Pope Francis

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 [...]

An Unsettling Comment About Marriage

Pope Francis is the first pontiff in history to be social-media-savvy. Accordingly, I think we should start a new hash tag campaign: #iammarried. All the usual disclaimers need to be made here. When the Holy Father remarked last week that “a large majority of sacramental marriages are null,” he surely was not making an ex [...]

Why the Church Needs a Commission on Deaconesses

The openness of Pope Francis to create a committee on deaconesses has been met with another uproar from traditionalists in the Church, many with the eye-rolling Reagan-esque response: “There he goes again.” Meanwhile the theological dissidents in the Church see the commission as another opportunity for women’s ordination. Both the traditionalists and the dissidents seem [...]

Have We Forgotten the Hard Sayings of Christ?

“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.” (Mk. 9:43) It requires no great insight in order to discern what the modern world would make of such a statement had it [...]

Amoris Laetitia: A Call for Clarification to Avoid Confusion

Editor’s note : With the kind permission of His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Crisis is pleased to share with our readers this approved translation of his analysis of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The recently published apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL), which contains a plethora of spiritual and pastoral riches with regard to life within marriage [...]

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