Laudato Si: All of our Sin, All of our Hatred on Trial

Core of Galaxy, via Hubbell/Public Domain

In his encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis gets to the heart of the matter in the second paragraph, but most miss it on their way to the cherry-picking: The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten tha … [Read more...]

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Pope Approves Tribunal to Investigate Bishops re Abuse Responses

Dome of Saint Peter's Basilica/Elizabeth Scalia

For the most part, I think this is the right thing to do. Francis X. Rocca reports:ROME— Pope Francis ordered the establishment of a special court to try bishops for mishandling cases of clerical sex abuse, filling a widely decried gap in the Vatican’s approach to the problem.The Vatican on Wednesday said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which already holds responsibility for cases of sex abuse by priests, will also “judge bishops with regard to crimes of the abuse of offic … [Read more...]

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Climb Down from a Catholic Ledge: For every Koch, there is a Sarah

Image by  Air Images, courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Participants in New York City's June 1-4 "Sacra Liturgia 2015" gathering received a letter from Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Cardinal Sarah was appointed to that position by Pope Francis in November of 2014.The letter reads in part: When The Holy Father, Pope Francis, asked me to accept the ministry of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, I asked: "Your Holiness, how … [Read more...]

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Sexist Dalai Lama Gets a Pass; Kirsten Powers Doesn’t

silencing powers

Can you imagine the uproar, on campuses and in the press, if the Pope, or any bishop, cardinal or priest had been so blatantly "lookist" and "sexist"?The Dalai Lama could be reincarnated as a blond woman in his next life, he quipped in a recent interview from his home.But not just any blonde.She should be “mischievous” and “her face must be very attractive [or] nobody [will] pay much attention,” the monk said in an interview on Friday, according to The Sunday Times of London.Got t … [Read more...]

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Cardinal George: Another “Model Francis”, Open to the Spirit

Image by Adam-Bielawski, via WikiMediaCommons

The "arch-conservative" narrative on Cardinal George needs to be introduced to the reality.By Sean ConnollyPope Francis is known for his openness to the Spirit, his emphasis on evangelism and his embrace of evangelical Protestants and Pentecostals. A little-known story about Cardinal Francis George, who died on April 17, reveals that he too was open to the Spirit and to graces from other Christian denominations.The story starts in 1990 after Bishop George was appointed to lead the … [Read more...]

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Pope Francis, Tony Palmer, an iPhone & the Holy Spirit

Tony Palmer and Pope Francis, image courtesy of Life Today

As I am still trying to finish a book, and also assist with a technical transition here at Patheos, I am pleased to present this ecumenically-minded post that focuses on the beginnings of the relationship between Pope Francis and the late Rev. Tony Palmer, and where the writer hopes it will lead. --ES Guest post by Sean J. Connolly It all started with an iPhone.On January 14, 2014, Tony Palmer, a charismatic bishop from a little-known Anglican communion, used his phone to … [Read more...]

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For Credibility of the Church, Should Francis Reconsider Barros Appointment?

Juan Barros Madrid via WikimediaCommons/Gabriel12

I never write about these stories because they make me physically ill, so I leave it to others. But it seems like this story is dying on the vine, and I'm not sure it should. And it's Lent, when we're supposed to do difficult things, so here goes.Pope Francis has appointed Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid to a Bishopric in Southern Chile, and Barros is set to be installed there tomorrow, March 21.This may be a problematic appointment, one that blows up in the Holy Father's face, because it … [Read more...]

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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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Francis “Endorses Referendum” Denying Gay Marriage, Adoption

Image MyImages - Micha, via Shutterstock.com

At yesterday's General Audience, Pope Francis -- greeting Slovak pilgirms, and apparently referencing an upcoming vote in Slovakia on same sex marriage and adoption -- encouraged them to work "to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society."I'm not sure anyone -- except the most extreme and unrealistic of Francis' haters and admirers, both of whom seem to believe that he intends to upend church teaching any minute, now -- would expect him to say differently. … [Read more...]

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Amid Storms and Wars, the Daily Outrage that is Francis

"Great Battle in Heaven" by the brilliant Daniel Mitsui. Used with permission.

He is the most exhausting pope of my lifetime.Deacon Greg sent this cute video to me today, and while I appreciate its cleverness and the work that went into it, I couldn't help but think, "I'm getting burned out on Francis."I'm getting burned out, not because I dislike him. I like Francis just fine, although Pope Benedict XVI will always be the pontiff of my heart, because his writings have penetrated it and poured the merciful balm of Christ Jesus into it as little else ever has. As … [Read more...]

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