Pope Francis

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Who Are the Real Defenders of Humanity?

The latest advances in science and biotechnology (three-parenting, surrogate motherhood, human enhancement, hybridizing of humans and animals…) have now and again encountered opposition from Christians (and, in varying degrees, from other religious believers), as well as from secular critics for moral, ethical, and legal reasons (the last-mentioned rather half-heartedly in a number of countries recently). [...]

Girl Boy Scouts … and 71 Other “Gender” Options

The Boy Scouts of America has announced a major policy reversal, a rather dramatic shift in the foundational policy of the organization. It is now accepting girls as Boy Scouts. Yes, girl boy scouts. That is to say, the Boy Scouts of America is accepting “transgender boys”—girls who are biologically female but are declaring themselves “boys,” or, [...]

Amoris Laetitia and the Post-Modern Papacy of Pope Francis

It has been nine long months since the publication of Amoris Laetita, but there is still no end in sight to the confusion and turmoil it has unleashed within almost every corner of the Catholic Church. Bishops have now turned to the excruciating task of implementation as they try to elicit the pastoral implications of [...]

Can the Orthodox Way End the Divorce and Remarriage Debate?

On his flight back to Rome from World Youth Day in Brazil (2013), Pope Francis speaking about the season of mercy and the Church as a mother dispensing mercy, praised the pastoral practice of the Orthodox Churches on marriage and divorce, the pastoral care for the divorced and remarried Orthodox faithful and the possibility of [...]

Manzoni’s The Betrothed and Pope Francis’ Economics

The parsing of literature to support any given political, economic and social agenda is not an uncommon practice, but one that, nevertheless, must be done with great care. Viewing high culture through a reductive critical and ideological prism often risks diminishing the contribution literature makes to culture by viewing the entirety of an artist’s work [...]

Pope Francis and the Pacifist Jesus

In his recently released message for the 50th World Day of Peace, Pope Francis called on humanity to adopt nonviolence as a “style of politics for peace.” Continuing a tradition inaugurated in 1968, the Holy Father began his message by painting a picture of a “broken world” in which humanity finds itself “engaged in a horrifying [...]

The “Concern”

A relative recently wrote an e-mail to me in which he made the following off-handed comment: “What do you think of the pope’s recent course change on abortion?” Now, unless I missed something, on this subject the pope has not changed anything. He has, no doubt, indicated that he wanted to downplay its relative importance [...]

Vatican Ostpolitik and the Death of Fidel Castro 

Upon the passing of Fidel Castro, the mainstream media are presenting the Cuban tyrant, the longest-reigning dictator in human history, in a much more benevolent way than they would the passing of any other strongman. For example, the headline in The New York Times reads: “Fidel Castro, Cuban Leader Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90.” [...]

The Prophetic Voice of Four Cardinals

“We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” ∼ St. Paul Out of “deep pastoral concern,” four cardinals of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany), His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of Bologna (Italy), His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order [...]

Does Amoris Laetitia Resolve Genuine Moral Dilemmas?

The interpretation of Amoris Laetitia by Cardinals Schönborn and Kasper is now well known. Communion for those in a second union represents a change in practice, not in doctrine. What Francis is doing is simply inviting the Church to insert her settled doctrine on mitigated culpability into her reflections on how the divorced and remarried [...]

When Walls Are More Merciful Than Bridges

A few days before the U.S. presidential election and at a time when European countries are hastily constructing barricades along their borders, Pope Francis said that nations should not be building walls, but bridges. “Mercy,” said the Pope, “is much more effective than walls.” He added that “all walls fall.” Well, yes. At the Last [...]

On Allowing the Unworthy Reception of the Eucharist

Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor accused Christ of insufficiently loving the “weak, ever sinful and ignoble race of man.” Christ, he declared, cared only for those “great and strong” souls who would freely obey him for the sake of the bread of Heaven. So the Grand Inquisitor would “care for the weak too”—the “millions” who are too [...]

The Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment

Pope St. John Paul II was well-known for his vigorous opposition to capital punishment. Yet in 2004, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—the pope’s own chief doctrinal officer, later to become Pope Benedict XVI—stated unambiguously that: [I]f a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment … he would not for that reason [...]

The Church and Islam: The Next Cover-up Scandal

“#NotMyPope.” In the wake of Pope Francis’ equivocal response to the murder of a French priest by two Islamic jihadists, that’s the top trending hashtag in France and in Belgium. Which raises a question: Is the Pope doing more harm than good by continuing to deny—in the face of a mountain of evidence—that Islam has [...]

On Rocco Buttiglione’s Defense of Amoris Laetitia

In the past several weeks L’Osservatore Romano has published two articles by reputable John Paul II scholars defending the teachings of Amoris Laetitia (AL). In the first article, Rocco Buttiglione, a widely respected philosopher, argues that critics of this apostolic exhortation have trouble understanding Pope Francis. Hence they fail to see that there is no [...]

When Dialogue is a Distraction

Pope Francis has announced a commission to study the female diaconate, following through on a suggestion he made to a group of women religious a few months ago. The announcement has been met with all manner of speculation and punditry, and not a little confusion. The confusion flows from the fact that the topic was [...]

Women Deacons? A Matter of Authority

Pope Francis recently called for a commission to study the possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate in the Catholic Church. This might seem to be disturbing news because it suggests that the pope has opened up the possibility of ordaining women to the hierarchical and sacramental diaconate—a role which, throughout the history of the [...]

Blind Violence and Blind Guides

“Pope Francis condemns more ‘blind violence’ after Nice attack,” reads a headline from a Catholic news agency. On behalf of the Holy Father, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, sent a telegram to the Bishop of Nice expressing the Pope’s sorrow: As France was celebrating her national holiday, the country was again struck by blind [...]

The Problem of the Unofficial Francis

It has become a commonplace in Catholic circles in the pontificate of Pope Francis to discuss, debate, and interpret the pope’s writings, speeches, and (most controversially) off-the-cuff remarks. Yet with this, we have seen an accompanying phenomenon: we find ourselves talking not only about the pope’s recorded words, but about his alleged words as well. [...]

An Apologia for Deviancy?

In response to the Holy Father's ambiguous statements on the Church's need to “apologize” to homosexuals, I thought some clarity was in order on what homosexuality is, and that the only “apologia” required is exactly what that word means, a “reasoned defense” of the Church's teaching. There seems to be a rather fundamental confusion in the [...]

The Pope is Right for the Wrong Reasons

On June 26, the anniversary of the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in the USA, Pope Francis made controversial comments on his return flight from Armenia. He said that the Catholic Church and all Christians should apologize to homosexuals for failing to protect and accompany them. In truth, there is likely an apology due to persons experiencing [...]

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