#Synod14 Relatio: Catholics, Fasten Your Seatbelts! UPDATED

The Extraordinary Synod for the Family is only half-completed, and its denouement will not be known until October 2015 or even later, but if the relatio post disceptationem, the mid-term report of this Synod is any suggestion, then, as Vaticanista John Thavis suggests at his blog, it's going to be a bumpy year, Bette; a bumpy year!The relatio emphasized the “principle of graduality” – the idea that Catholics move toward full acceptance of church teachings in steps, and the church needs to … [Read more...]

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Patheos Welcomes Dr. Pia de Solenni to the Mix!

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One of the great pleasures and challenges of assembling the Catholic channel at Patheos has been presenting a broad-but-balanced-view of Catholicism -- one that is not-too-conservative, nor too-progressive in scope, but finds the more common middle area between those extremes, wherein most Catholics reside.For most Catholics, in fact, arriving at Catholic Orthodoxy is a process. Our faith is difficult, sometimes; that's what makes it great.Catholicism demands not "blind obedience" but … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis: A School of Love On Legs

My column at First Things this week was written on the energy of annoyance:Currently the Internet is abuzz with the news that Pope Francis, upon hearing that Catholic Traditionalist Mario Palmaro was ill, picked up the phone and called this vociferous critic of his papacy, assuring him that there were no grudges being held, only prayers being offered.I was astonished, amazed, above all moved [by] one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. But I felt the duty to remind the Pope … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis Turns the World’s Words Back at It

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One chapter of Strange Gods is entitled, "Through the Looking Glass: Super Idols and Language", and part of it entails looking at how we use, over-use and misuse certain words -- or, sometimes, completely co-opt language -- in order to facilitate the creation of idols.. . . when we render words meaningless -- especially powerful words like peace and love -- our understanding of them becomes warped. Then, as when a teenager flings his stuff thoughtlessly and lazily about the house -- … [Read more...]

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A Female Cardinal? Not a New Idea, Really

It's always struck me as interesting that when Tiepolo painted Saint Thecla, here portrayed at prayer for plague victims, he imagined her in what appears to be an old-fashioned Cardinal's robe.Our Orthodox and Byzantine brothers and sisters call Thecla "the Protomartyr, Equal-to-the-Apostles". I've always thought of her as first in a long line of women -- from the earliest days of the church until today -- who were headstrong in their obedience.One of my favorite writers, David Gibson … [Read more...]

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

Lino press kit

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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So, what IS the “new evangelization?” – UPDATE

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In Catholic circles, everyone talks about "The New Evangelization", but explaining what exactly it is, is not always easy. In my column in this issue of The Catholic Answer Magazine, I more or less "go to the sources" to help give solid examples of The New Evangelization, in Theory and Application:Weeks before his death in 2005, Pope John Paul still appeared at his apartment window and, unable to speak, showed his faithful attention to the people and received theirs in return. His mere … [Read more...]

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Papa and Pop-Pop, Side-by-Side as Christians

What a day it is! With the release of Lumen Fidei and the announcement of canonizations of Blessed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, today is all about continuity, cohesion and co-operation: the announced canonization of two modern popes; the release of an encyclical composed by two modern popes, "written with four hands" but with one heart; an unexpected moment when two modern popes sit side-by-side and ask our great angelic warrior, Saint Michael the Archangel, and the most humble of … [Read more...]

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Come, Pray the Luminous Mysteries with Me!

Aside from being aggravated by some minor, but continual, issues with my computer today, I'm feeling pretty peaceful about the election, in general. I have no idea who will win, although I suspect Romney is in a stronger position than poll purchasers wanted to see, but I could be wrong.Either way I am at peace. Perhaps it's because of my conversation with this man -- which in part inspired this column -- but I prayed the Office of Readings today and look forward to praying Vespers in about … [Read more...]

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A Study in Contrasts

Two Polish men.Both artists.Both "brilliant."Both persecuted by Nazis, in their native land. One was a prisoner, one was a slave. When the Nazis left, the Communists came.One, Roman Polanski, becomes a filmmaker. He encounters a 13 year old girl.One, Karol Wojtyla, becomes a priest. He too, encounters a 13 year old girl.After his encounter, the filmmaker -still a youngish man- runs away, out into the world, saying "everyone wants to do what I did." He lives what is for the most … [Read more...]

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