Pope Francis

Stick It to the Man

Good friends came over the other night with their six kids to watch School of Rock, the story of never-was rocker Dewey Finn who pretends to be a substitute teacher at a swank middle school. Rather than teach the usual curriculum, he teaches them rock ‘n' roll so they can win a Battle of the [...]

More Sugarcoating of Islam from Pope Francis

It’s often been said of Pope Francis’s bridge-building initiatives with Islam that the traffic over the bridge goes only in one direction—away from Rome and toward Mecca. This also seems to be the case with the pope’s “historic” trip to the United Arab Emirates last week. Although the resulting document requires concessions on the part [...]

Pope Francis’s Candid Views on Sexual Morality

Just weeks before the Catholic Church’s summit on the sexual abuse crisis, the faithful became privy to Pope Francis’s rather unorthodox views on sexual morality. In a book length interview  with Frenchman Dominque Wolton, who accompanied Pope Francis to World Youth Day in Panama, the pope concurs with Wolton’s premise that the most radical message [...]

Is the Hierarchy Really Serious About the Abuse Crisis?

According to a June 2017 Gallup survey, nearly half of US Catholics (i.e., 49 percent) had a “high” or “very high” opinion of the honesty and ethical standards of the clergy. By early December 2018, the number had fallen to 31 percent. Most of the difference is probably attributable to the new reports of earlier [...]

When Will Pope Francis Update the “Hail Mary”?

Pope Francis wants to change the wording of the “Our Father” or “Pater Noster.” I wonder, though, why he should stop there. Isn’t it time to update the “Hail, Mary”? Although there have been a number of attempts to change this beautiful Marian prayer to make it more contemporary, the time may now have come [...]

No Reciprocity: On the Papal Visit to the UAE

Pope Francis is planning a pilgrimage to Arabia, a land of no reciprocity. Unlike in the West, no religious equality is to be had there, and, for the most part, in practice, no religious freedom either. It is doubtful that the Pontiff will be able to remedy the situation. Aside from Iraq and Yemen, which [...]

Why the Pope is Wrong About Nationalism

Pope Francis gave his annual talk to the Vatican diplomatic corps this week. Once more he denounced “nationalism” and promoted multilateralism and international institutions. Like many others, the pope seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of both nationalism and globalism. But let’s take this seriously for a moment and consider that we live in a [...]

A Three-day Meeting in Rome to Do What?

Pope Francis will meet on February 21, 2019, with the bishops' conferences of the world on protecting minors from clergy sexual abuse. But what is the problem they will be addressing? Is the problem pedophilia, homosexuality, rogue clericalism, or all of the above? Father Hans Zollner, a member of the committee organizing this meeting, told [...]

The Lord’s Prayer Is Just Fine the Way It Is

St. Benedict begins his Rule, “Hearken O my son, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of thy heart.” This fundamental principle shapes not only the life of the monk, but of every Christian. Will we listen to the words of Christ, Our Lord and teacher, and conform our life to them? [...]

Pope Francis, Indifferentism, and Islamization

Two young Scandinavian women who were hiking in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco were found dead in mid-December in their tent. The ISIS terrorists later posted a video of themselves decapitating one of the victims. The mother of one of the women told reporters, “Her priority was safety. The girls had taken all precautionary measures [...]

Pope Francis and the Devil: Misreading the Signs of the Times

Despite his penchant for theological innovation, Pope Francis seems to hold some fairly traditional beliefs about the devil. Here’s an example from Gaudete et Exsultate: It is precisely the conviction that this malign power is present in our midst that enables us to understand how evil can at times have so much destructive force… Hence, [...]

A Nursery Rhyme Pope Francis Would Do Well to Read

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, “'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; The way into my parlour is up a winding stair, And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.” Mary Howitt wrote 180 books with her husband, and was a [...]

The Roots and Fruit of Ecclesial Idolatry

In this present crisis in the Church, with more and more revelations of a “sodomitic filth that insinuates itself like a cancer in the ecclesiastical order” (St. Peter Damian), and the subsequent cover-ups and payoffs, the Body of Christ is pierced again with new thorns and nails, and the Mother of God is pierced again [...]

Why Divinize the Pope?

Last month, I discussed the tendency among prominent supporters of Pope Francis to speak as if he had very special and even divine qualities. Where does it come from? Some possibilities seem obvious. Any argument looks good if it favors the desired outcome, meaning that people who are convinced the pope’s new initiatives are right [...]

Clerical Machiavellians with Magical Beliefs

“Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” The saying means that a time of crisis invariably brings forth the man to meet the challenge. Well, the hour is here, but where’s the man? That’s what many Catholics must be wondering. The Church is in the midst of what may be the worst crisis of its existence, [...]

“The Church’s Greatest Crisis”

On September 21, the well-known German magazine, Der Spiegel, featured a long article on the whole career of Pope Francis under the title “The Greatest Crisis in the History of the Church.” The immediate issues brought up concerned the pope’s handling of abuse issues while he was still in Argentina. Most people are by now [...]

The Sin of Silence

In the Inferno, Dante Alighieri, a critic in his day of Church leadership, famously put the souls of at least three popes in hell, as well as countless other clerics who go nameless, their faces blackened beyond recognition. However, one cleric he does meet along the way is Ruggieri degli Ubaldini (d. 1295), the archbishop [...]

The Pope as Supreme Being

Pope Francis famously downplays law and doctrinal formulations, which he often associates with Pharisaism, in favor of “discernment,” which seems to involve the direct application of ultimate considerations to particular situations. As he put the matter in his address at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, “The true defenders of doctrine are not [...]

An Open Letter to Archbishop Chaput Supporting His Call to Cancel the Youth Synod

Your Excellency: As a young Catholic I write to share my grave concerns about the looming youth synod. I am grateful for your repeated efforts to promote orthodoxy at this event and your attempt to ask Pope Francis to presently cancel it in light of the sexual abuse crisis. “Right now, the bishops would have [...]

The Great Emergency

That every five hundred years the Church passes through a crisis is not a novel insight. It may be something of a contrived schematic, since there have been other crises as well, but each of those periods of crisis has influenced the Church to an extraordinary and radical degree: The Fall of the Roman Empire, [...]

Tear Down this Papal Wall of Silence

In the dark of an August night in 1961, the Russians threw up a barrier between East and West Berlin which came to be known as the Berlin Wall. On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood at a podium in Berlin and delivered his famous speech, in which he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this [...]

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