Church

In a formal address delivered during his recent visit to Colombia, Pope Francis implored his brother Jesuits to defend his embattled exhortation on marriage, which remains haunted by its obscurities and fervent vagueness. In his short discourse, the pope also enlisted Thomas Aquinas in this enterprise by insisting upon the Thomistic properties of Amoris Laetitia. He [...]

In a formal address delivered during his recent visit to Colombia, Pope Francis implored his brother Jesuits to defend his embattled exhortation on marriage, which remains haunted by its obscurities and fervent vagueness. In his short discourse, the pope also enlisted Thomas Aquinas in this enterprise by insisting upon the Thomistic properties of Amoris Laetitia. He [...]

Despite curbing my online reading, scarcely a day passes without noting some new scandal caused by a theologian, priest, or bishop. It’s true, of course, that small stories from faraway places achieve an immediacy impossible without the web, but, still, the outrages are all too real. I suspect stories come readily to mind: commemorations of [...]

The feast of St. John Paul II was celebrated on October 22, the 39th anniversary of Karol Wojtyła’s formal installation as the Bishop of Rome. This occasion is an ideal time to reflect on St. John Paul the Great's contribution to the Church and the world. Papal biographer George Weigel continues writing about the late Pope’s legacy, [...]

There is a way of argumentation that academics use. It goes something like, “Thank you for your valuable contribution to this exchange. You have allowed us to consider more deeply the issues before us. If I have one quibble it might be…” They could be talking about a house-fire and it would go something like [...]

Fair is foul and foul is fair at the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV). Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the PAV, recently redefined the term “life” for the Catholic Church, stating that the PAV will now refocus its pro-life mission to include issues of migration, arms control, poverty and the environment. He suggested that to [...]

On Papal Popularity

A new poll shows that among Americans, Pope Francis remains very popular. The Holy Father has a 68 percent approval rating overall, and 88 percent approval among Catholics. Impressive numbers—certainly to be envied by most politicians in the US. But why inquire about the popularity of a religious figure to begin with? We know the [...]

“Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother. To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philemon, 1:1-3) Paul’s Letter to Philemon is one of the shortest writings in [...]

Last week—amidst the filial correction of Pope Francis for the spreading of heresies—I paused to read about St. John Bosco and the monsters. Father Bosco’s dreams were haunted by them—monsters swooping at boys too “numb” to defend themselves; monsters turning their backs to the Blessed Sacrament before trampling souls; monsters clawing at flowers symbolizing purity [...]

The devotion to Mary within the Christian DNA, could properly be said to derive in the first instance from the high esteem shown to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel, who brings to Mary the announcement of her vocation of mother of the Savior of the world. In his greeting he says that this simple handmaiden [...]

The position of Pope Francis in regard to homosexual “marriage” has not changed since he became a bishop in Argentina, according to John Allen Jr. on the Crux news site last year. Allen writes that, while the pope is against homosexual "marriage," he is willing to tolerate homosexual acts under the title of “civil unions.” [...]

For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers … against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12) It’s not easy to discern the role played by the spiritual hosts of wickedness in world affairs. No one knows with any certainty what is going on [...]

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego wrote a column about James Martin SJ that said Martin’s critics are a cancer on the Church, that criticism of his work is driven by homophobia, a distortion of Catholic moral theology, and is an attack on Pope Francis. This shameful column was applauded by a chorus including Elizabeth [...]

The usual view among Catholics is that public authority should look after all aspects of the common good. As a result, the social encyclicals have proposed a variety of responsibilities for government. The variety has grown with the range of problems under consideration, from the condition of industrial workers in Rerum Novarum to the comprehensive good of [...]

Over the weekend of September 16, 2017, I was privileged to attend the Summorum Pontificum Pilgrimage in Rome, marking the tenth anniversary of promulgation of the motu proprio that has restored to the Church the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman Rite. This is a short reflection on the experience. The city of Rome remains the [...]

As a deacon, only once have I had the privilege of sitting around a table with one priest and one bishop, effectively forming a trio representing the three degrees of Holy Orders during a stimulating conversation about the Catholic faith. I have such an exchange in mind as I write this essay—I see what follows [...]

James Martin SJ gallivants around the country telling young men and women that their sexual lifestyles are acceptable to the Church, which is not true; that the Church welcomes them no matter what they may be doing, which is certainly true. James Martin SJ tells them that the teachings of the Church will probably change [...]

On August 21, the Vatican released Pope Francis’s 2018 message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, a commemorative feast established by Pope Pius X in 1914. The message collects some of Francis’s now well-known considerations regarding migration, bringing them together into a four-point program: “to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.” [...]

Many of Pope’s Francis’ closest allies have presented vindications of his troubling apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, who is the President for the Pontifical Office of Legislative Texts, stepped forward last year with a booklet concentrating on the controversial claims of Chapter Eight. This guided reading is now accessible in English thanks to [...]

This month in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Film Festival included a screening of the classic 1973 horror film The Exorcist at a venue that used to be a Catholic church. The venue in question, Holy Rosary in South Belfast, has been empty and closed since 1980, when the parish outgrew it and moved to the [...]

With great interest, I listened to the upbeat homilies and presentations online from the U.S. Bishops’ July Convocation on Evangelization. Everyone seemed to be on the same page by emphasizing our call to share the joy of the Gospel; welcome our immigrant brothers and sisters; tend to those in the periphery; accompany people one on [...]

When is fornication not really fornication? Well, if reports are accurate, according to Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, dubbed by some as Pope Francis’ “closest theological adviser,” if a sexually active, unmarried couple lives together, he says it is “licit to ask” whether such sexual activity “should always fall, in its integral meaning, within the negative [...]

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