Pope Francis Has a Favorite Book for Christmas!

PopeSantaWithMyBook

It was a secret, but the folks at Ave Maria Press sort of spilled the beans! Wait, what's that in his hand? What is he getting ready to put on the tree? Let's take a closer look! Oh, it's my book! He must have heard that the next printing will include a study guide, which you can also find right here if you care (or dare) to further explore the role idols play in your life! I'm actually kind of relieved that he is not holding my other book in his hand because you know, it's a … [Read more...]

Two images and the opening of Evangelii Guadium – UPDATED

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"The great danger in today's world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s … [Read more...]

Crouched Behind our Ideologies; Blocked from Salvation – UPDATED

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Almost a year ago, I announced that I was going to make a full-hearted effort to pull back from the temptation to ideological excess, and I completely meant it. I was tired of being angry, more than a little convinced that my anger suited the purposes of others, beyond my ken, and fed up with consenting to being bitter -- which was not only exhausting but took me nowhere I wanted to go. Here's what I've learned, so far: It's not always easy. Absent a grace-filled miracle, one can't can't … [Read more...]

Evangelii Gaudium and My Joyful Grouse Rome-ward

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Well, the little I've managed to read of it today, I've loved, and you will likely love it, too, because in my skimming, I'm finding it gorgeous. In my skimming, my eyes landed on this bit, which is rather glorious, and a true challenge to all of us. It more or less explains what Pope Francis meant when he called proselytism "solemn nonsense": Loving others is a spiritual force drawing us to union with God; indeed, one who does not love others “walks in the darkness” (1 Jn 2:11), … [Read more...]

Pope Francis: A School of Love On Legs

Source Radio Vaticana

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...]

“I felt only love”: Vinicio Riva on Francis’ Kiss -UPDATED

neurofibromatosis

Everyone remembers this gentleman, and this beautiful moment, one that has lingered in our awareness so well that weeks later, we are still reading, writing and talking about it, still processing it: When these pictures burst upon the scene, Max Lindenman, in a thoughtful post, wondered (worried?) whether the man's anonymity might tempt us to dismiss his human reality. But I do wish I knew more about him — his name, his nationality, his employment history, how faith and doubt play … [Read more...]

One Catholic’s Brief and Incomplete Appreciation of Billy Graham

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Over at Patheo's new Public Square feature, they're talking about the legacy of Billy Graham in the 21st Century. I'm interested in getting some Catholic input on Reverend Graham, whom I've always respected, particularly input from Catholics who had entered the church through a more Evangelical background. My own appreciation of him came late. I remember, as a kid, seeing ads in TV Guide for one of his "Crusades" and wondering what the Protestants were crusading about. My formerly-Lutheran … [Read more...]

A kind of graphic mini-novel of Pope Francis

Jason Bach Neurofibromatosis

If you remember this beautiful moment (and how could you forget it), then you know that this is very well done, indeed: See the rest of it, here. If the artist's work seems familiar, it's because you've enjoyed his cartoons here, before at his site, and you've also seen it on the cover of my new book, which is so brilliantly graced by his talents. Keep your eye on Jason Bach. He's a comer, and a gift to the church. And if you can't get enough of Francis, well, the moment when he … [Read more...]

Pope Francis’ Marginalized Ones: You and Everyone You Dismiss, Too

you do not belong here

Back on Wednesday, Pope Francis gave a particularly passionate and energetic sermon that got a lot of notice: Turning to the Letter to the Romans, the Pope then affirmed that this feast is a “feast of unity.” He underlined the fact that all are invited, “the good and the bad.” And the first to be invited are the marginalized: The Church is not the Church only for good people. Do we want to describe who belongs to the Church, to this feast? The sinners. All of us sinners are … [Read more...]

Two Extraordinary Moments Where a Single Hand Gesture Tells the Whole Story

Source

Twice today I have been very moved to come across gloriously beautiful -- dare I say transcendent -- images, where the poignancy of the moment was movingly emphasized by the small unconscious movement of a single hand. First, thanks to Deacon Greg, I saw the La Stampa photo of Pope Francis kissing a man so seriously disfigured that most of us would likely find him difficult to look at, and would turn away. Everyone is looking at this picture, and it is, indeed, breath-taking. But … [Read more...]


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