Pope Francis

Ryszard Legutko’s Critique of Western Liberalism

For quite some time now, American intellectuals have taken a particular interest in Poland. During the Cold War, the Polish people's resistance to communism was held up as an example of fidelity, and Pope John Paul II's leadership of the Church was taken to be a quintessential example of the Polish spirit. The honeymoon is [...]

The “Francis Effect” Five Years Out

In his recent book on Pope Francis, Lost Shepherd, Philip Lawler reminds us that the papacy should be a source of Church unity. However, as Lawler points out, under the current pontiff this is not so. He lays out two reasons why: the first is Francis’s autocratic style and the second is the divisive program [...]

Why Be (or Continue to Be) Catholic?

On a recent book review TV interview program called Q/A, Ross Douthat, author of To Change the Church, was asked about his own beliefs. He responded quite frankly that he was a Catholic. When asked why, Douthat replied that, as far as he could see, a divine intervention did take place in this world around [...]

German Bishops Debate Who Can Receive the Eucharist

Protestantism comes from Germany, its original spark with Martin Luther, and its earliest excesses with the Anabaptist rule over Münster; the latter crushed finally by the prince-bishop’s army, the former however enjoyed enduring success. From Germany, Reformation ideas spread to other European countries, and from there into the whole world, creating new epicenters of Protestant [...]

Waste Land: Britain’s Culture of Death

April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land… April 23 is St. George’s Day, the national feast day of England. On April 23, 2018 three events occurred. Ealing Council in west London became the first English Local Authority to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for the area around a [...]

The Church and Islam: Dangerous Illusions

When I first began writing about the Church and Islam, I devoted a lot of space to describing ways that Church leaders could resist the spread of Islam. It seemed only a matter of time until they would wake up to the need to resist. As it turned out, however, that assessment was overly optimistic. [...]

Do Catholics Have Legitimate Fears about Immigration?

In a number of talks and statements over the years, Pope Francis has scolded Europeans for their fear of immigrants. He came back to that theme early in March following electoral gains by “anti-immigrant” parties in Italy. According to a Reuters report, “Pope Francis on Sunday expressed concern over national policies dictated by fear.” On [...]

An Open Appeal to the Catholic Bishops of the World

After serving five years as a Catholic campus minister in the 1980s, I decided to begin graduate studies in moral theology. This was in the heyday of proportionalism when its founding fathers still held some of the world’s most influential chairs of Catholic moral theology: Richard McCormick at the University of Notre Dame, Josef Fuchs [...]

The Man Who Was “Ante-Pope”

Before his death in 2012, Cardinal Carlo Martini eerily called himself an “ante-pope,” a “precursor and preparer for the Holy Father.” Martini was the leading antagonist to Popes John Paul II and Benedict—a Jesuit famous for groaning that the Church was “200 years behind.” In Night Conversations with Cardinal Martini, he cringed at the “major [...]

Put Not Your Trust in Trusting Souls

Considering how much emphasis modern churchmen put on trust, it’s worth noting that the Bible does not have much to say about trusting others. Of course, the Bible tells us to trust in God, but there is no corresponding command to trust our fellow men. Of the six references to “trust” in the RSV Reader’s [...]

Pope Francis and the Cardinal Mindszenty Treatment in China

Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty was a hero of the Cold War, persecuted by communists and ultimately abandoned by his Church. Beginning in 1956, after Red Army tanks rolled into Hungary, Mindszenty spent 15 years in voluntary confinement at the U.S. embassy in Budapest. He spurned repeated requests to leave Hungary and his flock. In 1971, he [...]

St. Thomas Would Oppose Changing the Lord’s Prayer

Pope Francis' pre-Christmas call for a better translation of the Lord's Prayer was met by a number of defenses of the English translation which we all know by heart. Anthony Esolen, Lionel Yaceckzo  and Charlotte Allen, for example, have made it abundantly clear that, "and lead us not into temptation," is a correct English translation [...]

Climate Trumps the Unborn

Catholics and pro-lifers who were shocked at the “knighthood” of Dutch politician and abortion activist Lilianne Ploumen into the Vatican’s Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Francis, shouldn’t have been. True, Ploumen’s militant support of abortion and homosexual rights (which includes raising $400 million for a “reproductive health” NGO she helped launch) is [...]

Is the Face of the Migrant the Face of Jesus?

In the face of increasing Muslim violence in Europe, Pope Francis has remained firm in his defense of mass migration. In his Urbi et Orbi Christmas message, he compared migrants to the Holy Family forced to journey to Bethlehem and unable to find a room in the inn. And in his January 1st message for [...]

The Triumph of the People’s Church

Continuing his commitment to a doctrinal vision that prioritizes the lived experiences and insights of ordinary Catholics over the authoritative teachings of the Church, Pope Francis recently affirmed the importance of what he called a “free and responsible” form of Catholic theology—a “creative fidelity”—in the life of the Church. Speaking before a Vatican gathering of 100 [...]

Pope Francis is Only Partly Right on the Lord’s Prayer

Pope Francis was right that the traditional English translation of the Lord’s Prayer is deficient, but his suggested change, and even his identification of which part needs to be changed, is simply wrong, and requires some comment, partly because it is a question so easily answered, partly because others have answered it easily. There is, [...]

Looking at Laudato Si’ in Theory and Practice

Ronald Reagan once said that an economist is someone who sees something happen in practice and wonders if it could work in theory. The new book, Pope Francis and the Caring Society, appears like a team of economists forced to study the encyclical Laudato Si’ in theory and then wonder if it might work in [...]

Heretical Praxis

Reviewing Correctio filialis, I found that I was in substantial agreement about the theoretical problems related to the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, but I regretted that the contradictions of its pastoral implications were not made more explicit. I have two examples of cases that are to the point here. The first is of a couple I met [...]

On Papal Popularity

A new poll shows that among Americans, Pope Francis remains very popular. The Holy Father has a 68 percent approval rating overall, and 88 percent approval among Catholics. Impressive numbers—certainly to be envied by most politicians in the US. But why inquire about the popularity of a religious figure to begin with? We know the [...]

Father Bosco and the Monsters

Last week—amidst the filial correction of Pope Francis for the spreading of heresies—I paused to read about St. John Bosco and the monsters. Father Bosco’s dreams were haunted by them—monsters swooping at boys too “numb” to defend themselves; monsters turning their backs to the Blessed Sacrament before trampling souls; monsters clawing at flowers symbolizing purity [...]

Yes, Holy Father, You Are Right: “Let Us Not Play With Truths”

The position of Pope Francis in regard to homosexual “marriage” has not changed since he became a bishop in Argentina, according to John Allen Jr. on the Crux news site last year. Allen writes that, while the pope is against homosexual "marriage," he is willing to tolerate homosexual acts under the title of “civil unions.” [...]

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