Year 26: Frustrated Catholics playing ‘Name that pope’

Soon after Pope Francis skyrocketed into media superstardom, some frustrated Catholics started playing an online game that could be called "Name that pope."Most of them were not upset with what their charismatic shepherd from Argentina was actually saying and doing. Instead, they were frustrated with the media storm portraying him as radically different -- in substance -- from his predecessors.Frankly, this is one of the strangest stories I have seen during the many years -- 26 as of … [Read more...]

An earthy reality in the words of Pope Francis

There is nothing unusual about a Catholic leader urging priests to draw closer to their flocks, to focus on day-to-day issues that bridge the gap between pulpit and pew.Still, it caught Vatican insiders off guard when Pope Francis, a week after his installation Mass, used a somewhat pungent image when discussing this problem."This is precisely the reason for the dissatisfaction of some, who end up sad -- sad priests -- in some sense becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead … [Read more...]

Pope Benedict XVI exits, on his own terms

In the spring of 2009, Pope Benedict XVI stopped in Aquila, Italy, to pray at the shrine of St. Celestine V.The pope left his pallium -- a wool garment that resembles a yoke, symbolizing bonds between a shepherd and his flock — on this medieval pope’s tomb, noted theologian Scott Hahn of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Then, 15 months later, he visited a cathedral outside Rome to pray before the relics, once again, of St. Celestine V.Few noticed Benedict’s actions at the time, wro … [Read more...]

Commandments for believers who blog

Popes rarely produce viral sound bites, but legions of Catholic bloggers continue to pass around a quote from Pope Benedict XVI in which he openly blessed the passion that drives them to their keyboards."Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for 2000 years," he said, in a 2010 Vatican address easily found at YouTube. The goal is to live in the "digital world with a believer's heart, helping to give a … [Read more...]

The pope, the president and religious liberty

Pope Benedict XVI cut to the chase when meeting with the visiting bishops from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and the U.S. Armed Services.The pope mentioned "religious freedom" in the third sentence of his Jan. 19 remarks at the Vatican and he never let up -- returning to this hot topic again and again.The bottom line, he said, is that America's once strong political consensus has "eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core … [Read more...]

St. Peter in Westminster Abbey

During his long exile in Normandy, the Saxon prince who would become known as Edward the Confessor vowed that he would make a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter once he returned to England.After his coronation as king, the pope released Edward from this vow -- if he built a monastery dedicated to the first bishop of Rome. Thus, St. Peter's Abbey was rebuilt in Westminster.Pope Benedict XVI gently stressed this history in the first words of his address during his recent visit to Westminster … [Read more...]

Catholic dad’s fight against abuse

It wasn't hard to connect the dots when, after decades of lurid news about the sexual abuse of the young, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger delivered a Good Friday sermon bemoaning "how much filth" was in the church, including "the priesthood."Weeks after that signal in 2005, the cardinal became pope. Then at World Youth Day 2008, he said, "I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured. ... These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal … [Read more...]

B16 says, ‘Thou shalt blog’

When Eunice Kennedy Shriver died, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley candidly reminded his Archdiocese of Boston flock that this was one Kennedy who was consistently faithful to the church's teachings."She was preeminently pro-life, against abortion and there to protect and underscore the dignity of every person," noted O'Malley, praising the founder of the Special Olympics.When Sen. Edward Kennedy died soon after that, the cardinal strongly defended his own decision to preside at his funeral -- … [Read more...]


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