St. Francis of Assisi

Anniversary Reflections on the Last Days of King Louis XVI

Early on the morning of January 21, 1793, King Louis XVI heard his last Mass. Following Mass, the king was taken from his prison to the Palace Louis XV, where he would suffer the same fate on the same date as Agnes of Rome, the ancient martyr commemorated in the Mass of the day. This [...]

Getting to Know the Real St. Francis

Franciscan peace is not something saccharine. Hardly! That is not the real Saint Francis! Nor is it a kind of pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos. That is not Franciscan either! It is not Franciscan, but a notion that some people have invented! These words were not articulated by a representative of the Texas [...]

Without Gloss: Francis of Assisi and Western Catholicism

Editor's note: The following essay was written for the "St. Francis of Assisi and the Western Tradition" conference sponsored by the Thomistic Institute and delivered at the NYU Catholic Center on April 25, 2014. I want to start with a simple statement of fact. All Christian life is a paradox. What I mean is this. [...]

Pope Francis on the True Meaning of Poverty

“How I long for a poor Church for the poor!” With these words spoken after being elected pope, Jorge Bergoglio underscored a theme that continues to be front-and-center of his papacy. Not surprisingly, many have concluded such statements demonstrate that Pope Francis wants Catholics to devote greater attention to poverty-alleviation. In one sense, this is [...]

Was the Pope Inspired by Chesterton’s St. Francis?

I came upon the following passage in the course of a web search yesterday: “On 28 May 1995 the lead article in the Sunday Telegraph’s Review section was headlined ‘A Saint among journalists?’ The article was prompted by a letter from Argentina signed by politicians, diplomats and an archbishop and addressed to Cardinal Hume of [...]

Pope Francis—The Journey Begins

As the newly elected pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s papacy has already been historical. His is a part of the world no other pontiff has hailed from. His is an order no other pontiff has claimed. His is a name no other pontiff has taken. Even from this, it may be fair to expect that the [...]

Pope Francis Knows What Must Be Done

 Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum; habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum Georgium Marium Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum. The stunned silence in the second or two after the announcement from the central balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica spoke volumes. No one was expecting the cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to [...]

Seeing Clerical Corruption in a Larger Light

It must be because February is so fleeting that one naturally assumes the news cycle will follow suit.  Less calendar time translates into fewer stories, right?  Wrong.  Recent events have blown that thesis completely out of the water.  Begin with the announcement of a papal resignation—could anything be more newsworthy?  It will take effect by [...]

Francis of Assisi: Pattern for Lay Holiness

For over 100 years, there has been a veritable “Francis industry,” going well beyond the plastic kitsch in Assisi gift shop windows (after all, no one can capitalize on poverty like a Minorite!).  For that whole period of time, people have been making and remaking Giovanni Francesco di Pietro Bernardone to fit their own images [...]

The Francis We Never Knew: Surprising Revelations About the Man From Assisi

It would be a pardonable offense were one to greet the prospect of yet another book on St. Francis with a yawn. But in the case of Augustine Thompson’s Francis of Assisi: A New Biography (Cornell, 2012), it would be a mistake. All of us know something about St. Francis, but few of us know [...]

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