The Key to Pope Francis

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The Holy Father continues to speak with a sharp sense of urgency: “Yes, you have to come to know Jesus in the Catechism – but it is not enough to know Him with the mind: it is a step. However, it is necessary to get to know Jesus in dialogue with Him, talking with Him in prayer, kneeling. If you do not pray, if you do not talk with Jesus, you do not know Him. You know things about Jesus, but you do not go with that knowledge, which He gives your heart in prayer. Know Jesus with the mind - … [Read more...]

Triage in Francis’ Field Hospital: Room for Sarah?

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Antonio Spadaro, SJ is one of the nicest, most humbly centered and joyful men I have ever met, and his remarkable interview with Pope Francis is, almost a week after its publishing, still dominating conversations among Catholics and even non-Catholics. Bravo, Antonio! The talks that are happening are remarkable, even among people who we may presume have discussed an issue many times, and perhaps have reached an impasse, or simply not known where else to go with it. Check out this affecting … [Read more...]

Francis, Mary De Turris Poust, the Word and Trust – UPDATED

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The weekend was busy and I was offline for most of it, so I came late to Mary DeTurris Poust's most excellent rant on the state of homilies and parish liturgies in general but when I read it, I cheered. I completely understood where she was coming from, because so often I've gone to mass half-dragging my feet, dreading the sort of (can I say this?) half-assed manner in which so many parishes serve it. And I don't mean "serve it" as entertainment for the rest of us but serve as in service: as in … [Read more...]

Francis Confounds the Associated Press

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Via Matthew Schmitz' twitter feed, where he notes a sense of "disorientation." I can just hear the mainstream secular press. WAIT! WHAT? I thought we had a read on this guy! He was gonna shut up about abortion, already! Next day he's telling doctors not to perform them, and sayin' each aborted kid has the face of Christ? WHAT? That's like the WORST THING HE COULD SAY when people are actually listening! This feels like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the Football! It's almost like he's … [Read more...]

A Spiritual Anti-venin for Catholic Battlers

AFP / Getty Images / Via americamagazine.org

Oh, boy. I'm still trying to put some thoughts together concerning Pope Francis' profoundly good, profoundly Catholic, profoundly touching interview, released yesterday. But as I do that, here's something for all of us to chew on, particularly those who are fretting that "this is the end of everything Catholic!" and those who are sneering that weird "nyahnyahnyah..." that I don't even understand. This is for all who are convinced that the church can't be righted until "those people" that other … [Read more...]

Pope Francis’ Wide-Ranging Interview with America – UPDATED

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America Magazine has just posted 12,000 word profile and interview of Pope Francis, written by the wonderful Antonio Spadaro, S.J. (a beloved friend) and covering a broad range of issues: The setting is simple, austere. The workspace occupied by the desk is small. I am impressed not only by the simplicity of the furniture, but also by the objects in the room. There are only a few. These include an icon of St. Francis, a statue of Our Lady of Luján, patron saint of Argentina, a crucifix and a … [Read more...]

Are we making an idol of the pope who warns against them? UPDATED

Pope likes my book! Heh.

I can't think of modern pope who has so explicitly, and so frequently, warned us against the creation of idols; he mentioned idolatry early-and-often in his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, and has exhorted against succumbing to it so frequently that the joke around here is: he's in a mind meld with Scalia. And of course, the other joke is this: Even when the crowds cheer him at his audiences, Francis reminds them, "cheer for Jesus, not for me" And yet, as I write this morning in the … [Read more...]

Obama Disclaims Red Line; Crosses Red, White and Blue One

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So, let me get this straight: 1) Obama is not asking the country to "go to war" 2) And he "did not set a red line" on Syria and chemical weapons, despite saying last year, "[chemical weapons] would change my calculus, or equation". Note the first person, singular. (Apparently that line was "unscripted". So it didn't count!) 3) Despite the admissions of Chris Matthews and Eleanor Holmes Norton who both say Democrats may vote for this thing for no other reason than to close ranks and … [Read more...]

What is the Sin? It is in the Self, the Idol

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Reflecting on Lumen Fidei over at First Things, Nathaniel Peters writes: . . .an unexpected word does appear in Lumen Fidei: idolatry. As is characteristic of his evangelical boldness, Francis notes that in the story of the golden calf, “the opposite of faith is shown to be idolatry.” Faith demands a kind of patience. It requires us to abide the hiddenness of the God we long to see. The pope notes Martin Buber’s definition of idolatry, which he in turn took from the rabbi of Kock: … [Read more...]

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

JPII, Benedict, Francis--Faith, Hope, Love (1)

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...]

“Your Holiness, I want to be a priest of Christ!” – VIDEO UPDATE

Pope Francis, embraces, cries with Nathan/credit Radio FM Cancao

Okay, this made me weep, and I am no weeper. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 30, 2013 / 02:54 pm (CNA).- Nathan de Brito brought Pope Francis to tears during one of his motorcades through the streets of Rio de Janeiro on Friday, when he broke past barriers to deliver an important message to the Pontiff. “Your Holiness, I want to be a priest of Christ, a representative of Christ,” de Brito whispered in the ear of Pope Francis July 26, after jumping hurdles and making his way to the … [Read more...]

Pope Francis and the Art of War – UPDATED

Giotto, Peter striking ear of Malchus, John 18:10

“To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.” -- Sun Tzu In my column over at First Things today, I hope to lay a calming hand on a few shoulders that had nearly gone spastic yesterday, in response to early reports of Pope Francis' chat with reporters as he flew home from World Youth Day. A great many voices on social media were yelling that the pope was being "used" by the press to further a gay-sympathetic agenda; the fact that most … [Read more...]

Pope Francis Allows Gay Priests to Exhale – UPDATES

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Lots of exploding heads on the internet today, thanks to this headline, which will, naturally, be over-emphasized by the press. But it is certainly worth noting: Pope Francis says he won't judge gay priests Pope Francis reached out an olive branch to the gay community Monday, saying that he won't "judge" gay priests. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" The pope's predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, authored a document that said men with … [Read more...]

Francis: A Big Brass Band of a Pope and Peter the Roman – UPDATED AGAIN

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For years, I have been saying that each pope -- each iteration of Peter -- has his own style, which is why comparisons are always imperfect; a man's nature informs his outreach. John Paul II was a trained actor and his papacy was like a giant, dramatic, nation-shaking pipe organ that could not be ignored. The shy and introverted Pope Benedict XVI, on the other hand, was like a tinkling piano, inviting you to come in be quiet and find some stillness. And the energetic, extroverted Pope Francis? … [Read more...]