Aylan, Gassed Refugees: A Pivotal Moment for Civilization

teargas

The crisis of Syrian refugees is coming to a head. We've all seen the awful pictures and even drawings and artwork covering little Aylan Kurdi's tragic death.On August 26, there were reports of a tear-gassing of refugees, in Hungary. It is dramatic and hard to watch.These are human beings, and how Europe deals with such a humanitarian crisis is going to matter a great deal; it is going to tell us where the future of Western civilization -- a civilization built on Christian principles - … [Read more...]

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting Pope Francis

great reformer

At a moment when "change from below" is already stirring in America, Pope Francis' upcoming visit may impact the nation for generations.by Sean ConnollyPope Francis is not coming to the U.S. to damn Americans for our wealth or our love of SUVs. He will arrive not as a critic but as a missionary, one who will affirm what is best in the US before he challenges our choices. And he is likely to disarm and even charm those of us who, believing the pundits, are braced for harsh words from the … [Read more...]

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No, I don’t hate Pope Francis, and other stupid ideas

can't even do a selfie

Recently, someone on the internet claimed that I was "done" with Pope Francis (wrong) and also that I hoped he would magically wave a wand and destroy our teaching on the indissoluble nature of marriage (so wrong as to border on slander).I know a lot of people have had fun spinning my plea for a little middle-class encouragement as Francis-hate, if it suits their purposes, while others have amused themselves by willfully-misinterpreting my advocacy for annulment reform as Francis-lovin' … [Read more...]

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“The Pope is Not an American Politician”

Eliz on Currents Francis Politician

That's what I told Konrad Aderer when he interviewed me via Skype for Currents NY Nightly News program, which is part of the extensive programming via the Diocese of Brooklyn.The taping was a little early for me; with only one cup of coffee in me, I had some trouble finding the word "ideologies". Also proselytizing. I have to remember to keep to one-syllable words when it's in the A.M.Anyway, you can watch the rest here: … [Read more...]

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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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