A Proposal for the Catechism on the Death Penalty

A while back I posted a complete transcript of remarks by Pope Francis on the death penalty.  While a speech is not as authoritative as an encyclical or apostolic letter, a prepared text such as this seems to give a pretty concrete summary of his views on the death penalty.    I had hoped to follow [Read More…]

On Divorce: Ratzinger Then and Benedict Now

It seems that Pope Emeritus Benedict has changed his mind, and wants to make it  known that he is repudiating an argument he made forty years ago.   Six years ago the Pope asked Gerhard Mueller, then Bishop of Regensberg, to oversee the publication of his collected theological works.  Benedict was  a prolific theologian, and his [Read More…]

Benedict the Radical

One year ago, Pope Benedict XVI carried out what will surely go down in history as the most radical act of his pontificate: leaving it.  It was this startling act – the first papal resignation in six centuries – that made possible the next great surprise: the election of his successor, the first pope to [Read More…]

Parsing Papal Popularity, Part I: Good, Bad and In-Between Reasons for Loving Francis

As Pope Francis’ pontificate passed the six-month mark, it was observed with a level of enthusiasm that shows a large-scale honeymoon still going strong.  His ongoing popularity contains tremendous opportunities for the Church in both its internal life and its proclamation of the gospel.  These opportunities, however, are not quick fixes but require a good deal of collective [Read More…]

What Color Are the Pope’s Shoes? And Other Pressing Ecclesial Questions

From much of the news and punditry that has followed the election of Pope Francis, both Catholic and secular, one can easily gather the impression that the future of the Church hangs on the pope’s choice of footwear.  This is hardly an exaggeration, but looking beneath the surface, perhaps it’s not quite as absurd as it sounds: for many Catholics, fixation [Read More…]

Pope, Outgoing and Incoming

Somewhat belatedly, I thought I would offer some reflections on the current situation. I was surprised and somewhat saddened by Pope Benedict’s resignation. Sure, I was a little skeptical when Ratzinger was first elected, fearing a divisive papacy. But I soon realized that Benedict was not the second coming of Pius X, but rather a pope who [Read More…]

Prisoners of Moral Mediocrity

This was the commentary added to the readings by Daily Gospel Online, a service I use to get the daily readings emailed to me, for Ash Wednesday.  Now that the first burst of  Lenten “enthusiasm” (for want of a better word) has worn off, I think it is a timely reminder for me and for [Read More…]

Why the Church can’t be Synagogal

In the comments to Julia’s recent post , Ross very kindly complemented one of my prior posts, which looked towards a more exilic ecclesiology. Ross laments that the Church is not more like Judaism of exilic times. “Yoder’s reading of Jeremiah, the Jewish communal life in the exile took on a few key characteristics, characteristics which [Read More…]

Benedict’s last audience: God guides his Church

 Farewell, Holy Father Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood! Distinguished Authorities! Dear brothers and sisters! Thank you for coming in such large numbers to this last General Audience of my pontificate. [I am so moved by your presence – when I see you, I see the living church.] Like the Apostle Paul [Read More…]