Benedict: Anchoring Pole for Francis and John Paul II

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Over at Aleteia, Father Dwight Longenecker has a piece about Pope Francis as "reformer":Francis is hailed as a “reforming Pope” and he certainly seems intent on carrying through the plans initiated by Pope Benedict. Is it best, however, to regard him as a “reforming Pope”?People can and will make their own determination about that, but Dwight's not wrong that -- public perceptions and media narratives aside -- Francis is certainly moving forward on some Benedictine initiatives, even as h … [Read more...]

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Why Francis and Benedict are Right: Proselytizing is Folly

Limerick parade, 2002/Elizabeth Scalia

Do you know why, as Pope Francis rightly noted (as Benedict did, before him), proselytizing doesn't work?Because it is not Incarnational. It has nothing in common with the example set by the Word when he condescended to join humanity and "set his tent among us". Not near humanity, but still apart; not above humanity, overseeing it, but among and with and in commonality with us.When Proposition 8 was roiling California in 2008, a group of Evangelical Christians decided to make a weekly … [Read more...]

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If we “get” Francis, we have to absorb his lessons

One aspect of fallen human nature is that we, in a weirdly paradoxical way, tend to become precisely what it is we do not like. Saint Paul decried this tendency in himself, "I do not understand myself; all that I hate I am become" (Romans 7:15).In attempting to walk with people who still processing our new pope and trying to understand him, or trying to understand themselves and what matters within the depths, I've had a lot of time to ponder that line of scripture. It is so easy for those … [Read more...]

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Acedia and the Help of Saint Benedict

So, you may have noticed that for the week, I have written nothing. At all. Anywhere.For whatever reason, I have most uncharacteristically been doing battle, all week, with the devilish little blue megrim that is acedia.Actually, "doing battle" sounds romantic and pro-active. It would be more accurate to say I have been whining and unable to work and whining about being unable to work, and wandering around the house ineffectually, and walking the park feeding ducks, and missing my dog, … [Read more...]

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God in the Balance; Loving Dark and Light

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Regardless of our religion -- whether we are Catholics or Evangelicals or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist -- the spiritual life challenges us to find balance. One of the reasons I was attracted to the Rule of Saint Benedict was because in ora et labora there is a prescription for balance. In the recitation of the Divine Office, we not only sanctify our time but we also set a pace for the whole day of prayer; work; prayer; work until -- if we are good Benedictines (and I am not one) it all flows … [Read more...]

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Benedict: The Burdened Do Not Shrug

A little fun. Because I am missing Rome desperately, particularly as I look out my window and gaze upon the silvery sky that promises more snow tonight, I reposted my lovesong to Rome's Eternal Shrug:Amid the mod socialists, less politically-minded Romans observe the gathering from the shady comfort of a cafe awning; they drink frothy coffee and when asked what the Communists are demanding, they smile and shrug. "What does every crowd demand? Attention; a little money so they can do better … [Read more...]

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