Pope Francis

The Media and the Mediatrix

A mediator is someone who is situated between two parties and seeks to bring them into accord. The mediator does have a particular position of his own but operates in a completely unselfish manner. A medium, in the sense of a psychic, refers to one who establishes contact with the supernatural world. All three senses [...]

The Romans Have Taken the Lord (Again)

“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t not know where they have laid him.” Such were the words, as recorded in the Gospel of John, of Mary Magdalene when she ran up to Simon Peter and John after she had gone to venerate the body of Jesus and found the tomb [...]

Francis vs. the Deep Church

Does the Vatican have a General Directorate for Personnel? This is, perhaps, the most boring question ever posed by a writer in Crisis Magazine. And yet, as we fumble for an answer, we also come a little closer to understanding one of the most confounding papacies in 2,000 years of Christian history. Last Friday, the [...]

Called to Divide, Not ‘Dialogue’

“Dialogue is our method... The path ahead, then, is dialogue among yourselves, dialogue in your presbyterates, dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with families, dialogue with society. I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly.” —Pope Francis, Address to the U.S. Bishops, September 23, 2015 In the halls of Catholic chanceries around the world, [...]

Francis the Luddite

When the late William F. Buckley set out to find a religion editor for National Review, he was careful to choose a Protestant. Though a Catholic himself, Buckley feared that his magazine—by then, already the flaghship of American conservatism—was becoming “too Catholic.” Eventually, he settled on a bombastic Lutheran minister named Richard John Neuhaus. Alas [...]

The Pope Is Still Catholic

Yesterday, the Holy Father did something completely unexpected: nothing at all. In his long-awaited exhortation on the Amazon Synod, Querida Amazonia, we find the clearest insight into Pope Francis’s thinking on the vocations crisis, both in the Amazon and across the Western world. His solution is not to do away with clerical celibacy. It is [...]

A Royal Papacy

Some decades ago, my immediate boss at National Review, the late Priscilla Buckley, was fond of telling an anecdote about her sister-in-law Patricia (Mrs. William F. Jr.) Buckley. During a conversation on the style befitting royalty, Pat interjected vehemently, “Oh if only I were royal, how royal I should be!” Anyone who ever met her [...]

‘The Two Popes’ Is Pure Propaganda

The Two Popes is not so much a picture as it is propaganda. The Netflix original follows the mode of the liberal media, presenting imagined interactions and conversations between Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis (when he was Cardinal Bergoglio) that further an agenda that is bent on denouncing the Catholic Church with slick cinematography. [...]

Slap-Happy Pontiff?

Now billed as “The Slap Seen ’round the World,” the video footage of the Holy Father’s encounter with an apparently over-zealous admirer at St. Peter’s Square on New Year’s Eve has gone viral. In a pontificate that has seen the Catholic world become deeply polarized over the style, personality, and actions of the Church’s current [...]

The Nuclear Catechism

I found Charles Coulombe’s latest column for Crisis (“Can the Catechism Get It Wrong?”) of particular interest, coming as it did a few days after Pope Francis’s visit to Japan—the first such visit in 38 years—where his remarks about nuclear weapons apparently exceeded anything his predecessors had said on the subject. Before Francis, the Vatican’s [...]

Buffalo Closure?

Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo is “retiring” a couple of years early. After seven years of allegedly allowing priests accused of statutory rape and unwanted touching to remain in ministry, after concealing hundreds of pages of damning litigation documents from the public, after being secretly recorded calling an active parish priest [...]

Can the Catechism Get It Wrong?

In the wake of the amusements surrounding the Vatican’s Amazon Synod, Pope Francis made an important statement at the conference of the International Association of Penal Law on November 15. Thereat the Holy Father declared: “We should be introducing—we were thinking—in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the sin against ecology, ecological sin against the [...]

What Will Francis Choose: ‘Expert’ Opinion or Orthodoxy?

Nobody was under any illusions about the stakes at the Synod on the Amazon. Ostensibly, the synod was convened to help the Pope address concerns about the Amazon in consultation with Amazonian church authorities. It was evident from the very beginning, however, that the synod would serve instead as a staging-ground for progressively-minded bishops to [...]

Cardinal Hummes’s Radical Bedfellows

The faithful laity had reason to be wary of the Amazon synod before it even began—if only because a well-known ally of liberation theologians like Cláudio Cardinal Hummes was appointed first to the pre-synodal council and then as relator general of the synod itself. And yet, at least outside Latin America, such concerns have focused [...]

The Amazon Synod Revives the Myth of the Noble Savage

“These liberation theologians are promoting the idea that the Indians who still live in a primitive way are very happy, living in paradise,” said Macuxi tribal chief Jonas Marcolino Macuxí, referring to bishops at the pan-Amazon synod. “But that’s not true.” He’s right. The myth of the noble savage is alive and well at the [...]

At Least the Borgias Had Good Taste

The raid by Vatican police on the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and its Financial Information Authority on October 1, followed by the alleged dismissal of five Vatican employees, made headlines around the world. An official statement from the Holy See issued on the same day declared that the Vatican chief prosecutor Gian Piero Milano [...]

The Amazon Synod Has Begun, and Pandora’s Box Is Opened

The Synod of Bishops on the Amazon is off to an ominous start. Each day, as more bizarre, jarring, and revolutionary developments emerge, I keep coming back to a line from Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor: “When the cardinals elected Bergoglio they did not know what a Pandora’s box they were opening.” Shortly before the synod started, [...]

The Catholic Church Is Not an NGO

The Holy Father has spilled a great deal of ink impressing upon the First World its duty to welcome economic migrants. Now he’s turned to spilling bronze. The Vatican has become the new home of a lumpy brown mass depicting a crowd of emaciated figures evidently waiting for their chance at a better life. Many [...]

A Grammar of Dissent

Analytical psychology provided a virtually limitless opportunity for Carl Jung to play with the canonical vocabulary, expanding it to describe what he thought to be wider realms of human consciousness. An example of his creativity was his concept of Synchronizität. This “synchronicity” described what he perceived to be “meaningful coincidences,” by which he meant events [...]

How to Write Your Own Encyclical

The cracks in the Axis powers became clear when the Armistice of Cassibile was announced on September 8, 1943, after the Italian government broke with the Nazis and joined the Western Allies. The National Socialists under the codename Unternehmen Alarich tried to take over the Italian zones of occupation in southern France and the Balkans [...]

Looking for Schism in All the Wrong Places

Pope Francis boldly declared last week that he’s unafraid of “pseudo-schismatics”: a clique of (mostly American) rigorist prelates and journalists whom Francis regards as a kind of loyal opposition to his papacy. But why should he have been afraid to begin with? A pseudo-schismatic is, by definition, not a schismatic. Pontiffs need no more fear [...]

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