Who Is the *Real* Francis of Assisi? A New Book Hasn’t Found Him

Jon's Sweeney's new book on Saint Francis

A Review of When Francis Saved the Church, by Jon Sweeney(This review is part of the Patheos Book Club.)  by Wendy MurrayWhen I was living in Assisi, Italy to work on my book about the life of Saint Francis of Assisi -- titled A Mended and a Broken Heart -- a friar and scholar with whom I regularly consulted exhorted me with a statement I have never forgotten: He said, “Francis is an ocean--don’t say we caught him.”In this way I am always curious to read new … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis on Suffering, Let’s Do Lunch ~ a New Book

Alister McGrath

Alistair McGrath's new book If I Had Lunch with C.S.Lewis is a short volume with a lively tea-and-biscuit feel that explores Lewis's ideas on subjects related to the struggle and beauty of faith.The book's casual presentation could be helpful to some, but I stumbled over it.  The issues addressed in Lewis's arsenal of thought are not tea-and-biscuit fare. When Lewis himself broached such matters-- heaven, education or suffering, it typically involved book-length discussions and years of … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Lent 9: What’s In a Name? Pope Francis Explains

One year ago an Argentinian named Jorge Mario Bergoglio assumed the name of Francis -- or, in Italian, Francesco. For Italians, the name needs no explanation. For Americans, not so much. In the video below the Pope gives voice to his thoughts about why he took the name of Italy's most beloved saint.Post by Catholic News Service.Purchase Wendy Murray's book on Francis of Assisi -----------> See also: The Year of the Pope in Pictures … [Read more...]

Clergy Abuse Overwhelmed a Pope: It Ought to Be Exposed

The legacy of the church in the life of one man: is this what trust looks like?

By Wendy MurrayI recently watched a Frontline documentary titled "Secrets of the Vatican" highlighting the daunting challenges facing Pope Francis. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, resigned from the office a year ago today (Feb. 28, 2013) under a cloud of corruption and the stench of unresolved rampant sex-abuse cases. The documentary highlights the challenge Pope Francis faces in the unspoken mandate to clean up the Church, most notably the shameful sordid legacy of covering up of … [Read more...]

Remembering Mister Rogers and the Light He Left

Mister Rogers

By Wendy MurrayFred "Mister" Rogers died on this day 11 years ago. I interviewed Fred "Mister" Rogers in October 1999 for a cover story in Christianity Today (March 2000).  The assignment proved a highlight in my career. And, as time would have it, it was the last major feature article written about Fred Rogers before he died in February 2003, 10 years ago last month. It was also the only feature article to peek into the spiritual side of the Neighborhood, to explore the belief system of … [Read more...]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

         By Wendy MurrayYesterday, February 4, what would have been Dietrich Bonhoeffer's 108 birthday. A Lutheran pastor and theologian, Bonhoeffer was executed by hanging, age 39, in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945. He and small-but-fierce contingent of devoted Protestants actively resisted the Nazi encroachment in both church and state. They founded the Confessing Church movement to mount active resistance t … [Read more...]

New Year’s Resolution: Change the World

Assisi

By Wendy MurrayWhen I wrote my book about Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) a few years back, I couldn't get over what a simple humble man he was and how -- as such -- he managed to change his world. His life carries an echo that reverberates to this day as noted in the wild popularity of the new pope who bears his name.I have identified five attributes Francis possessed that will serve everyone, in any time, who desire to carry an impact on their world.1. Show UpWhen Francis … [Read more...]


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