Papacy

LA Times_Watts Riots

Black Crime and White Flight

The recent events in Ferguson, MO, in which a “gentle giant” was shot and killed after assaulting a policeman, leading to demonstrations and riots, brought back to me memories of the August 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles, which likewise developed in the aftermath of assaults on a policeman after a young black man was [...]

A Note on Our Modern Celebrity Papacy

I’m getting a little tired of people asking me whether I “like” Pope Francis. I don’t want to be too sensitive here. But why are my personal feelings about the Holy Father so very important? Jane Fonda, Elton John and Patti Smith all apparently love Pope Francis. Does that really tell us anything significant? Maybe [...]

Ludwig von Pastor & the History of the Popes

Joseph de Maistre once wrote that “The scepter of science belongs to Europe only because she is Christian. She has reached this high degree of civilization and knowledge because ... the universities were at first schools of theology, and because all the sciences, grafted upon this divine subject, have shown forth the divine sap by [...]

St. Vincent Ferrer and the Divided Papacy

The resignation of Pope Benedict and the election of Pope Francis have set the eyes of the world on the papacy, and in the midst of the great joy of Catholics everywhere, there have been no lack of prognostications and concerns, often from those who know little of the spiritual dynamics of the Kingdom, about [...]

The Strange World of Garry Wills

These must be trying times for Garry Wills.  In 2001, he wrote a book blasting the papacy, Papal Sin:  Structures of Deceit.  But ordinary Catholics did not take up Wills’ call to turn St. Peter’s into a Congregationalist meeting house.  Instead, when John Paul II died in 2005, some 5,000,000 people came to Rome to [...]

The Reason Benedict Resigned

The Catholic world is largely shocked by the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter of resignation this morning.  The secular world assumes the worst—no, it desires the worst, and by insinuation worms doubts into the minds of even the faithful. The secular world will tear through the brief letter and fixate upon the line about [...]

Let’s Raise a Glass to the Bad Popes!

  It may seem odd, on the feast day of the Roman Fact, to discuss the less-than-stellar occupants of the Chair of Peter. I would propose that it is precisely these weak and sometimes sordid men who offer one of the most startling historical and apologetical claims for the indefectibility of the church. Catholics ought [...]

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