This interregnum period in the Church — and happening, as it is, during Lent — is one that calls us all to deep prayer and reflection. We are a people called to pray unceasingly, and we do so in unity with the Holy Father, now but a pilgrim in the last stage, an intensely private one, on his pilgrimage. (This is how he put it as he bid us farewell today — movingly, the bishop of Rome to people gathered… Read more

Cardinals have gathered in Rome to say goodbye to Pope Benedict, to thank him, and to focus in prayer and deliberation on the papal conclave to come, to elect a new man to the Chair of St. Peter. They do so with full knowledge that there is deep renewal (see George Weigel here) and reform (see George Weigel here) that needs to happen in Rome and throughout the world. The Holy Father has set the lead, focusing the Church on… Read more

When I had the chance to speak with the Holy Father briefly this fall, I thanked him. I thanked him for Jesus of Nazareth, the series he gave us, helping us better know the Son of God, Divine Mercy and Love. Every person I was with that day, receiving messages from him for the world, did the same: Said thank you. And that’s what cardinals are doing now. On his radio show Monday, Timothy Cardinal Dolan previewed what he hoped… Read more

A caution from Blessed John Paul II: “Modern man experiences the threat of spiritual indifference and even of the death of conscience; and this death is something deeper than sin, it is the killing of the sense of sin.” — Blessed Pope John Paul II, Angelus, April 1, 1979 Read more

Lent “might be understood as a yearly journey from ashes to living flame, from death to life,” Fr. R. Scott Hurd writes in his handy Lenten reflection book, The Living Gospel (the Kindle edition is 99 cents on Amazon — and bound edition is not much more!). Also the author of a book on forgiveness, Fr. Hurd is a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington (read his Sunday homily on his website), D.C. and former Episcopal priest, he is the… Read more

George Weigel on the reform-minded conclave to come. Read more

I’ll be honest: I hesitated before agreeing to write this piece for the New York Daily News about Cardinal Dolan and the papacy. Pretty much for the reasons Archbishop Chaput laid out recently: Who will be the next Pope? Nobody knows, and while speculating about the future can be a pleasant form of entertainment, it’s also fruitless. Pundits don’t vote. Special interest lobbying in the media has little or no effect. Catholic teaching develops over time, but it doesn’t fundamentally… Read more

And resting in this knowledge: The Cross leads us spiritually to Calvary. With Mary we stand at the feet of the dying Christ. The Cross speaks to us of the mercy of God. Let us be won over by this boundless mercy that summons us, transfigures us, and saves us. It is the way to approach with respect and love the tragedy of the Son of God who offers his life for us. Beloved young people, may you know how… Read more

What a remarkable day today! To have, as the second Friday of Lent, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, a day where the whole Church joins in a common prayer for our beloved Holy Father, as he transitions into the final stage of his life. We pray for the cardinals who will be choosing his successor. We pray for that man who will be our next pontiff — that his surrender to God will be a model that… Read more

My impression is most cardinals who had to buy plane tickets are betting on a pre-Palm Sunday return home, but this video does remind you it’s certainly possible the conclave drags on longer: I’m not betting on that. But I’m also not keen on gambling when it comes to the pope. It’s a good video if you’re looking for basic conclave 101, cleverly done. Read more

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