Gradualism: Two More Thoughts on its Gravity #Synod14 – UPDATED

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I: It is instructive, and a little depressing, to watch Catholic social media come alive with reactions to the synod's relatio text, which -- let's remember -- is going to be revised and clarified in another week, and then studied, thought about and prayed over for at least a year. The secular media is, naturally, trying to drive the narrative to its preferred talking points (and they're making sure to beat up on poor old Pope Benedict XVI, so whisper up a prayer for him).In social media, … [Read more...]

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#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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Collegiality or Papal Unilateralism? Be Consistent Reformers!

From Crux, we learn that Reformers are telling Pope Francis not to wait for the bishops, but to just let 'er rip and "fix" the church, according to their notions, which they assume he shares: In the run-up to the Synod, the group is sending a letter to Pope Francis requesting a review of the arrangements for the summit.One recurrent theme in the meeting was a surprising note for many Catholic liberals, who over the years have called for tighter limits on papal authority. Now, however, they … [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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Burke’s “Exile” to Malta**: What if Everyone is Wrong? UPDATED

The rumors appear to be true, and it looks like Pope Francis is "demoting" Cardinal Raymond Burke from being prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura to “cardinal patron” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.Burke is only 66 years old; the current "cardinal patron", Paolo Sardi, has just turned 80. That's kind of interesting.There's lots of analysis around, and some odd tweets. Everyone seems to be seeing this as a demotion -- some are using the word "exile", whi … [Read more...]

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Hearing Pope Francis With the Ear of the Heart

Over at The Crescat, Katrina Fernandez is puzzling out Pope Francis and the way people react to him.A lot of people have expressed to me the almost schizophrenic spiritual state Pope Francis puts them in. Admittedly, I too have felt this same bit of anxiousness at times. I’ve even heard comments suggesting the Pope is to blame for the divisive polarizing atmosphere between the “traddies” and “trendies”. They feel like he is constantly criticizing while we try and decipher who specifically he … [Read more...]

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How Does Vatican Interfaith Prayer Help the Peace Process?

We're seeing lots of internet coverage, stories, and opinions regarding Pope Francis hosting Israel’s President Shimon Peres, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tomorrow -- on Pentecost Sunday, at the close to the Easter season -- and the prayers that will be said.Here's the deal:. . .Vatican officials also confirmed that Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople will participate in the prayer service [and] stressed that the prayer service should be seen not as a p … [Read more...]

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Not Firing Anyone: Kiss Hands Before Round 2

Sadly, while I did indeed bring everyone's intentions with me to the Holy Land, I was not able to pray in the holiest of places. I was denied Jerusalem thanks to a case of pneumonia that sent me home and then quickly to hospital. But know I did pray, and even in a hospital bed, gasping for breath, I offered it up for your intentions. It was the best I could do.I will write about Israel later, when I am well and stronger. Right now, I am forced to use this puny amount of energy I possess in … [Read more...]

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Phone Fallout: Prince of the Air vs Jesus’ Teaching 4 UPDATES

Billy Crystal used to do a great bit mimicking Edward G. Robinson in The Ten Commandments:An echo of that appeared in my email the other day from a traditionally-minded Catholic who -- having taken previous exception to my having "made excuses" for Pope Francis' very different style -- was incensed over the news that the "Cold-call Pope" had done it again, to great general confusion.The writer was at pains to be civil, but between the lines, I could almost see Edward G. Robinson … [Read more...]

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Who didn’t walk out on Benedict will stay for Francis

It was mere moments after Pope Benedict XVI left the balcony after pronouncing his first blessing as pope, and I perfectly recall the insta-drama-queening that commenced:E.J. Dionne described himself as "petrified" of what a Pope Ratzinger might bring. Sr. Joan Chittister suggested that Benedict was so retrograde he represented the theology of the 13th century, and predicted, "[if women are not allowed ordination] . . . we're going to lose an entire generation of young women and we're going … [Read more...]

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