“The apostles had wives!” Well, Peter was married, but…UPDATED

Peter and Mother in Law

Father James Martin is a very kind man and a joyful priest who loves his vocation and will tell you that priestly celibacy is a discipline and gift that has enabled him to form deeply intimate, lasting friendships with with all kinds of people -- friendship that, removed from the flesh and the material, is free to seek out the God-element in each person, and to love with the mind of Christ.Many of my celibate friends feel similarly, whether they are priests, religious or layfolk. Their … [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 TzuIn 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 sec … [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 priestsPope 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...]

So, where and what is this necropolis Pope Francis visited?

Pope Francis, followed by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, visits the necropolis on April 1, 2013. / AP PHOTO/L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

I was surprised to read here that Pope Francis is the first pontiff to tour the "scavi" -- the "Tomb of Saint Peter and the Necropolis under the Vatican Basilica". My husband and I were lucky enough to tour those narrow, very humid streets beneath St. Peter's (only unearthed in the 20th century) in 2010, and although I am rather claustrophobic, the place was too fascinating, and the privilege of being there too humbling to give in to it. To finally find ourselves just a few feet from the burial … [Read more...]

Lying about Francis to Spite Benedict – UPDATED

"Dear Lord, how come nobody ever gets offended by Anglican and Orthodox trappings?"Several days ago I read a Facebook post by a Deacon I respect (no, not Deacon Greg, although I of course, respect him!) and in his post this cleric rather disappointingly -- and, to my thinking, unwisely -- recounted a malicious little tale about our new pope, to the applause of others.He told the story approvingly, and was glad when it was greeted with applause among his flock; he seemed to have no sense … [Read more...]

Of He-Men, Fathers and Popes who Do Not Swagger

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If you are not subscribing to The Catholic Answer, you're missing a lot of good stuff. My column for the Jan/Feb issue jumps off an interesting piece on the Feast of the Throne of Peter, to ponder why it is that the Vicar of Christ--beginning with Peter, himself--does not swagger:For competitive purposes, our fathers were invested with outsized swagger, but, in truth, we held them in a bit of awe and wonder. If our mothers were so familiar to us that we went running to them interchangeably … [Read more...]

Peter and the Sons of Caesar: A World Upside Down

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In observance of the "Fortnight for Freedom", my column at First Things considers that the ever since Peter was crucified upside down, the church has seemed like a screwball, topsy-turvy proposition to the worldly world, and all it's glamor. And all its empty promises:In the first chapter of Father Robert Barron’s remarkable book Catholicism, he discusses the utterly revolutionary fact and idea of Jesus Christ, son of Mary, son of God, as communicated in the “fighting words” that open S … [Read more...]


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