist. It remained in the Borghese family until 1893, when it was misidentified and auctioned off [Read More…]

The Future Church According to Benedict

I’ve run these poetic and prophetic words from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s Faith and the Future before, but today yet another survey has people fretting about the future of the faith. Don’t. We’ve known this future was coming for decades. Now we just have to do the work of sustaining vibrant faith communities to see us through the coming trials [Read More…]