The Church as Community
LIVING THE CATHOLIC FAITH IN THE 3RD MILLENIUM
A LAYMAN'S LOOK AT THE JOURNEY OF FAITH

Church as Community

A UNIFORM CHURCH IS NO CHURCH 
The Pope in Santa Marta: we must purify her, starting from ourselves; 'each of us builds according to the gift that God has given'
'AMERICA' ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY  
In light of the continuing debate around religious liberty and the rights of religious organizations, America magazine presents a collection of articles that have discussed, defended and articulated these issues over the past 70 years.
SPIRITUAL ASSAULT 
Catholics are looking for a church grounded in Scripture and animated by mutual respect and cooperation, one in which baptism, not ordination, has preeminence.
A MODEL FOR COMMITTED LAY LIFE DEDICATED TO PRAYER, PEACE, AND JUSTICE  
Lawyer Karen Gargamelli fulfilled her lifelong dream by forming a community of lay Catholics.
A PARISH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST - NOT A STARBUCKS FRANCHISE  
Simply Spirit: Too many bishops have adopted a corporate mentality that views parish communities as so many commercial franchises to be managed, rather than the living body of Christ.
A PASTORAL VISION 
From the moment the Second Vatican Council opened, it has consistently been described as a pastoral council, sometimes so insistently and unthinkingly that the expression has become a cliché.
A QUESTION OF CONSCIENCE 
Many U.S. Catholics find themselves stranded between those two worlds, especially when individual conscience comes into conflict with clear, if disputed, church teaching.
A SACRED CALLING 
Pope Francis has called us all not just to dialogue but to a better appreciation of our true relationship to one another. In an important way, this is a recovery of what is noble about politics.
A THING CALLED HOPE 
Moving through a new year, we need to remember the good that is being done, the challenges met. We humans are far from perfect but we ain't all bad either.
AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY IS CHANGING FAST 
The five key stories which evoke questions that religion-watches will be asking for years to come.
AN INVITATION TO LEISURE 
Leisure is not an absence of work, but a disposition of the soul to “perceptive understanding, of contemplative beholding, and immersion in the real.
ANNULMENT DECISION DIDN'T DROP OUT OF THE SKY 
This did not drop out of the sky. And it was not a unilateral, benevolently despotic act of the church’s supreme lawgiver. Bishops and priests from almost every part of the world have been calling for such a reform for a number of years.
AS PEWS EMPTY, REPORT REVEALS MORE ABOUT 'SPIRITUAL,' 'RELIGIOUS' 
The hunt is on for why pews are emptying. Have assumed convictions lost their grip, or were they ever there at all?
BEING A COMPANION THROUGH THE MYSTERY OF SUFFERING 
Being present for people who are suffering doesn't necessarily take any deep experience; it simply requires saying ‘yes' when the need presents itself.
BLACK LIVES, WHITE CATHOLICS 
Consulting and collaborating with historians, political scientists, sociologists, psychologists, and theologians can help reveal the scope and tenacity of racism.
BUILT OF LIVING STONES; 5 BLACK CATHOLICS TO REMEMBER 
Although the history of American Catholics is intertwined with the history of people of color, black Catholics have often been forgotten in the American church.
CAN CATHOLICS DISAGREE ONLY WHEN THEY AGREE WITH THE CHURCH? 
Is the new document from the International Theological Commission an explosion in St. Peter's Square that is described as church renewal?
CAN THE CHURCH CHANGE ITS FOCUS FROM RULES TO PEOPLE? 
Francis seems to recognize that the church is not an island but lives and operates in a larger world and a larger context.
CAN WHAT HAPPENED IN DELPHI HAPPEN IN ROME? 
The church is relevant so long as the teaching of Jesus is relevant. As the Letter to the Hebrews says, “Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Institutions come and go, but the Gospel goes on, speaking to the human heart.
CATECHESIS AS A WAY OF LIFE 
Robert B. Williams, practicing psychologist with an interest in catechesis and spiritual care, discusses invaluable developmental tasks for the family church.
CATHOLIC CHURCH LIKE A PLANE WITH METAL FATIGUE 
The overriding problem with the Church was that it operated as an empire, in an age when that model of governance was long since outdated.
CATHOLIC COMMUNITY DOESN'T LOOK THE SAME FOR EVERYONE 
Seeking and sustaining community is no easy feat, but its value is something we know in our very souls.
CATHOLIC CYBER-MILITIAS AND THE NEW CENSORSHIP 
The small groups that are behind the campaign have grown over the last few years. They make up a Catholic cyber-militia that include 'news' organizations like 'Church Militant'  and bloggers such as Fr John Zuhlsdorf, This sort of vitriol is profoundly changing the communion of the Catholic Church. And not just in its ethos, but also in the way it functions.
CATHOLICS WHO JUDGE 
Pope Francis has strongly criticized Catholics who brag that they are perfect followers of the church's teachings but then criticize or speak ill of others in their faith communities...
CHURCH URGED TO 'FEED THE SHEEP WHERE THEY ARE' - ON THE INTERNET 
The digital world is the richest, and limitless territory for evangelization ever devised, but Catholic communicators must be professional, creative and empathetic to realize its full potential.
DON'T BLAME FRANCIS FOR CHURCH'S DIVISIONS 
Pope Francis isn’t trying to drive conservative Catholics out of the church. But he has decisively put a stop to their efforts to eject everyone else.
DON'T PUT PRIESTS ON A PEDESTAL 
Finally there appears an issue that our divided church can agree on. Catholics of all stripes—conservatives and liberals and in-betweens—are declaring a pox on clericalism.
EMBRACING LIFE'S SECOND ACT - GETTING OLDER WITH GRACE 
Aging gracefully requires the courage to face our burdens, to accept our blessings, and to recreate our lives in new ways.
ENOUGH PROSELYTISM, IT'S TIME FOR 'SILENCE' 
The 'antiquated' concept of mission, or 'making proselytes and procuring converts to the Church,' must be replaced with 'dialogue.'
FAITH TO FAITH AND FACE TO FACE 
It is time for a change. And healthy religious people have a serious responsibility to be alert and to accept the challenge to critique and halt religious violence.
FINDING MERCY AT THE TABLE 
What is the special contribution of the once-broken, the imperfect, to a Christian community coming together to witness to God’s forgiving love?
FLYING SOLO: LIFE AS A SINGLE CATHOLIC 
Being single doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you—it just means you’ve chosen a different path.
GOOD PASTORS ALWAYS LOOK, HAVE COMPASSION, TEACH 
A good pastor always sees what people are going through, feels compassion and then nourishes them with God's Word.
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE 
All special needs have the potential to be vehicles for God’s grace, bringing families to new places of love and acceptance.
GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS 
The church is not meant to be uniform, smooth, or uncomplicated—its many different faces, its unruly irregularity, is not a liability or a problem to be resolved, but instead its most precious asset.
HAS CATHOLIC INFIGHTING GOTTEN WORSE? 
Inside the Vatican Podcast: A discussion about the history of resistance to papal initiatives in the last 30 years. Is the current climate different from what happened during recent pontificates?
HOW CATHOLIC ARE U.S. CATHOLICS? 
More than 81 million U.S. adults identify themselves as Catholic. But how they live that identity — how they connect to the church beyond celebrating the popular Pope Francis — adds up very differently.
HOW THE CATHOLIC WORLD IS CHANGING 
Since Vatican II, Catholicism has experienced a dramatic shift in allegiance by region. Here is a global look at the demographics of the faith since 1965.
HOW THE LOCAL MOVEMENT IS REVITALIZING CHURCH 
Thousands of Christians are reclaiming the ancient idea of the “parish” and weaving together a shared life in the place they call home.
HOW TO WORK TOWARD INTERFAITH UNDERSTANDING 
You know you’re in for an interesting conversation when a lifelong Catholic says that getting to know and love Islam helped her develop a deep knowledge and love for her own Catholic faith.
IT IS TIME TO FIX OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL CULTURE 
When choosing to believe is more and more a revolutionary act, religious education must do much more than hand on the basic tenets of the faith.
IT'S A BRAVE NEW WORLD - EMBRACE IT 
Embracing newness as a mandate for spiritual growth isn’t a Pauline principle alone. Instead of being shaken to your core by the new and unknown, see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth.
IT'S TIME FOR CHRISTIANITY TO RE-EMPHASIZE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY 
To the surprise of some of its adherents, Christianity does not teach that each of us has an immortal soul. That, instead, is an old Greek idea, one that from time to time has weaseled its way into Christian thinking.
JESUS IS THE QUESTION, NOT THE ANSWER 
Knowing the ‘Catholic answer’ does little good if we’re not asking the right questions. If we aren’t careful to ask the right questions, no matter which answers we arrive at, they are sure to be woefully inadequate.
JESUS LOVED IMPERFECT PEOPLE 
Each of us must discover the directions in which we will find our holiness. This is the goal of a lifelong education, not merely to make a living but to find out what living is for.
LAYPEOPLE ARE CREATING A BLUEPRINT FOR THE CHURCH'S SUCCESS 
While the Catholic Church may not be your average business, good management of people, programs, and resources is essential for achieving its mission of spreading the Gospel.
LET'S ALL AGREE TO 'LIVE IN TENSION' 
Pope Francis to the Vatican diplomatic corps: 'abandon the familiar rhetoric and start from the essential consideration that we are dealing, above all, with persons.'
MAKE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH GREAT AGAIN? THERE'S NO GOING BACK 
There has never been a 'great' time, a 'golden age,' a context in which the church was actually a 'perfect society' or anything apart from what it always has been and remains: a pilgrim community of the baptized.
NONES; - A MIXED BAG 
If people come back to church because of Francis but find a communities and clergy that are judgmental rather than compassionate, all about rules rather than love, they will head for the exit and never return.
OUR CHILDREN MIGHT RETURN TO THE CHURCH, BUT OUR GRANDCHILDREN MOST LIKELY WON'T 
It is no surprise that the children of the Church are growing up and growing out of Church. What is surprising is that they are not returning.
STARVING IN THE PEWS 
The good news about preaching the good news is that you don’t have to be a brilliant scholar or captivating orator to do it.
THE CALL OF THE BAPTIZED; LIVING THE MISSION 
Dr. Paul Lakeland on the challenges facing the church which seem attainable precisely because they dovetail so well with Pope Francis’s ideas on Church reform.
THE CHURCH INSIDE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 
If an institution such as the Catholic Church were to say that women are fully equal, fully capable of leading, fully capable of empowerment, think of what kind of message that would send to patriarchal societies all over the world.
THE CHURCH ISN'T STATIC - SHE'S A PILGRIM ON A JOURNEY 
Pope Francis in his weekly general audience said that the Church on earth is on a pilgrimage to heaven guided by the Lord, who will lead us to the fullness of joy and truth at the end of time.
THE CHURCH MAY BE MORE RESILIENT THAN WE THINK 
Our church and our civic institutions are in trouble today. They need us. To repair our church and civic organizations, we need to recall why they are important.
THE CHURCH'S FUTURE DEPENDS ON MISSION, NOT MAINTENANCE 
Chicago Archbishop Blaise Cupich knows the church is changing and says that Catholics should discern faithfully how to move forward together.
THE ERA OF THE PAROCHIAL SCHOOL IS OVER. MEET THE CATHOLIC EDUCATORS SEARCHING FOR WHAT’S NEXT 
How much power should be given to the laity and how much retained by the hierarchy?  Today Catholic schools are shifting some of that authority from pastors and principals to other sources.
THE EXODUS HITS HOME 
Is our Catholic parish structure inadequate for supporting the needs of adult Christians? How many more departures will have to happen before our faith community and its leaders take this exodus more seriously.
THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE OF PARISH LIFE 
We need a new, creative, more imaginative approach to serving the pastoral needs of the people of God than the parochial principle inherited from the village and agrarian societies of the past.
WE HAVE NO SHORTAGE OF VOCATIONS. WHAT WE HAVE IS A SHORTAGE OF VISION 
It's hard to fathom how church leaders can in good conscience avoid opening ordination, especially in light of so many parish closings.
WHO REPRESENTS THE LAITY? 
The problem is not that these new lay members are particularly liberal or conservative; the problem is that the ecclesial movements they represent are hardly representative of the Catholic laity overall.
JESUS' THIRD WAY IS WHAT I TRY TO PRACTICE 
We are made to be connected to one another. When we forget that, we destroy a part of ourselves. 'As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.'
HAS OUR FAITH GONE LUKEWARM? 
Lukewarm Christianity will not be enough anymore, whether among our leaders or ourselves in the pews. To repair our broken church (which remains the best hope for our broken world), we must really live our baptismal calling every day.
YOUR THOUGHTS ON LEAVING THE CHURCH, PART TWO 
Responses to Melinda Henneberger's "Why I left the church, and what I'm hearing about it" from NCR readers.
IN DIVISIVE TIMES, CHESTERTON INSPIRES UNITY 
At a time when Catholics seem to be split between conservative or progressive factions, the life and works of English writer G. K. Chesterton can inspire men and women in the church to rise above conflict.
REMEDIES FOR AMERICAN CATHOLIC POLARIZATION 
Those hoping for a quick fix to the problem of Catholic polarization are sadly out of luck.
THE BEATITUDES IN THE AGE OF ME FIRST 
We may not have the temperament to be on the frontlines of change but we can change the way we see ourselves, our neighbor and the world and choose resurrection now.
WE IN THE PEWS MUST NO LONGER SIMPLY PRAY & PAY 
Disappointed and angered once again by the Catholic Church, we lay people must act to protect our faith.
WHAT CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST TEACHES US ABOUT TIME AND ETERNITY  
In the Eucharist, the risen Christ breaks into time, into our midst, and there he gathers the fragments of our failures and our frustrations into his arms, transforming them...
ROME CONFERENCE PONDERS THE RISE OF ‘EVERYDAY’ LAY SAINTS 
A new emphasis on holiness as something attainable and which should be pursued by all members of the Church, not just priests and consecrated people.
BECOMING CATHOLIC IN THE AGE OF SCANDAL 
At Easter, thousands of people converted to Catholicism even as sex abuse allegations have rocked the church.
‘THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT: I’M CONVINCED OF THAT’ 
What is the experience of being a priest today, serving in an ordinary parish, in a Church that is struggling to maintain its credibility?
THOUGH COMPLICIT IN EVIL, THE CHURCH IS WHERE HOPE BEGINS 
We can no longer afford to be so naive about the church.
IS GOD BECOMING NON-PARTISAN? 
Questions about what Christianity really means? What the Bible actually says? And what parts of the Gospel are most relevant today?
IN A DIVIDED CHURCH, A CHALLENGE TO FIND WHAT UNITES US 
We owe good faith to fellow believers, even those with different perspectives.
THESE MILLENNIALS GOT NEW ROOMMATES. THEY’RE NUNS 
A project called Nuns and Nones moved religion-free millennials into a convent.
LINGERING ON THE MARGINS 
Is the language of staying or leaving, of being inside or outside the church, failing to capture the experiences of many people who live with these tensions?  Does going to the margins actually take you to the center of the church?
FOR NUNS AND NONES' SIX-MONTH PILOT PROGRAM, MILLENNIALS MOVE IN 
For six months Mercy sisters and spiritually curious millennials gathered and lived in this suburb south of San Francisco.
HOW TO SURVIVE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND NOT LOSE FAITH 
An invitation to commitment, an awareness that is sometimes bitter, more often ironic, about the life of our parishes, told by those who frequent it and try to improve it.
STEPPING BACK  
What the high-octane pace of news coverage does to our mental and emotional wellbeing.
FROM THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION TO THE DIGITAL, WHAT GUIDES US ON 'NEW THINGS'? 
The signs indicate that the church really can't afford to bring more dehumanization to the table.
POPE FRANCIS CALLS US TO BUILD BRIDGES. LET’S START IN OUR PARISHES 
The church in the United States is in the midst of a profound transformation that is manifested vividly at the parish level.
THE RISE OF EWTN: FROM PIETY TO PARTISANSHIP 
An NCR multi-part series looking at the effect of money on the Catholic narrative both inside the church and beyond.
FRANCIS CONTINUES TO MAKE US ALL A BIT UNCOMFORTABLE 
From his stance on migrants to his encyclical Laudato si', the pope causes controversy.
WHY LAPSED CATHOLICS CAN BE OUR BEST TEACHERS 
Lapsed artists are still pilgrims, walking in the mystery of God.
CATHOLIC CULTURE WARS 
Pope Francis has brought a major change to the culture of the Church. Pastoral care is his top priority. He has changed the balance in the culture wars.
JESUS TELLS US TO BECOME FIRE. HERE’S HOW TO CLAIM YOUR FLAME 
The church commissions us at baptism to keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts. We are called to embody the divine blaze.
WHY THE POPE PROBABLY WASN’T TROLLING TRUMP ON POPULISM 
Pronouncements are intentionally crafted to extend across space and time - in other words, not to refer directly to any specific personality or situation.
DO CATHOLICS 'ACTUALLY' BELIEVE IN THE REAL PRESENCE? 
With other studies' very different results, scholars question recent headline-making survey
ADAPTING TO A ‘WORLD CHURCH’ 
Finally, efforts are underway to understand Vatican II in light of a global Catholic Church. Massimo Faggioli on a new, culturally diverse commentary.
WHAT LEONARD BERNSTEIN’S ‘MASS’ TELLS US ABOUT OUR CHURCH 
'Mass' tells us something true about our church and ourselves. We should not be afraid to hear it.
THE EUCHARIST IS ABOUT MORE THAN CHRIST BECOMING PRESENT 
Like the Pew Research Center, Catholics have an impoverished idea of what the Eucharist is really all about.
RELIGIOUS AND POET: FATHER GABRIEL RINGLET, A MAVERICK 
'We have a conception of the priest and the priesthood that are part of the false sacred'
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ‘INCLUSIVE’ CHURCH 
One day, we’ll look back on this debate in the church and realise that this was the moment when we truly discovered what lay in store for us in the kingdom of God.
WHEN PROFESSIONAL CATHOLICS BURN OUT 
Working for the church can make it hard to believe in it.
TO RESCUE A SINKING CHURCH, THINK MISSION NOT MEMBERSHIP  
The American Catholic Church is at a crossroads. Will it choose safety or discipleship?
AMAZON SYNOD ORGANIZERS DEFEND FOCUS ON DISPUTED ISSUES, CITE REGION'S NEEDS 
It's about evangelization: how do we keep doing the work for which the church exists?
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN CALLS CATHOLICS TO BE 'MISSIONARY DISCIPLES' 
It is not that the Church of God has a mission, but that the mission of God has a Church.
THE JOYFUL WAY TO EVANGELIZE 
The goal is to form a relationship with the hope that the real work of evangelization, the work of the Holy Spirit, can be achieved.
IN PRAISE OF FRAGMENTS 
We’re fortunate as Christians to have four gospels. And each of them is in a sense a fragment of the wider New Testament. And within each of them, there are certain fragments.
HOW TO BE A MISSIONARY TODAY 
The act of serving and evangelizing has continually evolved since the time of Jesus.
FRANCIS TAKES JOHN PAUL II'S 'BE NOT AFRAID!' TO NEW LEVELS 
For an institution that has no clear processes in place to effect change, there was a mashup of evidence during recent weeks in Rome that some significant change is, in fact, under way.
THE WEALTH OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES 
It is important to reflect on the thought of Francis, and as the Synod begins it is useful to highlight these four elements, fruit of the reflections of the pontiff during his Argentine years.
WITH NEWMAN, THE CHURCH GAINS ITS 'SAINT FOR MODERN TIMES' 
Blessed John Henry Newman widely seen as an architect of the modern church
WE ARE ALL TOILING IN THE SHADOW OF ST. JOHN HENRY NEWMAN 
If the church in our own time is looking for a way to get past its ideological divisions, we could all start by reading Newman honestly...
CARDINAL NEWMAN A SAINT FOR THE MODERN AGE 
Newman offers a model for Catholics trying to engage in public life - why this giant of the 19th century has just as much relevance for today’s Catholics.
IN MANHATTAN, A PARISH WHERE PEOPLE 'WANT TO BE' 
"People will go out of their way to come here for the liturgy, for the community, for preaching that's not afraid to engage the issues at hand," says the new pastor.
BE THE CHURCH YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD 
As the church reels from the clergy abuse scandal, one writer finds hope in her personal connections with other Catholics.
ARCHBISHOP CONDEMNS CATHOLIC KEYBOARD WARRIORS 
A Catholicism of self-defined certainties will lead eventually to a doubt about all certainties and thus to emptiness.
CHURCH OLD AND NEW: THE EMERGING CHURCH 
These shifts may be the very reason we are currently so divided as Christians, with some clinging to an older way of doing and thinking while others are pulling in these new and “emerging” directions.
BETWEEN NAZARETH AND BETHLEHEM: JESUS’ ORIGINS IN THE GOSPEL 
The complex presentation of the origins of Jesus embodies a tension between continuity and rupture, old and new, expectation and surprise in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
IN TIME OF CRISIS, THE CHURCH MUST BE RENEWED 
At times of great crisis in the Catholic Church, God intervened to renew it through the example and witness of saints, said Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Connecticut.
SHE CAN DO ANYTHING 
For Patti Smith, turbulence of spirit is the mark of a great artist. It is also related to hope and faith because, ultimately, it leads to charity, the ability to join one’s suffering with that of others...
DIALOGUE BEGINS WITH EMPATHY, NOT CONTEMPT 
Christians who preach the Gospel must see people who do not know Christ as children of God and not as nonbelievers worthy of hostility and contempt...
TAKING THE ROLE OF ALL THE BAPTIZED IN CHURCH LEADERSHIP SERIOUSLY  
Is “leadership” just another way of talking about the hierarchy and nothing else? Is “leadership” merely synonymous with the gifts of authoritative teaching intrinsic to the episcopal order?
CHURCHES EVER EMPTIER. TWO SURVEYS IN THE UNITED STATES AND ITALY 
In the United States there is a noteworthy survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center, to which on November 13 “L’Osservatore Romano” also dedicated an article.
IF A LITTLE CATHOLIC CONFUSION EXISTS, MAYBE IT IS A BLESSING 
The organized opposition to Pope Francis and his more pastoral approach grows more vociferous, with the word "confusion" often applied...
DO ADULTS NEED FAITH FORMATION? 
Parishes need to look beyond CCD and focus on faith formation for adults.
HOW FRANCIS PLAYS IN PEORIA: CAN FRANCIS CHANGE THE CHURCH? 
For many Catholics, especially those committed to the church but conflicted about it, the figure of “Pope Francis” has emerged as a beacon.
THE BENEFITS OF PARISH-HOPPING 
The notion of tolerating a grouchy pastor, a dull homilist, or a depressing musical environment is one that contributes to the spiritual malaise found in many parishes.
SURVEY FINDS TENSION BETWEEN PROFESSIONAL AND 'MISSIONARY' CAMPUS MINISTERS  
Follow-up projects to address 'shared ministry' and college-to-parish transition
HOSPITALITY IS AN IMPORTANT ECUMENICAL VIRTUE 
Showing hospitality makes a person a better human being and a better Christian and is an important part of promoting Christian unity, Pope Francis said.
CHRISTIAN UNITY REQUIRES RECOGNIZING, WELCOMING OTHERS' GIFTS 
As Christians work and pray for the restoration of full unity among them, they must be willing to learn from one another, even from the smallest of the Christian communities...
WHAT IS THE COMMON GOOD? 
It is often easier to point to ways that the common good is not being pursued than to specific ways that the common good ought to be pursued.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE IN A POLARIZED SOCIETY 
How do we promote unity, encounter and reconciliation while remaining faithful to diversity? What is the attitude, to be good communicators where polarization seeks to impose itself on every public or private discussion?
THE NEW PARISH MINISTRY EMPOWERING IMMIGRANT CATHOLICS 
Pastoral Migratoria has developed over the past 11 years as a way to put agency back into the hands of immigrant Catholics who feel their worlds are becoming more dangerous and uncontrollable.
CAN TECHNOLOGY CREATE CATHOLIC DISCIPLES? 
What if we are overlooking a powerful tool that could help build our ministries and strengthen the commitment of our church members to engage in a transformative relationship with God?
THREE CHEERS FOR SOCIALISM 
Christian Love & Political Practice: use of civic wealth for common human ends precisely in order to restore ...the Christian law of love of neighbor and faith in God’s charity that modernity has displaced by its reliance instead on the forces of self-interest.
IT’S OKAY TO BE A ‘BAD’ CATHOLIC 
Society thinks Catholics look and behave a certain way. But people of faith don't easily fit stereotypes.
THE 7TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE POPE WHO ACCOMPANIES US 
The 7th anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate comes in the midst of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
STILL, WE FIND WAYS TO CONNECT  
The paradoxes pile up today. We're forced to understand our common humanity, an understanding made possible technologically as never before. Yet we are forced to stay away from one another.
WAY STATIONS FOR A PILGRIM CHURCH: THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF AMERICAN PARISHES 
Parish closures and consolidations are reshaping territorial boundaries, throwing once-disparate communities together, scattering others, and leaving many feeling pastorally abandoned and spiritually homeless.
COMMON SENSE ISN’T ENOUGH 
Our human biases resist the hard truths about social distancing, but can the pandemic cure us of our bad habits of mind?
THE AMERICAN PARISH TODAY 
When it comes to the state of the Catholic parish, we tend to focus on the bad news: closed churches, declining vocations, dwindling congregations, and even parochial mergers and closures. But that’s not the whole story.
CHURCH LEADERS NEED TO PREPARE FOR REALITIES OF ‘POST-PEAK’ RESTRICTIONS 
Church leaders should be thinking about these things now, brainstorming with experts on ways to safely return sacramental life to the laity, even if on a limited basis.
THE POPE & THE PLAGUE 
Societies that pull together like this, putting the vulnerable first, can achieve extraordinary things. And if we can do it to combat COVID-19, why not also climate change, infant mortality, or war?
POPE FRANCIS HOPES AFTER PANDEMIC, HUMANITY HAS ‘ANTIBODIES OF JUSTICE, CHARITY’ 
With Christ’s passion and that of “our brothers and sisters, even living our own passion, our ears will hear the newness of the Resurrection: we are not alone...
BEYOND SOCIAL FALLOUT, VATICAN FACES SPIRITUAL AND PASTORAL RECOVERY TOO 
The Vatican the creation of five working groups intended to face both immediate needs and the challenges of reconstruction once the crisis begins to ebb.
AN EASTER WITHOUT EUCHARIST CANNOT KEEP CHRIST FROM BEING AMONG US 
Christians around the world this year experienced the unthinkable: Easter season without Eucharist. The most sacred of celebrations in the Christian calendar occurred right at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic...
PREPARE NOW FOR POST-PANDEMIC MINISTRY, CHURCH PROFESSIONALS URGE 
Now is the time for parishes and dioceses to find ways to creatively keep the faithful engaged when the weekslong coronavirus hibernation ends
HOW SOCIAL DISTANCING MAY CHANGE THE WAY WE DO CHURCH 
In the pandemic, American Catholics are experiencing the Eucharistic famine that much of the rest of the world has known for generations.
WE’RE ALL MONKS NOW 
Because of Covid-19, many of us are living, in a way, like monks, enclosed and isolated in our homes. But unlike the monks, we did not ask for or want this situation, nor it is one for which many of us were spiritually prepared.
WHAT THE FIRST CHRISTIANS CAN TEACH US ABOUT MISSING THE SACRAMENTS AND STILL GROWING IN FAITH 
Risking the transmission of a deadly disease prioritizes personal spiritual needs over solidarity with the body of Christ who stands to suffer.
LONELINESS, DISCONNECTION, AND OUR DIVINE VOCATION 
Without a reference to human nature, and the specific inclination to live in community as essential for its flourishing, the prescriptive for civic decline can fall on deaf ears.
LIKE “CACIO E PEPE”, RESTARTING THE CHURCH SEEMS SIMPLE BUT IT’S TRICKY 
That’s because you have to get the sequence, the timing and the mix just right, and a tiny error can have disastrous consequences.
CATHOLIC PARISH LIFE (AS WE KNEW IT) IS NOT COMING BACK ANYTIME SOON 
There are still many unanswered questions, but interviews with physicians, public health experts, priests and diocesan leaders all elicited at least one common refrain: Even when public Masses resume, parish life will not feel normal for a while.
‘HOW’ OF GOING BACK TO MASS MAY BE JUST AS MESSY AS ‘WHEN’ 
If early returns are any indication, the way in which the Mass ban is lifted may turn out to be just as controversial, and just as messy, as imposing it in the first place.
SEX, WOMEN, POWER. THE THREE CHALLENGES GERMANY IS ISSUING TO THE CHURCH 
The coronavirus pandemic has made the “synodal path” of the Church of Germany disappear from the news. But meanwhile it continues forward.
NAMING THE DEHUMANIZING AGENDA OF SOME CHRISTIANS 
It's worth remembering that the Gospels consistently portray Jesus Christ reserving his harshest criticism and condemnation for religious hypocrites. We have to hold one another accountable.
TAKE IT PERSONALLY 
How to Keep the Pandemic from Becoming an Abstraction: the proper response to the pandemic is ...political action aimed at protecting the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters... Do that and maybe then we’ll have a right to say, “We’re all in this together.”
EUROPE'S CATHOLIC CHURCH AWAITS NEW LIFE AFTER CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN 
Different countries have different dates, guidelines for opening Mass
AMERICAN CATHOLICS, MEET THE COMMUNION SERVICE 
When churches begin opening, social distancing will allow fewer people to attend Mass at the same time, which means more services will be required.
INVITATION TO SOLIDARITY 
The hidden nature of systemic oppression makes it all the more remarkable that the revelation of God in the Bible is written from the perspective of the oppressed.
WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE, JESUS OR THE SPIRIT?  
It is the Spirit that makes us Jesus, makes us the body of Christ. It is the Spirit that gives us life and fills us with love. It is not enough for us to be with Jesus; we must become Jesus, and we can only do that with the power of the Spirit.
AS CHURCHES REOPEN, LET’S NOT GO BACK TO THE OLD ‘NORMAL’ 
We now have more ways to connect, and we intend to keep using them. That livestream is here to stay. This way of being community is not going away, once in-person worship is again possible.
IS THE CHURCH DOING ENOUGH TO WELCOME ITS NEURODIVERSE MEMBERS? 
The body of Christ is made up of all of us. Talk with parents of kids living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) about finding a church home, and one ominous phrase often repeats: “A few years later, we tried again.”
PARISHES MUST CHANGE POST-PANDEMIC 
Will they come back? That's the question on the minds of parish leaders in the 17,000 American Catholic churches as the U.S. begins a return to a new normal post-pandemic life.
SUCCESSFUL PARISHES ARE MISSIONARY, EMPHASIZE LAY LEADERSHIP 
By embracing co-responsibility and diversity, parishes and pastoral leaders will find new ways to “Open Wide the Doors of Christ,” both “literally and figuratively.”
CATHOLICS BROUGHT 'CLOSER TO GOD' BY COVID-19  
Almost all Catholics in Britain have watched livestreamed Masses during lockdown, according to a new survey, but the majority will not continue doing so once normal church life returns.
‘EPIDEMIC’ OF CATHOLIC SCHOOL CLOSURES IN U.S. 
The economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting Catholic education hard as more than 100 elementary and high schools have announced they are shuttering.
MILLENNIALS ARE SEEKING SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY. WHERE ARE THEY FINDING IT? 
Alternative and experimental communities are popping up across the United States —in gyms, storefronts, and restaurants, around dining room tables, and on Zoom calls. They aim to meet a key yearning: the desire for community.
RECOMMITTING TO A MOMENT OF TRANSFORMATION 
The brief meeting between the Pope and the Professor was thus an enormously transformative moment. It gave rise to a “journey of friendship”, as Pope Francis has described it, that has blessed Catholics and Jews ever since.
THE PARISH AT THE SERVICE OF EVANGELIZATION 
The urgency of missionary renewal, a pastoral conversion of the parish, so that the faithful may rediscover the dynamism and creativity which allows the parish to be always "going forth", aided by the contribution of all the baptized faithful.
DISSECTING POPE FRANCIS’ CALL FOR “PASTORAL CONVERSION” 
Instead of proposing creative changes for re-envisioning the diocese-territorial parish structure that is no longer sustainable, it actually goes on to reaffirm this Tridentine model.
BISHOP MCELROY'S HOPEFUL VISION FOR A CHURCH TRANSFORMED  
The pandemic has transformed the landscape of our ecclesial life in ways that will permanently change the nature of pastoral action and evangelization.
THE PANDEMIC’S LESSONS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR COMMON LIFE 
If we are to delight in the recovery of common life, we need to recognize how impoverished life is for those who may have long been excluded from it.
A WAY THROUGH THE WOODS 
The possibility of never returning to previous patterns of practice, represents, not a diminution of an interaction with Jesus really present in the Eucharist, but an invitation to an enhanced relationship with Jesus, the universal Christ, really present in the whole of creation.
HOW TO PLAN PARISH EVENTS THAT FOSTER REAL FRIENDSHIPS 
Whether you work in a parish, lead a committee, or volunteer in any capacity, chances are you play some role in welcoming and connecting your community.
‘TONGUES AS OF FIRE’ 
The Church’s gathering as a unity in which persons of all social classes and races are Christ to each other has a profound metaphysical basis.
PROGRESSIVE MILLENNIALS OFFER THE CHURCH MUCH HOPE AND PROMISE 
Dismantling the trappings of the church so that the meaning of its most fundamental symbols is "so transparent that no one would ever say, 'It's lovely, but what does it mean?' ".
THE CHANGING FACE OF THE CHURCH 
ch is leading to encounters and conversations between Catholics of different generations that are breaking down barriers and creating spaces where the faith of young and old is being shaken, stirred and enriched.
MAKE AMERICA MEEK AGAIN 
Biblical prophets are blunt about how the mighty will be hurled from thrones while the lowly will be lifted up.
TIMOTHY SCHMALZ'S SCULPTURES ARE 'ONLY AS SHOCKING AS THE GOSPELS' 
Seeing Jesus in the homeless, the hungry, the sick, the prisoners, the desperate refugees and migrants. An evangelist who preaches worldwide, not with his mouth, but with his hands, casting the least among us into exquisite life-size bronze sculptures.
ST. JOHN HENRY NEWMAN - A MAN OF HIS TIME, A SAINT FOR OURS 
He understood that truth lies outside and beyond us, yet beckons to us through our consciences, and that the end of all our strivings is not an idea but a person...
THE TWO STANDARDS  
You will find safety in Christ’s standard only if you resolutely begin everything with thanks to God and keep watching what you are doing and why you are doing it.
HOW TO BUILD PARISH COMMUNITY AROUND JUSTICE WORK  
Social action can sometimes be divisive, but parishes are called to more than charity. Including the most vulnerable in decision-making restores human dignity and helps avoid the savior complex that is often a danger in mission work.
THE NEW YOUTHFULNESS OF ITINERANT PRIESTS  
From full-time itinerancy to short-term team missions, priests find new ways to reach God's people. What if the vocation of the diocesan priest was not to be the "head of the parish", assigned to one place and serving the Catholics who come him, especially for the sacraments?
AN INTERVIEW WITH POPE FRANCIS - "A TIME OF GREAT UNCERTAINTY" 
"Go down into the underground, and pass from the hyper-virtual, fleshless world to the suffering flesh of the poor. This is the conversion we have to undergo."
‘I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT’ 
The pastor who says, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” should ask himself some fundamental questions to discover the action of the Spirit among his faithful.
INVALIDATED BAPTISM: WHEN THEOLOGY RHYMES WITH MADNESS 
There is an old adage in the Church, which takes into account the always possible weakness of ordained ministers and, more broadly, the possible errors of communities of the baptized. It is the "Ecclesia supplet".
SOLIDARITY NEEDED TO REBUILD POST-PANDEMIC COMMUNITY 
In his catechesis at the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis urges everyone to combine authentic solidarity with the virtue of faith in order to heal social ills in the post-pandemic world.
PRO-TRUMP CATHOLICISM AND THE POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES OF A THEOLOGICAL CRISIS 
The theological trajectory of conservative U.S. Catholicism is one of the proofs that Trump's America is not just a parenthesis
BROTHERS AND SISTERS ALL! 
Inclusive language is, admittedly, more of an issue in the English-speaking world than it is in Latin language cultures. How a longstanding suspicion of inclusive language is killing the Church's message.
YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE LESSONS TO TEACH THE CHURCH  
“They have asked us in a thousand ways to walk alongside them — not behind them or ahead of them, but at their side. Not over them or under them, but on their level,” Pope Francis wrote in the introduction to a new book of essays about youth ministry.
FRANCIS’ GOVERNMENT: WHAT IS THE DRIVING FORCE OF HIS PONTIFICATE? 
After seven years of this pontificate, what is its driving force? Some commentators and analysts have wondered if Francis’ drive still exists; others have tried to reflect on its substance.
GOD IS BEYOND RACE AND GENDER. IT’S TIME OUR SACRED ART IS TOO 
Predominantly white sacred images can inspire prejudice. Since God is beyond race and gender and historically Jesus and Mary were certainly not Nordic Europeans, constantly depicting these figures as white implicates the church in racist complicity — and religious idolatry.
FOR CHRISTIANS WHO FEEL BETRAYED BY CHRISTIANITY  
How can someone talk about the existence of a better life in heaven when their fellow believers are denying a better existence to people on earth?
THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL: DANGEROUS AND DIFFERENT 
This type of Christianity places the well-being of the believer at the center of prayer, and turns God the Creator into someone who makes the thoughts and desires of believers come true.
THE CHURCH IS LOSING TOUCH WITH WORKING-CLASS CATHOLICS 
The poorest Americans are abandoning Mass the most. It’s one of the manifestations of that deinstitutionalization, but the church should be the outlier, if we are what Jesus wants us to be. The church should be the place the poor turn away from last.
THE FUTURE OF CATHOLICISM 
Today, the function of the Catholic Church could consist in this: to let it show that God alone can give man the freedom to go back —first— to man himself, by giving him the freedom to resemble nothing less than God himself.
CHURCH DOESN’T NEED TO SAY MORE ABOUT RACISM, IT NEEDS TO DO MORE 
There are a growing number of individuals in the church — both members of the faithful and the clergy — who are aware of the racial crisis and have a desire to change things.
WITH 9 NEW ELECTORS, POPE FRANCIS REMAKES THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS 
Over seven years, Pope Francis has gradually remade the college of cardinals, making it less European and more African and Asian.
SACRED VIOLENCE IS NOT YET ANCIENT HISTORY – BEATING IT WILL TAKE HUMAN ACTION, NOT DIVINE INTERVENTION 
Social change happens only when individuals take a few steps. The first is to refuse to ignore pain when it is in plain sight. The final step is to take a positive action, even a simple one, to make things better.
55 YEARS AGO, A CARDINAL’S ‘SPECIAL REVERENCE’ FOR THE JEWS REDEEMED ‘NOSTRA AETATE’ 
The proclamation sparked a systematic effort by the Catholic Church to transform its past bitter relationships with Jews and Judaism.
WILL I GO BACK TO MASS? 
From Australia: Now that the lockdown has eased and public worship is resuming, a prominent Catholic in Australia wonders if it's really worth going back to church.
THE NEW INTEGRALISTS 
"The new integralists fail to truly recognize Christ, turning him into nothing other than the capstone of another hierarchy, the authorization for one more Inquisition." Timothy Troutner insists that we cannot cede tradition to the integralists.
INCREASINGLY ISOLATED YOUTH CONNECT TO FAITH THROUGH RELATIONSHIP 
Young people do not see religious leaders as trusted adults, according to a new study. Only 8% of respondents ages 13-25 who are affiliated with a religious group say they have a trusted religious leader they could turn to if needed.
NEVER TOLERATE INTOLERANCE. WE ARE ONE BECAUSE OUR TEARS ARE THE SAME  
Love is the supreme virtue. Love is the identity card of every human being. Christianity teaches people to love one another; that is the greatest law of life. Our enemies are our best teachers. Respect them. They have exposed our prejudices.
JEREMIAH, THE WOUNDED PROPHET OF CHURCH UNITY 
The experience of the Old Testament figure Jeremiah with God and his people makes this prophet a fitting model for unity in a divided world. The way Jeremiah worked for and embodied the spirit of unity can be instructive for our response to the difficulties of our present time.
THE FRANCIS EFFECT PODCAST: AFTER THE ELECTION, BEFORE A VACCINE 
NCR executive editor Heidi Schlumpf joins "The Francis Effect" podcast, with co-hosts Franciscan Fr. Dan Horan (columnist for NCR's "Faith Seeking Understanding") and David Dault, executive producer and host of "Things Not Seen: Conversations about Culture and Faith."
BLUEPRINT FOR A HUMANE ECONOMY: WHAT POPE FRANCIS CAN TEACH THE LEFT 
Pope Francis has laid-out a blueprint for a more humane economy, one in which the ideas of community and human flourishing take centre-stage.
WE ARE MEANT FOR EACH OTHER 
Community — communion — is the fundamental building block of the Catholic faith. Christ draws us into himself to create the community of believers, a cloud of witnesses.
POPE FRANCIS THE DREAMER  
Pope Francis often asks us to dream. It is, therefore, fitting, that the title of his latest book is Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future. What he means is that we are called "to make God’s dreams come true in this world."
POPE FRANCIS: A CRISIS REVEALS WHAT IS IN OUR HEARTS  
To come out of this crisis better, we have to recover the knowledge that as a people we have a shared destination. The pandemic has reminded us that no one is saved alone.
RADICAL TRUTHS 
Pope Francis’s latest encyclical breaks little new ground, but the ground upon which we all stand has shifted to such an extent that talk of “fraternal love” sounds both outdated and revolutionary.
WITH PEWS EMPTIED BY COVID-19, A CATHOLIC RESEARCHER ASKS, ‘WHAT IF THEY NEVER COME BACK?’ 
COVID-19 safety measures and social distancing have put further strain on many Catholic churches and parishes that have already seen their flocks dwindling. While many hope things will go back to “normal” once a vaccine is available, one researcher asks: “What if they never come back?”
WITH A FATHER’S HEART: THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH 
On December 8th, 1870 - 150 years ago today - Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church. In honor of the anniversary, Pope Francis announced a Year of St. Joseph, that... will be celebrated through December 8th, 2021.
THE TOP 7 POPE FRANCIS STORIES OF 2020 
This past year brought on special challenges as Pope Francis provided global moral leadership through the coronavirus pandemic. Yet amid the restrictions and upheaval, the pope continued his efforts to reform the church and strengthen its missionary zeal.
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE AND URBI ET ORBI BLESSING 
From the Hall of Benedictions, in the Vatican,the Holy Father’s Christmas Message and “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing. Christmas reminds us we are all united as brothers and sisters.
POPE FRANCIS' GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT TO US ALL 
Christmas came early twice this year for Catholics in the United States, says Michael Sean Winters. And we have Pope Francis to thank for it.
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION AND SOLIDARITY 
Connecting to each other through digital media was an indeed an opportunity for the Church. Yet we must remember this is not the way the Church should function in normal circumstances, as Pope Francis indicated in an April homily.
REALITIES ARE GREATER THAN IDEAS  
Pope Francis is asking us to work within the reality, not to imagine that we can impose ideas on everyone else. Sadly, many Catholics can’t handle that.
2020 HAS TESTED THE HEART AND SOUL OF AMERICA 
Pope Francis says that a crisis makes us either better or worse; it is impossible to remain the same. In a crisis, the pope writes, "you reveal your own heart: how solid it is, how merciful, how big or small."
AS 2020 ENDS, REJECT A WHITEWASHED JESUS AND ENCOUNTER THE REAL CHRIST 
Commentary from Matt Kappadakunnel: "For many Catholics of color, worship spaces that exclusively use white images to portray our faith contribute to the white supremacist undercurrents in the American church."
US BISHOPS CONDEMN ATTACK ON CAPITOL AND ASK FOR PRAYERS 
U.S. Catholic bishops unanimously condemn the violence that engulfed the United States Capitol, which left four people dead and many injured.
CATHOLICS AND LUTHERANS REAFFIRM COMMITMENT TO COMMUNION  
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation underscore their commitment to walk together on their common journey from conflict to communion.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2021 IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE U.S.  
What will the new year bring in the life of the church in the United States? We never know what unforeseen events will enlighten or becloud all else. But [there are] a few major themes that will shape 2021.
WHAT FOUR STRANGERS OF DIFFERENT FAITHS LEARNED WHILE LIVING TOGETHER DURING A PANDEMIC 
Hadar Cohen, Ala’ Khan, Maya Mansour and Jonathan Simcosky were chosen as fellows for an interfaith experiment known as the Abrahamic House. They come from different faiths...
SPIRITUS DOMINI: DEVELOPMENT IN CONTINUITY  
Pope Francis’s motu proprio Spiritus Domini—which opens up the instituted ministries of lector and acolyte to women that had been previously restricted to men—reflects a significant theological development and is worth considering at a deeper level.
AT AMANDA GORMAN’S BLACK CATHOLIC LA PARISH, ‘IT’S LIKE EVERYBODY HERE IS A FREEDOM FIGHTER’ 
Poet Amanda Gorman sang in the youth choir, did her sacraments and recited her poetry at an Afrocentric Catholic church in South Central Los Angeles.
WHEN IT COMES TO BUILDING TRUST, BELONGING BEATS BELIEF, STUDY FINDS 
A new study found that those who belong to a religious group or go to services have higher levels of trust than those who have stronger individual belief.
THE INADEQUACY OF WORDS 
When we presume we know fully, we can all be very arrogant and goal oriented at the expense of other people. When we know we don’t know fully, we are much more concerned about practical, loving behavior.
LIBERAL CATHOLICISM: WE'VE BEEN HERE ALL ALONG 
They are the gray-haired old-timers at church reform organizations and parishes. They are the young Catholics taking their first theology course at a Catholic college or university — and the theologians teaching those classes. They are the retired priests, sisters and even some bishops who have spent their lives working for social justice.
POPE CRITICISES CATHOLICS WHO REJECT VATICAN II 
Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the council, or you interpret it in your own away – according to your desire – [and] you do not stand with the Church.
THE ‘ON EAGLE’S WINGS’ DEBATE IS REALLY ABOUT HOW CATHOLICS WILL TREAT EACH OTHER UNDER PRESIDENT BIDEN 
The “On Eagle’s Wings” debate was never just about a hymn. The controversy over the song has come and gone. But the episode has a lasting warning for us.
LIBERAL CATHOLICS AND THE TEMPTATION OF SECTARIANISM  
The Holy Spirit is at work in every human heart, liberal hearts and conservative hearts, among extroverts and introverts, beckoning the cautious and the carefree.
WHAT KIND OF CATHOLIC? 
If faith really means something to us, we have to engage it, not only when we agree but especially when we don't. There's no need to judge each other. We have a God who will do that for each one of us with both justice and mercy. And we all have mirrors.
ANTI-RACISM IS PART OF CATHOLIC IDENTITY ON THESE CAMPUSES 
Catholic colleges and universities around the country are taking anti-oppression measures to heart. One of the most difficult concepts for people to grasp is the difference between racism as an individual problem and as a societal one.
OPPOSITION TO FRANCIS ROOTED IN OPPOSITION TO VATICAN II 
Catechesis is taking others by the hand and accompanying them in this history. It inspires up a journey, in which each person finds his or her own rhythm, because Christian life does not even out or standardize, but rather enhances the uniqueness of each child of God.
‘FRATELLI TUTTI’: OUR GREAT CHALLENGE  
Social friendship is based on the principles of the common good for each and every person and for the environment in which we live and move and have our being.
RICHARD ROHR ON POPE FRANCIS, ORIGINAL SIN AND GIVING UP NOTHING FOR LENT  
In this wide-ranging interview, Father Richard Rohr talks about Pope Francis, how we should think about original sin and why we don’t need to give anything up this Lent (except maybe our ego).
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN THE US FACE STEEPEST DECLINE IN STUDENT ENROLMENT SINCE 1970S 
School closures disproportionately affected underserved and non-Catholic families. Catholic schools, the report notes, were historically setup to serve immigrant or marginalised families.
AUSTRALIAN BISHOPS RELEASE WORKING DOCUMENT FOR OCTOBER PLENARY COUNCIL 
There’s a need for a greater expression of the co-responsibility of all the baptized if the church (in Australia) is to take the mission to evangelize seriously in the decades ahead.
BEYOND THE PANDEMIC: CATHOLIC SCHOOLS CAN COME BACK, BIGGER AND BETTER 
While many young people have lost faith in religious institutions, they have lost faith in almost all institutions. What could God do with a Church that was committed to building institutions to help grow the spiritual seeds in young people?
RESIST TODAY’S THROWAWAY CULTURE WITH THIS ANCIENT PRACTICE  
A modern-day gleaning network addresses issues of food waste and food insecurity.
POOR PARISHES AND DIOCESES FACE PRECARIOUS POST-PANDEMIC WORLD 
We need to make sure not just for this year, but for the long term, Catholic institutions are strong because of the work they do educating, serving the poor and providing hope to people in incredibly hopeless situations.
A DEEPER LOOK AT CATHOLIC SCHOOLS' PANDEMIC ENROLLMENT PLUNGE 
The plunge is the largest decline since record keeping began in the early 1970s and exceeded the drops that followed 2008 financial crisis and the clergy sex abuse scandal.
HOW BIG MONEY IS DIVIDING AMERICAN CATHOLICISM 
The extreme financial imbalance is something more than merely another factor in the culture war within Catholicism. It is in an important sense the cause of the war itself.
SOME CHURCH THINGS SHOULDN'T RETURN TO 'NORMAL' AFTER THE PANDEMIC  
We should not rush to return to some mere status quo as if everything was just fine in February 2020; that includes our church.
POLICING THE COMMUNION LINE - WHY SACRAMENTAL RIGORISM BACKFIRES 
[The Church] has decided against such policing not for practical reasons, but for principled ones: such a practice fails to respect the dignity and conscience of the members of the body of Christ.
A WELCOME INTERRUPTION 
The new book, Church, Interrupted does not seek to be a systematic chronology of the Francis years. It is too perceptive, personal, quirky, and emotionally involved, which turns out to be its strength.
EACH CATHOLIC CULTURE BREWS A CONTROVERSY MADE TO ORDER 
Catholic experience is a constant interplay between the universal and the local, a few basic constants refracted and lived out in a stunning myriad of different milieu.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA: TO LOVE THE CHURCH IS TO LONG FOR HER RENEWAL 
The idea of reform, is fundamental. The Church should renew herself in each epoch, not in her divine structure but in her members, putting on the new man...
DISCERNING THE GRAIN OF WHEAT 
As the pandemic begins to enter a new phase of hope, the Spirit questions us. What good and beautiful things have you discovered? What weeds are there to pull?
POPE FRANCIS’ ‘AMORIS LAETITIA’ AT 5 YEARS 
Five years after the release of “Amoris Laetitia,” what is the legacy of the pope’s controversial document on marriage and family life?
SHARING GOODS NOT COMMUNISM BUT ‘PURE CHRISTIANITY,’ POPE SAYS 
The Acts of the Apostles relate that ‘no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.’ This is not communism, but pure Christianity,
THE USCCB PARODY TWITTER ACCOUNT ASKED PEOPLE TO SHARE WHEN THEY FELT LEAST AT HOME IN THE CHURCH 
The invitation to share moments of exclusion and hurt at the hands of the church generated a significant response.
POPE FRANCIS CALLS FOR UNITY IN THE CHURCH DURING COVID CRISIS 
Being “imprisoned” in the Vatican and unable to resume his regular schedule due to Italy’s COVID-19 lockdown does not mean Pope Francis has quieted down.
5 TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE MUSIC MINISTRY 
Music ministry is about more than singing the correct notes - if liturgy is the work of the people, we must make sure it is the work of all the people.
DO YOU LOVE THE CHURCH BUT SOMETIMES HATE IT? 
We cannot not love the church, for the church is Christ’s. But we legitimately and understandably cannot love what much of the church has become in many places.
JANE GOODALL SAYS POPE FRANCIS IS A ‘REASON FOR HOPE’ IN THE FUTURE 
World-renowned English anthropologist Jane Goodall has joined her voice to the Vatican’s in calling for the defense of biodiversity...
WHITHER THE RELIGIOUS LEFT? 
Left-leaning people of faith will never be reliable allies of the Democratic Party, nor will the party reliably offer them a comfortable home. But their fortunes are linked.
WE NEED TO TALK: HEALING OUR DEEPLY DIVIDED CHURCH AND COUNTRY  
The divisions in our country are deep on issues like racism and economic inequality, as well as on education, cultural values and lifestyles. Likewise, our church is divided. What are communicators to do in the face of these divisions?
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING HAPPY 
Turn on the news these days and you may be hard-pressed to find a reason to be happy. COVID-19 and social unrest have taken over our feeds and our joy.
WEAPONIZING THE EUCHARIST: THE BISHOPS, NOT BIDEN, CAUSE SCANDAL 
Biden is a sinner because we all are sinners, but to assess the state of his soul when he approaches the altar requires seeing what it is difficult to detect in ourselves, let alone in another person.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS WHO WANT TO DENY BIDEN COMMUNION MAY HAVE TO RECKON WITH THE POPE 
Having to reckon with Catholic laity who disagree and a pope who has insisted the sacrament is “not a prize for the perfect.”
BISHOP MCELROY: THE EUCHARIST IS BEING WEAPONIZED FOR POLITICAL ENDS. THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN 
It will bring tremendously destructive consequences—not because of what it says about abortion, but because of what it says about the Eucharist.
BISHOPS AT LOGGERHEADS OVER COMMUNION FOR BIDEN 
The campaign to get the US bishops’ conference to adopt a document effectively barring President Joe Biden from Communion burst into the open last week...
THE BIDEN COMMUNION STORIES ARE STUPID 
Journalists, here’s your answer: This is a stupid story for canonical, theological and political reasons.
VATICAN CARDINAL: DENYING COMMUNION IS UP TO INDIVIDUAL BISHOPS 
Decisions about administering the Eucharist rest solely on the bishop giving the sacrament.
TRANSFORMING FORGIVENESS 
Sometimes only a loving kind of attention provides an awareness that reveals deeper insights than any available to neutral detachment.
NO ONE CAN WIN THE COMMUNION WARS OVER ABORTION 
Such efforts are far more likely to entrench partisan divisions ever deeper into the life of the church than they are to draw hearts and minds to the cause of defending unborn life.
WITH NEW MINISTRY OF CATECHIST, POPE FRANCIS WIDENS ROLE FOR LAY CATHOLICS 
The latest motu proprio signals a continued, albeit timid, effort to answer a growing demand for agency from rank-and-file Catholics.
IN CATHOLIC CULTURE, KITCHEN AND ALTAR BOTH SACRAMENTAL VENUES 
Rome is a place where food and faith belong together, where the kitchen and the altar express the same basic sacramental instinct.
WHOSE SYNODALITY? SOCIAL ALLIANCES AND INSTITUTIONAL MODELS IN GLOBAL CATHOLICISM 
Looking at the driving forces of synodality from one continent to another
CHOOSING THE CHURCH (AGAIN) 
Turns out, there’s a lot of wonky theology and a good bit of Church law involved in baptismal validity... Marcia Lane-McGee reflects on her decision to be baptized - again.
WHAT WE CAN AND CAN’T LEARN FROM A NEW TRANSLATION OF THE GOSPELS 
Understanding is what many people seek from sacred literature, and what the people in the Gospels sought in their own encounters with Jesus.
VATICAN SAYS 2023 'SYNOD ON SYNODS' WILL BE A PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT 
Originally planned for October 2022, the next synod is now comprised of a two-year process that will unfold in three phases: A diocesan phase, a continental phase, and a universal phase.
DIVERSITY & DIVISION - ‘AMERICAN CATHOLICS’ 
A new book that covers the astounding breadth of Catholic demography, culture, devotional life, institutional growth, and intellectual life.
CATHOLICS: EMBRACE BEING ‘WOKE.’ IT’S PART OF OUR FAITH TRADITION 
It is easy to mock “wokeness,” but developing an awareness of the realities that others face is relevant to the first step of the pastoral cycle: seeing.
THE CHURCH IS INVITED TO LISTEN ACTIVELY TO FAMILIES AND INVOLVE THEM IN PASTORAL CARE 
Pope Francis underlines the importance of collaboration involving the clergy, married couples and families in the mission of evangelization.
FROM HERE TO UTOPIA - WHAT RELIGION CAN TEACH THE LEFT 
Catholic communities are utopian collectivities ordered by the rhythms of gathering and redistributing. They have so much to teach contemporary leftists.
BISHOPS’ ‘REFERENDUM’ ON BIDEN MAY NOT HAVE BEEN THAT AT ALL 
The primary purpose of this proposed document is to welcome Catholics back to Mass after the pandemic and to accompany the Eucharistic Revival project that will begin in the U.S. Church next summer.
THE OLD TESTAMENT IS NOT SECOND-CLASS SCRIPTURE 
If the Old Testament is made clear by the New, it’s also true that the New is made clear by the Old. The Old Testament is the essential context from which the New Testament was written.
MILLIONS SKIPPED CHURCH DURING PANDEMIC. WILL THEY RETURN? 
As the pandemic recedes in the United States and in-person services resume, worries of a deepening slide in attendance are universal.
OPPOSING CULTURE, OR OPPOSING AN ANTI-CULTURE? 
As Catholics, we’re called to resist the “culture of death” and the “throw-away culture.” Does this mean we are countercultural? What should we do when faced with an anti-culture?
CANTALAMESSA’S TALKING TO YOU 
Divisions in the Church are tearing “Christ’s tunic to shreds,” Raniero Cantalamessa said in his homily during the Good Friday service in Rome. These conflicts “stem from political opinions that grow into ideologies...
WHAT WILL YOUR PARISH LOOK LIKE POST-PANDEMIC? 
It may depend on how it responded to coronavirus - From the start of the pandemic, church leaders have been grappling with how to minister under circumstances nobody had trained to expect.
LET'S BUILD A POST-PANDEMIC CHURCH WORTH GOING BACK TO 
Holiness comes from God. But we find it most frequently together when we are open to it. Parish life, for all its faults, prepares us to be receptive when holiness comes to find us.
BREAKING THE HABIT OF OFFLOADING OUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR PARISH LIFE 
We need a catechesis of the parish. I do not mean that we just need catechesis in the parish. We need a catechesis about what the parish is and why it matters. We need to start from the beginning and establish the most essential things.
CATHOLICS CLICKED WITH ONLINE MINISTRY. WILL WE KEEP IT UP? 
Parishes got more tech-savvy during the pandemic and it led to connected communities of faith.
TRADITIONIS CUSTODES: THE COUNCIL AND THE ROMAN RITE 
First impressions in the American conservative Catholic media sphere are very negative, as anyone could have guessed, but this is a long game. Pope Francis has called for a "return to a unitary form of celebration."
BOTH ON COMMUNION AND LATIN MASS, ‘WEAPONIZATION’ MAY BE POPE’S TARGET  
If you want to understand why Pope Francis is willing to use the power of his office to enforce discipline on the Latin Mass but not on communion for pro-choice politicians, maybe a concern for "weaponization" of the faith is at least part of it.
U.S. PARISHES WORK TO GET CATHOLICS BACK TO IN-PERSON MASS 
The mere act of lifting the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation as the coronavirus pandemic eases won't be enough to get Catholics to come back to church.
TABLOIDS, SCANDAL AND SPYING: THE U.S. CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS HIT A NEW, DANGEROUS LOW POINT 
Rare is the story that manages to be so depressing in so many ways. A recent report about a Catholic priest allegedly using an app for sexual activity is one of them.
TIME TO PUT THE 'CATHOLIC' BACK INTO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 
Now is a time for growth in charity toward one another, an openness to sharing divergent liturgical tastes and different desires, a commitment to renewing the unity of the church, built upon our common faith and the liturgy that is the source and summit of that faith.
IT’S TIME TO WRESTLE WITH CHURCH TEACHING ON SEX. HERE’S HOW. 
The Amoris Laetitia Family Year marks a good opportunity for Catholics to reconsider how we talk about sex and family life.
DISAGREEING WITH THE CHURCH 
What do you do when you find yourself in disagreement with a Church teaching or objecting to a discipline that the Church legitimately imposes? Many Catholics find themselves in this place at some point in their life...
REAL PRESENCE IN A TIME OF ONGOING PANDEMIC 
Launching a variety of "Back to Mass" campaigns across the country without a clearer understanding of the relationship between our ritual practices and the transmission of a destructive and ever-changing virus is imprudent.
VIRTUAL REALITY AND THE COMING CATHOLIC METAVERSE 
The combination of pandemic lockdowns and Zoom have spawned a new way of being Catholic. Or, they have spawned a new way of seeming to be Catholic. We are moving toward a Catholic Metaverse.
SHOULD WE GO BACK TO MASKS AT MASS? SOME U.S. BISHOPS SAY YES 
Bishops around the country are reassessing diocesan policies for mask wearing at Mass as the Delta variant propels a new spike in Covid-19 cases, particularly among the unvaccinated.
FACEBOOK WANTS YOU TO PRAY WITH THEM. DON’T TRUST THEIR INTENTIONS 
Facebook’s new prayer feature seems much more likely to invite us to turn further inward into that social media hellscape of narcissism and self-promotion. Pray for us, indeed.
BISHOPS DISAGREE ON GIVING RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS FOR COVID VACCINATIONS 
Now in the early stages of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination mandates, some of the nation’s Catholic leaders disagree on whether or not the faithful can seek religious exemptions from the orders.
VACCINE MANDATES ARE COMING. CATHOLICS HAVE NO MORAL REASON TO OPPOSE THEM 
Receiving the vaccine is not only morally acceptable, but also, according to Pope Francis, constitutes a moral obligation in order to protect one’s own health and safeguard the common good.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS MUST NOT TURN VACCINES INTO A CULTURE WAR ISSUE 
If you can’t find the phrase “common good” anywhere in a discussion of Catholicism and the morality of vaccination, then you are not getting the fullness of the Catholic tradition...
CLEARING UP THE CATHOLIC CONFUSION ABOUT VACCINE MANDATES  
Church authorities should make it clear that Catholics, unless they have a medical reason to refuse it, have a moral obligation to take the vaccine. But they should also stop short of coercing people to violate their sincerely held beliefs.
EMPTY CHURCHES AND THE “SECULARIZATION” EXCUSE 
The problem in the ordinary Church is our great lack of pastors, of people who love Christ and share the lives of those who are entrusted to them.
THERE’S NO SHORTAGE OF WAYS TO ENGAGE FAITH ONLINE 
U.S. Catholics have been able to form remarkably healthy communities online — and ones with a strong emphasis on lay involvement to boot. It’s easy to be hopeful...
REACHING OUT TO LAY CATHOLICS WITH THE SPIRITUAL RICHES OF THE CHURCH 
Contemplating the trinitarian life of God with a clarity of thought and sense of wonder. Lay theologians need to become more visible in every tier and structure of the Church, informing its spiritual life and pastoral work.
NATIVE CATHOLIC SCHOOLS CHART A NEW WAY FORWARD 
How Native schools are wrestling with their legacy and living out their Catholic charism in the present.
IS A FACE-OFF OVER MASKS DIVIDING YOUR PARISH? YOU’RE NOT ALONE 
The fact that politicians and TV news anchors are affecting America’s health is insane and needs to be halted No one’s freedom is being affected. We live in societies which have rules to enable people to live together in peace.
CATHOLICS AREN’T DISAPPOINTED — THEY’RE EXASPERATED  
People’s deep disappointment with the church reveals a deep love. Except not for the church. For Jesus Christ. Unless the church begins to understand... then people will look elsewhere to satisfy their longings.
MUCH OBLIGED 
Too often during the pandemic the Church encouraged us to resent the inconveniences of social distancing instead of supporting us in bearing this cross together. One of the worst offenders was NYC Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
OUR CATHOLIC FAITH DEMANDS THAT WE CONFRONT ISLAMOPHOBIA 
Anti-Muslim prejudice is not only unfair and untrue—it’s also a social sin. Christians should be at the forefront of efforts to work against it.
HIGHLIGHTS OF POPE FRANCIS' VISIT TO BUDAPEST AND SLOVAKIA 
A video roundup of Pope Francis' 34th Apostolic Journey, a 4-day visit which took him first to Budapest to close the 52nd Eucharistic Congress and then to Slovakia...
POPE FRANCIS RESPONDS TO ATTACKS FROM EWTN, OTHER CHURCH CRITICS 
“I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil."
“THE CENTER OF THE CHURCH? IT’S NOT THE CHURCH!”: POPE FRANCIS IN BUDAPEST AND SLOVAKIA 
It is necessary to preserve our religious roots and our history, while not keeping our gaze fixed only on the past, but looking to the future...
POPE FRANCIS REINS IN CATHOLIC MOVEMENTS AFTER FLOOD OF ABUSE CASES 
Francis said the Vatican is conducting a study, given the growing number of abuse cases in Catholic lay and religious movements.
SYNOD OF BISHOPS WILL BEGIN IN THE LOCAL CHURCHES 
Francis will open a three-year synodal journey with three phases (diocesan, continental, universal) of consultations and discernment, culminating with the assembly in October 2023 in Rome.
GEN Z IS KEEPING THE FAITH. JUST DON’T EXPECT TO SEE THEM AT WORSHIP 
Young people’s trust in religious institutions is low, but trust in relationships with religious people is still extremely high.
CHURCH NUMBERS IN THE WORLD  
The vitality of the Church and, above all, the faith that animates her pastors and her faithful cannot be measured by numbers and statistics. Yet the Church, like every visible human reality, cannot live outside the dimensions of space and time...
FIVE RULES FOR DISAGREEING WITH THE POPE 
We are all cafeteria Catholics. The real question is how we avoid a food fight in the cafeteria. Talking to those we disagree with is not about winning and losing. It is about conversation and better understanding.
EVEN GOD GOT BORED WITH THE BINARY 
Dualisms—whether black and white, male and female, or good and evil—are appealing, but often fail to tell the whole story. Sooner or later, however, we must come to terms with St. Paul and his astounding erasure of ones and zeroes in Galatians 3.
SLANDER, EWTN, AND CANNIBALISM 
Finally, a response (?) of sorts, from an EWTN figure in response to Pope Francis's statement that their attacks on the pope are "the work of the devil."
EWTN MUST DECIDE IF IT WANTS TO BE ‘WITH PETER AND UNDER PETER’ 
In Part II of this exclusive interview, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego says he believes “abortion, climate change and racism constitute the three greatest claims on the consciences of U.S. Catholics” today.
WHY CATHOLICS SHOULD USE PREFERRED GENDER PRONOUNS AND NAMES 
It is a continued disgrace that so many of those who self-identify as Catholic use our faith tradition to reject and erase the self-identities of our sisters, brothers and other siblings in Christ.
IS POPE FRANCIS A MARXIST? 
Pope Francis has been accused of being a Marxist by his critics throughout his papacy. Is this an accurate description? Let's look at some of his statements to see whether they are grounded in an ideology or in Catholic tradition.
POPE FRANCIS WAS RIGHT TO CALL OUT THE ATTACKS FROM EWTN 
As they say in Rome, safeguarding the unity of the church is a “constitutive dimension” of the function of the papacy. Or as Benedict XVI once put it, when schism rears up ahead, a pope has no choice but to act.
CHRISTIANITY AND VACCINE HESITANCY 
Freedom of religion plays an important role in our society, but it is always in danger of being abused and misused. As Christians, we have a vested interest in ensuring that it is not.
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