The Tenderness of Francis: No, that’s Benedict! NO WAY!

A few weeks ago I found myself in the middle of a dust-up on social media. A supposed "fan" of Pope Benedict made a remark that, in light of what I know of the Pope Emeritus from my reading, made no sense to me. So I asked this rather cranky anonymous entity about it, and there ensued a very strange conversation; the more I quoted Benedict to this person, the angrier he or she became with me.It was the tenderness of Benedict that seemed to be throwing this person off."Tenderness" … [Read more...]

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“If you do not love, you do not know.” Benedict, Francis and a Relevant Church

It was one year ago today that Pope Benedict XVI announced an action on his part that will resonate for many decades into the future -- to long past when we have all passed -- and throughout the world.The Catholic church is relevant to the whole world. It has been for 2000 years, and it will be relevant until the end of time. Decades of social revolution, transitioning moral outlook, broad educational opportunities and excessive materialism (combined with the church's own heinous sins) had … [Read more...]

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Kid President Innocently Echos Benedict XVI

This is just unbelievably adorable, but it's also so very wise:"We're really glad you're here." It reminds me so much of Pope Benedict's exhortation that people need to hear "it is good that you exist!"It's an enthusiastic message of love, mercy, forgiveness. It's just great. And I love how self-possessed this kid is. And corndogs rule!“Just treat everybody like it’s their birthday. Even if they don’t deserve it sometimes. Because we all mess up sometimes. The biggest mess up? N … [Read more...]

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Divorce-Remarriage: Francis May Walk Us Thru Door B16 Cracked Open – UPDATED

Pretty recently I wondered whether ideas to reform our annulment process would be seen by people as "amnesty" or necessary mercy:An attempt to streamline the annulment process is not an idea that will please everyone. Those who. . .have jumped through the hoops and endured the long and difficult bureaucratic processes may justifiably wonder about fairness. They may feel like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son, and they will need to be reminded–with great love–that “ev … [Read more...]

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Should “New Homophiles” Be Allowed their Stories?

I love this about Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great teacher, whose story reminds us that we do not know as much as we think we do:[In 1273, on the feast of Saint Nicholas, Aquinas was celebrating Mass] when "he received a revelation that so affected him that he wrote and dictated no more, leaving his great work the Summa Theologiae unfinished. To Brother Reginald’s (his secretary and friend) expostulations he replied, "The end of my labors has come. All that I have written appears to be as so m … [Read more...]

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Is Benedict the “founder of the feast”?

The beauty of the Gospel touches our hearts, a beauty that is the splendor or truth. It astonishes us, again and again, that God makes himself a child... so that we may love him, so that we may dare to love him, and as a child trustingly lets himself be taken into our arms. --Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas Homily, Midnight Mass, 2012Because the world is paying attention, again; exposure to Catholic teaching is on the rise. This is the first step toward learning and renewed … [Read more...]

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“Gain a world of followers and lose your own soul…”

Pope Benedict XVI famously urged Catholic clergy, religious and laity to get on to the web, learn how to use it and then "give the internet a soul", and it's certainly gratifying to see the many fervent Catholic folk who have taken his words to heart, here at Patheos and elsewhere.But working, even catechizing, online comes with its own spiritual dangers -- sins so easily fallen into that they almost don't seem like sins at all; they become "just a thing that happens on the 'net." Sort of … [Read more...]

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Lino Rulli: “Perfect people don’t inspire me…”

Okay, I've been very upfront about it, so we already know that I am an idolator!But perhaps you didn't know how bad it has become.Take a look:Aye, that's not just a copy of Lino Rulli's new book, Saint: Why I Should be Canonized Right Away, but a medal, and a prayer card and, yes, an I-mean-business 7-day candle.Let's call it what it is: The Shrine of Saint Lino de Sirius-ly Imperfect, patron of "Catholic Guys" and Gals, Bookies, and People Who Expect Every Flight to End … [Read more...]

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Christianists, Proselytizing and the Encounter with Christ

Recently there was a dust-up among some Catholics who wondered what exactly Pope Francis meant when he, during an interview with La Repubblica editor Eugenio Scalfari said that proselytizing was a "solemn nonsense".Clearly, what he meant was that preaching at people doesn't work; while being a reflection of Christ among us is powerful evangelization.If anyone needed the proof of it, recall the ill-reception proselytizing Christians received in 2008, when -- instead of living and working … [Read more...]

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Triage in Francis’ Field Hospital: Room for Sarah?

Antonio Spadaro, SJ is one of the nicest, most humbly centered and joyful men I have ever met, and his remarkable interview with Pope Francis is, almost a week after its publishing, still dominating conversations among Catholics and even non-Catholics. Bravo, Antonio!The talks that are happening are remarkable, even among people who we may presume have discussed an issue many times, and perhaps have reached an impasse, or simply not known where else to go with it. Check out this affecting … [Read more...]

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