LIVING THE CATHOLIC FAITH IN THE 3RD MILLENIUM

A LAYMAN'S LOOK AT THE JOURNEY OF FAITH

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A LISTENING CHURCH
How does the center of institutional authority — in the Catholic Church, the papacy and the Vatican—allow dialogue within a global, decentralized, talk-back culture? The answer is: with great difficulty.
A LISTENING CHURCH AND AN EMPOWERED LAITY
Pope Francis speaks of bishops as leaders who should sometimes go ahead of their flock, sometimes simply walk among them, and sometimes fall in at the rear and be led by those seeking new paths.
FLIRTING WITH SCHISM
The people behind this attempt to force Francis to resign are a small minority of Catholics in the United States; they do not reflect Francis’s relationship with the whole U.S. church, much less the Catholic Church globally.
FRANCIS'S "UNPREDICTABILITY" CONFUSING TO THE AVERAGE CATHOLIC?
We’re already a week into 2015, but even several days before consigning the old year to the annals of Vatican history Pope Francis indicated that the new year was likely to be full of surprises.
IT'S TIME FOR OUR BISHOPS TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX ABOUT EFFECTIVE PASTORAL LEADERSHIP
True pastoral leadership notices, encourages and trusts the work of the Spirit in the heart of each believer for the building up of God's reign in our world.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? - PART I
Making sense of two millennia of relatively untouchable and unassailable top-down power requires a short cut. Singling out those popes known as 'Great' will suffice.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? - PART II
Jesus had founded a community of and for the poor, yet most of its top leaders were wallowing with the wealthy or in personal wealth.
WHERE ARE THE PRIESTS OF VATICAN II?
40 years later -- concerned about a Vatican II vision of church and yearning for a community with the same hopes and dreams for justice and peace.
WHOSE ROME?
The Catholic opposition to Pope Francis is headquartered in the United States. It is a minority within the U.S. Church, but it is well organized. Its main intellectual organ is First Things, its episcopal leader Archbishop Chaput.
WHY THE CHURCH CAN'T CHANGE - OR CAN IT?
While church leaders themselves can sometimes talk favorably about a structure that is leaner, the question for all of us is what may be lost if there is no longer a distinctive Catholic identity.
SCHISM OR EVOLUTION?
The concerted efforts to oust Pope Francis are deeply tied to the perverted crisis of abuse embedded in ecclesiastical power structures.
WHY DO SOME CATHOLICS FEAR CHANGE?
There are striking parallels between the ultramontanist thinkers and authors of the 19th century - the century of Vatican I - and those that could be named the 'new ultramontanists' of today.
THE PILGRIM CHURCH REVIVED UNDER POPE FRANCIS
A call for a renewed engagement in the world, not on the basis of suspicion and an endless, numbing critique of cultures, but on the basis of love and an evangelical zeal.
VATICAN REORGANIZATION WOULD BE 'DECISIVE SHIFT'
Pope Francis' advisory Council of Cardinals has suggested that the pontiff reorganize the Vatican to make a 'decisive shift' toward putting the city-state at the service of local Catholic dioceses around the world.
CLERICALISM
If clericalism looms large in today’s church, it has had centuries to grow strong. David Timbs traces the roots of clericalism back to the end of the Apostolic age, at the end of the first century.
I CAN'T GET THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH OUT OF MY SYSTEM
For centuries, the official church, consciously or subconsciously, focused on the religious education of children and zeroed in on adults with little developed spiritual maturity.
LET'S TALK ABOUT AUTHORITY
The relation of the papacy to the bishops, considered as a collective, has been a hot topic for Catholicism on and off since at least the fourteenth century.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S EUPHEMIZATION OF POWER
Although, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed, the church comprises the whole People of God — the laity and the ordained — in practice, the church is structured by inequality that is sanctioned and consecrated by priestly ordination.
CONFRONTING A SINFUL CHURCH
Talk of a holy Church without an accompanying “sinful” descriptor, especially in times like our own, can provoke profound cognitive dissonance among the faithful.
THE CHALLENGE AND DILEMMA FACING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S LEADERS
"Salvation" is NOT some game of demonstrating how many laws, rules and dogmas we can recite; or how many cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die promises we make over our lifetimes...
CLERICAL IDENTITY CRISIS: FLOCK AND PASTURE CAN'T TELL SHEPHERD WHO HE IS
Hierarchical culture is the gold carrot for those predisposed to its allurements. In its crassest forms it not only seems unbreakable but comes with a breathtaking lack of shame...
SIXTH YEAR MAY GO DOWN AS THE MOST DECISIVE IN FRANCIS' PAPACY
The pope invites us to a different way of being a Christian church in which the new evangelization is no longer tied up with technological, still less managerial, questions, as too often happened here in the U.S. under John Paul II and Benedict XV.
BISHOPS MUST LOOK WITHIN THEIR OWN CULTURE
Clergy culture or clerical culture are quickly becoming well-worn descriptions of an entity that previously went by the more reverential term "priesthood."
THE SHALLOW INTERPRETATION OF CLERICALISM
With roots going back over a millennium and half, the ancient clerical system has been superimposed as an anti-evangelical institution upon the lay Catholic sacrament of Orders.
HOW VIEWS ON PRIESTLY CELIBACY CHANGED IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY
For a long time the Catholic Church struggled with its interpretation of Scriptures on priestly celibacy. It wasn’t until the 12th century that priestly celibacy became mandatory.
GERMAN BISHOPS ANNOUNCE 'SYNODAL PROCESS' ON CELIBACY, SEXUAL MORALITY
Cardinal Reinhard Marx has announced that the Church in Germany is embarking on a "binding synodal process" to tackle the three key issues arising from the clerical abuse crisis: priestly celibacy, the teaching on sexual morality, and a reduction of clerical power.
GERMAN BISHOPS GO IT ALONE ON REFORM PROCEDURE
While the bishops deeply appreciated celibacy how far it was always necessary for the priesthood was something 'we will find out'
THE ROLE OF POWER, CLERICALISM IN THE SEX ABUSE CRISIS
Pope Francis has described clericalism as an attitude embraced by priests and bishops in which they see themselves as special or superior to others.
TO SERVE THE PEOPLE OF GOD: A CONVERSATION ON PRIESTHOOD AND MINISTRY
Report from the Boston College Seminar on Priesthood and Ministry for the Contemporary Church.
THE PROBLEMATIC RISE OF ARMCHAIR THEOLOGIANS
Inaccurate or misrepresentative interpretations of church teaching have been weaponized and used to attack those with whom one disagrees.
DUELING POPES? MAYBE
Dueling Views in a Divided Church? Definitely - What is happening is what many of us hoped would not happen
POPE PROPOSES RADICAL SHAKEUP OF THE ROMAN CURIA
New constitution means all work of the curia comes under a mission to evangelise, clipping wings of the powerful CDF
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH WOMEN DEACONS?
Nothing, says this scholar of women’s ordination in the early church.
‘IF EX-CATHOLIC WAS A RELIGION...’ - WHY INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC CHURCHES ARE FLOURISHING
The clergy sex-abuse scandals, conversion to other faiths, and declining religiosity in general all play a role.
TO ADDRESS CLERGY SEX ABUSE, ADDRESS FORMATION FOR MINISTRY
How the church forms ministers is crucial, says a new report on the clergy sex abuse crisis.
DESPITE MUCH-HYPED REFORM, NEW CURIA REMAINS A GOVERNING APPARATUS
The Roman Curia is a power structure — a bureaucracy: making evangelization its goal will not make the Curia fit for ecclesial purpose; it will bureaucratize the Church’s missionary mandate.
POPE SAYS STUDY ON WOMEN DEACONS WAS INCONCLUSIVE
No conclusion about whether deaconesses in the early church were "ordained" or formally "blessed..."
POWER, AND ITS APPEARANCE, IN VATICAN CURIAL REFORM
Pope Francis is expected to approve a final draft of a new governing constitution for the Roman Curia.
THEOLOGIANS, CARDINALS DEFEND POPE’S THEOLOGY IN WAKE OF HERESY CHARGE
Francis’s approach is elliptic, and gravitates around two permanent hearts, the heart of man and the heart of the Gospel.
WHY AMAZON SUMMIT ‘COULD CHANGE THE CHURCH FOR EVER’
Will the traditional link between celibacy and the priesthood be examined?
HIERARCHY AND THE NEED FOR A 'CULTURE OF VULNERABILITY'
Vulnerability, properly understood, is precisely what members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy need to embrace as a strength.
ABOLISH THE PRIESTHOOD
Opinion: to save the Church, Catholics must detach themselves from the clerical hierarchy — and take the faith back into their own hands.
IS POPE FRANCIS A SOCIALIST?
Whenever Pope Francis discusses the economy, it sets off cries that the pope is a socialist or a communist. What is his vision for the economy?
IN THE VATICAN’S ‘GAME OF THRONES,’ CAN POPE FRANCIS ‘BREAK THE WHEEL’?
Like Daenerys Targaryen, Francis has found breaking the wheel easier said than done.
AVERY DULLES ON WOMEN AND THE PRIESTHOOD (FROM 1996)
The critics include theologians of acknowledged professional competence. Here are ten of the principal objections that are commonly raised.
CONSERVATIVES STILL RULE THE US BISHOPS' CONFERENCE
Describing bishops is often more complicated than simply pigeonholing them as "right" or "left."
PROPOSED NEW APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION REORDERS VATICAN'S OFFICES
Reorienting the mission of the Church's central command... officials must no longer consider themselves a "superior authority" but servants of the pope and the world's bishops.
THE HIERARCHICAL SPIRIT THAT WILL NOT DIE
National Catholic Reporter publishes Part 2 of 2 of a posthumous essay on clerical culture from Eugene Kennedy.
BROKEN TRUST IN A BROKEN CLERICAL SYSTEM
The current state of the priesthood and episcopacy seems to be in shambles.
DON’T ABOLISH THE PRIESTHOOD. REDEEM IT
Another voice in the current conversation about the Roman Catholic priesthood. Very interesting comments at the end of the article, as well.
VATICAN GENDER DOCUMENT MAKES ONE THING CLEAR
The church needs to further a dialogue about transgender individuals.
BEFORE I TAKE ON CLERICALISM, I WILL SAY: I LOVE BEING A PRIEST
We need to change the whole culture of the priesthood and episcopacy.
THE PRIESTHOOD IS BEING CRUCIFIED ON THE CROSS OF CELIBACY
We cannot bring about real reform of the Roman Catholic priesthood unless we do away with mandatory celibacy...
PARTISAN TWEETS, NAPA PARTIES & BISHOPS
It’s more evidence of systemic problems at the higher levels of American Catholicism.
THE AMAZON SYNOD AND PRIESTLY CELIBACY
Will history see the upcoming Synod as the opening step toward undermining priestly in the Western Church at large?
VILLANOVA HISTORIAN SAYS CHAPUT, CORDILEONE, AND STRICKLAND ARE ‘DEVOUT SCHISMATICS’
Dissent against this pope has become radicalized with schismatic instincts because this kind of political devotion is more about a partisan ideology than about the Church.
REFORM OR DISMANTLE?
There is a danger that an indiscriminate skepticism toward institutions has blinded us to their necessity, and left them to be appropriated by people with no scruples about abusing institutional power to get their way.
MISSING THE BUS
How the Catholic Church has failed to adapt since Vatican Council II
CARDINAL HITS BACK AT CRITICS OF PAN-AMAZON SYNOD
Cardinal Pedro Barreto... emphasising that it will help the Church stand with exploited indigenous communities and become an effective evangelising presence.
WHEN PICKING NEW US BISHOPS, FRANCIS SHOULDN'T HESITATE TO RUFFLE FEATHERS
Pope should fill diocese vacancies with pastors who are committed to him.
WOMEN IN THE CHURCH: WHAT HAS BEEN IS NOT WHAT NEED BE
Can you say where in the Gospels Jesus institutes the presbyterate (priesthood) and the deaconate? Hint: nowhere.
THE PROBLEM OF CLERICALISM MAKES TRANSPARENCY IMPOSSIBLE
It is the system in which only priest clerics judge clerics, only priest clerics wield authority, and only priest clerics promote clerics to higher offices.
DIASPORA AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
How an essay by Karl Rahner 65 years ago predicted the state of today's Church and offers a path forward.
ARE YOU WEAK ENOUGH TO BE A PRIEST?
A beautiful essay by Michael Buckley SJ, about the vocation to the priesthood that is widely used in priestly and diaconate formation around the U.S.
TACKLE CLERICALISM FIRST WHEN ATTEMPTING PRIESTHOOD REFORM
Clericalism is so deeply engrained in our structures and way of thinking that we almost can't imagine how things could be otherwise.
SHOULD WE BE CALLING PRIESTS 'FATHER'?
It is time for the dangers inherent in the use of ‘father’ as a form of address to be taken seriously.
CONFRONTING THE SYSTEMIC DYSFUNCTION OF CLERICALISM
Produced by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests in collaboration with Voice of the Faithful and lay people and clergy across the nation...
SEVEN STEPS TOWARDS ENDING CLERICALISM
A few steps that ought to be taken to make the ideal of the community of Christian communities concrete..
MARRIED PRIESTHOOD, CELIBACY, AND THE AMAZON SYNOD: AN EASTERN CATHOLIC PRIEST’S PERSPECTIVE
The dichotomy is not between marriage and priesthood but between marriage and monasticism.
WHY PEOPLE HATE RELIGION
The charlatans and phonies preen and punish, while those of real faith do Christ’s work among refugees.
POPE’S NEW CARDINALS REFLECT HIS VISION FOR A CHURCH OF DIALOGUE
A priority for dialog with other religions, concern for migrants and a field hospital Church...
CATHOLIC GOVERNANCE: A CHALLENGE FOR IMPROVEMENT
The governance of the Church is still locked into its monarchical past
WHEN PRIEST WEDS NUN
Stories about the weddings of priests and nuns were usually presented as singular curiosities, but in hindsight...
REFORMING THE CHURCH WITH 'NO POSSIBILITY OF RETURN'
How Pope Francis is initiating processes of Church reform that will be hard to undo.
WHY DO SOME CATHOLICS OPPOSE POPE FRANCIS?
It is neither unusual nor surprising to encounter discord and opposition in the Catholic Church.
CONFRONTING CAUSES OF CLERICALISM: ORIGINAL SIN, INSTITUTIONAL DYNAMICS
Clericalism is a real thing, not a myth or mirage. It is a sense of elitism and superiority among the clergy that sets them apart.
BEYOND THE US, THE TOP FIVE COUNTRIES FOR BEEFS WITH THE POPE
Francis hardly is the first pope to generate controversy, so the mere fact of blowback is both inevitable and non-probative.
GOOD-NEWS, BAD-NEWS FOR AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS
Results from the latest Pew Research survey on how much trust Americans have in those holding positions of power and responsibility.
HUMANIZED FRANCIS SPEAKS AS A LEADER WHOSE MOVEMENT IS FALLING APART
Francis' blunt assertions about his opponents during his return to Rome from Africa suggest that he in particular is under worrisome stress.
WOMEN WALKING TOGETHER, AWAY FROM THE CHURCH
The Vatican released the participants' list for the upcoming Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region the other day. All 185 synod votes belong to men.
POPE JOHN XXIII: A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
Pope John opened the dialogue that led to a renewed church that could minister effectively in the 21st century.
THE DECOLONIAL AND INTERCULTURAL HOPES OF THE PAN-AMAZON SYNOD
A disproportionate amount of attention has been given to proposals outlined in merely one paragraph (129) in a document that is 147 paragraphs long.
OPENING AMAZON SYNOD, FRANCIS WARNS AGAINST BEING 'SMOTHERED BY ASHES' DEFENDING STATUS QUO
The pontiff said that while Catholic prelates are called to be prudent, they are also called to be open to the possibility of new things.
FRANCIS, CARDINALS URGE AMAZON SYNOD TO CONSIDER NEW IDEAS
Openness to new ways of thinking emerged as the primary theme of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops for the Amazon region on its first day of business.
POSSIBILITY OF WOMEN DEACONS PROPOSED ON DAY THREE OF THE AMAZON SYNOD
Most bishops who lead dioceses in the Amazon support the ordination of married men of proven virtue, or viri probati, as a way of addressing the lack of priests in the region.
POPE'S PATH TO ALLOW MARRIED PRIESTS FOR AMAZON STRAIGHTFORWARD
The way forward is relatively easy, as celibacy is only a practice of the church and not a revealed dogma.
WHY THERE WON’T BE AN AMERICAN SCHISM
Genuine schisms have been few and far between, and none is brewing in American Catholicism now.
THE REALITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE MARRIED PRIESTHOOD: AN EASTERN CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE
Seven points of caution for those who support or hope for possible alterations to the requirement of clerical celibacy in the Latin Church.
JOHN XXIII AND THE AMAZON SYNOD
The synod gathering in Rome is the latest fruit of the Good Pope's still-unfolding reform.
GERMAN BISHOP OPPOSES EVANGELIZATION AS A BATTLE CRY AGAINST REFORM
Gulf between proclamation of the Gospel and the reality of people's daily lives has now become so wide that it's almost impossible to talk about the Christian faith.
SEMINARIES AND FORMATION: ONE PRIEST’S PERSPECTIVE AND SUGGESTION
Carrying out the formation of priests in a monastic setting might seem counterintuitive. However, it is less so than it seems.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS BACK ORDINATION OF MARRIED MEN AS PRIESTS IN AMAZON REGION
It was the first time a summit of bishops convened by a pope has endorsed such a historic change to the tradition of a celibate priesthood. The final decision will be up to the pope.
UPCOMING BISHOPS' MEETING REFLECTS CURRENT STATE OF U.S. CHURCH
The meeting is traditional, but no one knows what to expect; it will largely be ignored by mainstream society, and it is difficult to feel much confidence in the current leadership.
THE U.S. BISHOPS TRAVEL TO ROME
The bond between Rome and local churches around the world has always been crucial to the Catholic Church’s understanding of itself as universal.
AS SYNOD CLOSES WITH CALL FOR "CREATIVITY," THE POPE'S PLEDGE: "I WILL PICK UP THE GAUNTLET"
The Pope slipped another stealth "bomb" into the talk, revealing his thought that the assembly's next edition might just focus on "synodality" itself.
WHAT THE AMAZON SYNOD DECIDED & WHAT IT REVEALED
Perhaps ecclesiologists will say it was the moment that the great unresolved issue of Vatican II—whether the local or the universal should take precedence—finally settled on a proper balance.
THE SYNOD FOR THE AMAZON: A FRESCO FOR OUR ‘COMMON HOME'
A large fresco where tudo está interligado, everything is connected, as some members of the synod sometimes sang – and not just said – within the chamber.
HOW US CHURCH TRIED AND FAILED TO GET ABUSE PLAN PAST ROME
The attempt to carry out an ecclesiastical power play against the Pope... was a quick-fix solution attempting to shore up the US bishops’ reputations. Even more shocking was [the plan] to deliberately exclude Rome from the design of the proposal.
GENUINE DIALOGUE TAKES CHURCH INTO UNSCRIPTED TERRITORY
The no-holds-barred conversation that Pope Francis has introduced in the synod process requires trust and, while stirring up opposition, also raises expectations.
CLEARER VATICAN II VISION
The church exists for the sake of the Gospel, not itself - the ideas of development and change predominate the insights in a hefty new book by Australian theologian Ormond Rush.
USCCB FALL ASSEMBLY 2019
From the National Catholic Reporter, all covearage detailing the 2019 Fall meeting of the U.S. Bishops, whose agenda reflects the current state of the Church in the U.S.
FRANCIS: THE POPE WE NEED
The Radical Traditionalists and Francis Derangement Syndrome. Of all the things Pope Francis has done, this emphasis on mercy had most enraged his opposition.
ANALYSIS: THE USCCB ‘ABORTION DEBATE,’ AND WHAT CAME AFTER
In the social media era, bishops can feed the polarization and nastiness of hot-take culture, even inadvertently.
WHAT INFLUENCE DOES RELIGION HAVE ON AMERICANS' LIVES?
A new Pew Research Center survey issued Nov. 15 gauges the influence religion has on Americans' lives and the hold Catholicism and other Christian religions has on their adherents.
EVANGELIZATION IS FIRST PRIORITY FOR US BISHOP
In an interview with Vatican News, the newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) talks about priorities for the Church in America...
THE PARADOX OF PLURALISM
What do we mean by ‘religion’? What makes a 'religion' distinctive from a 'way of life," or from a collection of cultural practices?
THE FAILED LEADERSHIP OF U.S. BISHOPS IS CLEAR
It doesn't take an ecclesiologist to arrive at that conclusion about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after witnessing its dysfunction during the group's recent meeting in Baltimore.
ADRIFT & ALONE
What’s a “synod”? The USCCB doesn’t seem to know, and doesn’t seem to care, writes Massimo Faggioli. The Bishops Meet, and Miss the Point
GERMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH DEBATES SEXUALITY, CELIBACY AND WOMEN’S ROLES
The German church is one of the most powerful regions of the Catholic world, a player whose wealth and theological influence are now creating a challenge for the entire church.
THE CHURCH NEEDS A LUNG TRANSPLANT
Perhaps, thanks to Pope Francis, the surgery has begun with the recent Amazon synod
IMPATIENT FOR REFORM OR WAITING OUT THE POPE?
The majority of both his supporters and detractors can agree on one thing: it's been a sufficient amount a time – to do something positive or to wreck everything.
GOODBYE, CLIMBERS! WE NEED TO RESTORE SERVANT LEADERSHIP IN THE PRIESTHOOD
Time for real reform. Francis says he wants a poorer church for the poor. Let's get started. One thing is clear, ambition for wealth and power are not part of that church.
CARDINAL LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE: THE POPE'S MVP
The 62-year-old Archbishop of Manila is soon to take charge of one the most important and powerful offices at the Vatican... and may be the most significant personnel move of Francis' pontificate.
FRANCIS IS DRAGGING THE CHURCH, KICKING AND SCREAMING, INTO… THE 20TH CENTURY
The pope's reforms are seen as too modest by some, but too radical by others
COMMUNION IN THE AMERICAN CHURCH 'IS ALREADY FRACTURED'
Pope Francis says he is not 'afraid of schisms' — Massimo Faggioli thinks the prospect of a crack is very real
2019: THE YEAR IN REVIEW WITH POPE FRANCIS
As 2019 draws to a close, we look back at the events, encounters, discourses and journeys that have marked this year for Pope Francis.
FOR U.S. CHURCH, A YEAR OF ABUSE FALLOUT, NEW LEADERS, AND UNSUNG HEROES
Leaders tried to turn a corner on one of the bleakest periods in modern American Church history while also acknowledging the pain and suffering caused by the Church’s failings.
DANGEROUS DISCONNECTS
Priestly formation and academic theology are increasingly cut off from the real lives of Catholics. That poses a problem, one that theologians must address.
VULNERABILITY AS STRENGTH
"Is the God we worship vulnerable?" If that is the case, and Jesuit Fr. James Keenan believes so, then he asks: "Why couldn't we develop an ecclesiology based on the risk-taking vulnerability of God?"
POPE FRANCIS BEGINS THE MOST CRUCIAL YEAR OF HIS PONTIFICATE
When the history of Pope Francis' time as Bishop of Rome is finally written, there is a good chance that 2020 will be recorded as the most important...
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BEGINS ITS OWN ROARING TWENTIES
The increasing influence of social media in crafting narratives about the Catholic Church is part of the depersonalization of the religious identity.
BENEDICT OPENLY DEFENDS CLERICAL CELIBACY AS FRANCIS CONSIDERS MARRIED PRIESTS
Never before in the history of the Church: a retired pope openly weighing in on something currently under consideration by his successor, the reigning pontiff.
BENEDICT REMOVES NAME FROM BOOK ON CELIBACY AFTER DISPUTE OVER HIS INVOLVEMENT
The saga over the book on celibacy "shows that the cardinals themselves are still learning how to work with the office of the 'pope emeritus.'
THE MYTH OF THE SELF-REGULATING INSTITUTION OF 'POPE EMERITUS'
The issue, objectively, is the freedom of the bishop of Rome in his ministry, a ministry of unity of the church, free from undue interference external or internal.
THE UNCONTROLLABLE CONSEQUENCES OF A BROKEN PROMISE
How Benedict XVI found himself embroiled in controversy over a book on celibacy
YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE. REALLY?
It's hard to find certainty when our social climate is like living in a political fun house, says Sr. Joan Chittister 011920_truth.jpg
WHY THE EMERITUS PAPACY MUST BE REFORMED
The way Benedict’s entourage has at times used him and his writings to undermine Francis is a scandal and a disgrace.
GERMAN SYNODAL ASSEMBLY COULD REBUILD CHURCH CREDIBILITY
The synodal path will be judged by the extent to which divergent views will be allowed to be heard.
UNDERSTANDING THE DEBATE ABOUT CELIBACY
The Church's long-standing discipline of celibacy, it is useful to remember, is the priestly commitment not to marry, following the practice of Jesus and mandated for at least a thousand years in the Western Church.
WHEN ROME FALLS...
More signs that there's no stopping the Catholic Church's long, slow implosion
BENEDICT’S ESTRANGEMENT FROM RATZINGER
The truly unfortunate thing about all of this is that Ratzinger was one of the most important theologians of Vatican II. Massimo Faggioli on how Benedict has estranged himself from his own legacy.
THEOLOGICAL DRIFT
Despite the pivotal role he played in Vatican II, Benedict XVI has spent the rest of his career, particularly his emeritus papacy, distancing himself from it.
POPE FRANCIS REMAKES THE AMERICAN HIERARCHY, ONE BISHOP AT A TIME
Fr. Tom Reese analyzes the direction such appointments are taking the church.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PAPAL DIPLOMACY
The Holy See seems to be one of the few global actors that remembers the dark lessons of the last century’s nationalist and authoritarian catastrophes.
A WAY OUT OF THE US BISHOPS' TIGHT IDEOLOGICAL AND PARTISAN CORNER
If the Catholic hierarchy is ever to regain authority within the community, it will have to begin communicating as Bishop Robert McElroy and Cardinal Blase Cupich have...
POPE FRANCIS REJECTS PROPOSAL TO ALLOW MARRIED PRIESTS IN REMOTE AREAS
The decision is a victory for conservative forces who had warned that the change would be a slippery slope to the thrashing of church traditions.
POPE FRANCIS DISCERNS 'THIRD WAY' FOR THE AMAZON
For the Pope, the key challenge was to open up to new thinking in order to implement the vision of Laudato Si’.
WITH A BIG ‘NO’ TO MARRIED PRIESTS, POPE FRANCIS SHOWS THAT, YES, HE’S STILL CATHOLIC
Now many are wondering if his choice to close the door firmly was simply in the interest of keeping the church together...
"QUERIDA AMAZONIA": COMMENTARY ON POPE FRANCIS' APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
Splendor, drama, mystery: with these three words Francis offers to the people of God and all persons of goodwill his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia.
POPE’S TOP AIDES SAY DOOR STILL OPEN ON MARRIED PRIESTS, WOMEN DEACONS
Pope Francis appears to leave the question of married priests open-ended, giving neither a clear yes or no.
FATHER JOSH: A MARRIED CATHOLIC PRIEST IN A CELIBATE WORLD
In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy have flared from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is that rarest of things: A married Catholic priest.
PIUS XII FACES MOMENT OF TRUTH AS OPENING OF VATICAN ARCHIVES NEARS
For years controversy surrounding the figure of Pope Pius XII has been a sore point for the Holy See, but the Vatican will be seeking to set the record straight...
REFORMERS' IDEAS GAIN MOMENTUM IN GERMAN SYNODAL WAY
Amid a shrinking Catholic Church in Germany, participants in the first session of synodal way meetings brought up questions about sexual morality, the ordination of women, and compulsory celibacy.
'NOTHING' BISHOP GETS FRANK ON MARRIED PRIESTS, VATICAN UNDER FRANCIS
Bishop John Michael Botean, who leads the Eparchy of St. George's, RCD Canton, Ohio, the Romanian Greek Catholic Church's only diocese abroad, spoke with unusual candor in a Feb. 18 interview.
'QUERIDA AMAZONIA' HAS FLAWS OF OMISSION BUT GIVES US PLENTY TO ACT ON
Compared to what went before, though, we prefer the new pathway that Pope Francis has opened.
A MODEST PROPOSAL: SPREAD THE PRIESTHOOD BY ELIMINATING CLERGY
Years ago, Andrew Greeley proposed a solution to the priest shortage: the "Priest Corps." It could be initiated immediately, and it could lead to a permanent change in church leadership.
HOW POPE FRANCIS OUTFLANKS HIS FOES
What we see is Francis moving to enact something more profound than a shift in understanding doctrine: a transformation of the Church’s power dynamics.
LEADERSHIP ROUNDTABLE BRINGS A DOSE OF REALITY TO THE CHURCH
No one, not even the papal representative, voiced a public objection to the prevailing motivation for the gathering: the church is in crisis and needs help.
A REVIEW ON THE VISION OF POPE FRANCIS
The pontificate of Pope Francis has its heart in the discernment. Many people believe that the Pope has all the clear, distinct ideas, and they wonder where he wants to take the Church.
POPE CHOOSES 'SYNODALITY' AS THEME FOR 2022 SYNOD
"Synodality," which literally means "walking together," has become a key topic of Francis' pontificate, but one which has raised questions and even confusion.
FRANCIS CREATES NEW WOMEN DEACONS COMMISSION, NAMING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MEMBERSHIP
The question of the ordination of women as deacons has emerged as something of an ideological battleground for the Catholic Church in recent years.
CLERICALISM AND THE PANDEMIC
It is always God who acts in and through sacramental encounter, the ordained serving as instruments to gather the Church together for the purpose of encountering God’s activity. Anything else serves only to limit our vital experience of God’s forgiveness, mercy, and love.
PAPACIES IN LOCKDOWN
Crises like these tend to have an effect on popes as human beings, and on the papacy as institution. We can already see it beginning to happen.
IS THE FRANCIS PONTIFICATE IN CRISIS?
Michael Sean Winters responds to Massimo Faggioli's two-part critique of Pope Francis at La Croix.
THE END OF CLERICALISM
As the human race joins the rest of the planet in a struggle for survival, the church is also trying to find its footing. Why? Clericalism.
THE US CHURCH IS GOING BROKE. HERE’S WHY, AND WHAT IT COULD MEAN
While some acute effects of the pandemic will shape the Church in the months to come, the collapsing global economy will have a far more enduring and dramatic impact on parishes, chanceries, and other Catholic ministries.
SOONER OR LATER, POPE FRANCIS WILL HAVE TO FACE THE PERPLEXITIES OF REFORM
Francis was elected on a reform mandate, and from his own rhetoric it’s clear how much he abhors corruption. Right now, however, many observers would say the ...curve doesn’t appear to be flattening.
PASCAL & THE MAGISTERIUM
Paul Griffiths on how Pascal's tussle with the magisterium in his day can teach us how to be a critical Catholic today.
‘DON’T UNDER-ESTIMATE OPPOSITION TO FRANCIS’
Thanks to their power and influence the opponents have created an impression that many agree with their stance. But the truth is that [most Catholics] are with Francis. Those opposing Francis have influence in Rome, and what is going on is “a struggle for the soul of Catholicism.”
COULD PRE-EXISTING DIVISIONS HAMPER CATHOLIC RECOVERY FROM PANDEMIC?
After two months of being told that physical attendance at Mass isn’t strictly necessary, will people go back to Church?
A TELLING SPELL OF CATHOLIC 'LEADERSHIP'
Crisis reveals and clarifies. At a time when Catholic bishops, public intellectuals, and editors need to speak and act with moral clarity more than ever, the past month has seen such leaders doing the opposite.
CARDINAL CUPICH: HOW VATICAN II CAN HELP US NAVIGATE THE POLITICS OF A PANDEMIC
The penetrating vision of the Second Vatican Council... provides an unparalleled orientation, identifying a clear pathway of public engagement, conscience formation and authentic witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
PARISHES FACE NEW CHALLENGES AS MILLENNIALS AVOID MARRIAGE, FAMILY LIFE
As millennials are approaching age 40, their family life radically differs from past generations, a reality that Catholic leaders and scholars say present particular challenges for passing on the faith and for building Catholic community.
IMAGINING THE CHURCH OF TOMORROW
In a rapidly changing world, the Church needs to leave the beaten path. Pope Francis invites us to do this by calling for a Church that "goes out of itself". The future of Catholicism depends on synod-like dialogue between clergy and laity.
PRIESTS, PARISHES SHARE VIGANÒ'S LETTER TO TRUMP
Catholic observers worry about a normalizing effect when parish priests promote radicalized individuals such as Viganò to everyday Catholics in the pews who are unattuned to inside church baseball.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE IS FIDELITY IN NEWNESS
Certain critiques of the current pontificate challenge the Second Vatican Council and end up forgetting the Magisterium of Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
SAY WHAT YOU WILL ABOUT THE VATICAN, THERE’S NO DENYING ITS SENSE OF DRAMA
If we’re going to moan about the Vatican we also need to acknowledge its strengths, and high on that list has to be its remarkable sense of drama.
COVID-19 & THE CLERICAL CHURCH
For all the supposed fragility of the Church’s institutional system, its persistence is undiminished. It remains, and likely will remain, highly clerical. . Our experience with the ecclesial system over the last few months has shown us the difference between dreams and reality.
WE NEED BISHOPS WHO WILL CHALLENGE THE RICH AND POWERFUL
The reasons for the alliance between church leaders and the rich and influential may vary, but one stands out: The bishops need the money and political influence of these wealthy and powerful individuals because of the way the institutional church is structured.
VATICAN COUNCIL II: A SEED THAT CONTINUES TO GROW
This year December 8 will mark the 55th anniversary of the end of the Second Vatican Council. It is an important moment in this period since a new debate has been provoked in the ecclesial community...
THE PROBLEMS WITH PAPAL POLITICKING
The church's next conclave is not this November's presidential election - a look at the politicking within Cardinal Timothy Dolan's apparent meddling in the process of selecting a papal successor.
AT THE HALFWAY POINT OF 2020, IS THE YEAR ALREADY OVER FOR THE VATICAN?
Until further notice there will be few tourists, cancelled meetings and no papal travel. After so many months of lockdown, and then piecemeal re-opening, there is a feeling of weariness and fatigue at the Vatican. And there's a sense of uncertainty about the future.
OUR INSIDE-OUT BISHOPS NEED TO LOOK OUTWARD AGAIN
The immediate past has been characterized by an inward focus in which the concerns of the sacristan have trumped the demands of the Gospel. The successors of the apostles, the bishops, should follow the pope's lead and begin to look outward again.
IT'S TIME TO END MALE SUPREMACY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In recent years we have witnessed the Vatican engage in disingenuous attempts to find an acceptable "role" for women in the church, believing that a few cosmetic changes might convince women to stop agitating for equality.
MAINSTREAMING WOMEN'S MINISTRIES
A Survey of Young Catholic Women in Formation and Ministry in the United States - The results of a new survey of Catholic women ages 21-40 who have earned or are pursuing a higher degree in ministry or related studies.
THE PASTORAL CONVERSION OF THE PARISH COMMUNITY - ABOUT THE EVANGELIZING MISSION OF THE CHURCH
Given that the Church is mandated by Christ to be missionary, evangelizing and outward looking, a reform of her structures is continuously required in order to respond to the challenges of the day.
WHEN ROME FALLS… MORE SIGNS THAT THERE'S NO STOPPING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S LONG, SLOW IMPLOSION
Francis does not seem at all alarmed by this collapse. He knows it must happen so that the Church can be re-born. It must walk the journey of dying and rising.
TODAY’S LESSON FROM ROME IS ABOUT PERSPECTIVE AND PATIENCE
People who today seem enemies may later become friends; disputes that now seem intractable may dissolve; and ideas that seem anathema may come to be not only acceptable but eminently “orthodox.”
WAS VATICAN II REALLY THE “SEED OF ERROR”? OR WAS IT “A TRUTH ONLY HALF RECEIVED?”
Is the ‘seed’ in question rather the lopsided choice of theologians to develop one strand of conciliar teaching at the expense of occluding others?”
POPE FRANCIS’ CRITICS ARE DIVIDING THE CHURCH AND FAMILIES
Certainly, there are difficult disagreements to resolve, and not every division will be healed on this side of heaven. But we cannot lose sight of who we are as Catholic Christians.
THE MINDSET THAT SEPARATES "THE PEOPLE" FROM "THE CLERGY"
We desperately need a different paradigm and a different code of law based on that paradigm to help the church become, at all levels, what is clearly the call of the present situation to become "missionary disciples" in the world today.
GERMAN-SPEAKING BISHOPS CRITICISE VATICAN PARISH INSTRUCTION
Critics note that women are giving up parish work, seminaries are empty and there is now a deep rift between the German Church and Rome.
CATHOLICS AND CANCEL CULTURE
A truly ecclesial culture must also allow room for mistakes, incorrect answers & a gradual growth in understanding – by all sides. This means practicing of the fundamental virtues of forgiveness, mercy and charity.
TIME TO BURY THE CLERGY-CENTERED CHURCH
What's the greatest threat to the Roman Catholic Church today – a schism? Or the rise in power of fundamentalist clericalists? José María Castillo, himself a priest, believes it's the latter.
LET'S USE THE TITLE 'CO-WORKER' FOR LAYPEOPLE IN PARISH LEADERSHIP
Instead of reinforcing the male-celibate-priest-centric approach as the document did, the church should take a cue from St. Paul.
THE HERESY OF OVERSIMPLIFIED CHRISTIANITY
The problem is that too many people refashion Christianity — its doctrinal teachings and moral guidance — into an idol of their own making in order to grasp a misguidedly simple and falsely clear message.
AFTER COVID-19
The way we've done things is not the way we will revive them. We just have to start again. The register of Church life needs to resume as interactive and conversational rather than as the didactic and directive.
YVES CONGAR AND THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH IN ITS PAST
The Church is responsible for relaying Christ by making him present to men and women of all times. To carry out this mandate efficiently, it must indeed remain faithful to what it was but also to what it needs to be for the people of today and tomorrow.
POPE FRANCIS WARNS AGAINST 'SICK', CLOSED-IN CHURCH
“The Church must be like God: always outgoing; and when the Church is not going out, she falls ill with so many evils that we have in the Church. And why these diseases in the Church? Because it is not out.”
WHAT THEY DON'T TEACH YOU IN CATHOLIC COLLEGE: WOMEN IN THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE MIND OF CHRIST
If the Catholic Church continues to ignore insights from Scripture, reason and experience in favor of tradition, John Wijngaards argues, it perpetuates a cultural prejudice that has held back millions of women.
CATHOLIC CHURCH MUST REJECT ITS ANTI-BLACK MISOGYNY
There is an abyss in our church, and it is because the bishops, collectively, and other leaders in the church are not listening to the true needs and desires of marginalized communities.
CLERGY SHORTAGE GROWS TO MORE THAN 3K CATHOLICS FOR EVERY PRIEST, VATICAN DATA SHOWS
The reasons for the steady hemorrhage of Catholic clergy worldwide are varied, from secularization to the church's ongoing sexual and financial scandals. And the COVID-19 pandemic has brought its own challenges.
POPE FRANCIS NAMES WASHINGTON ARCHBISHOP WILTON GREGORY FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN CARDINAL
Gregory, 72, is one of 13 cardinals in the new class announced by Francis on Sunday, a promotion that comes as he is trying to rebuild trust in an archdiocese rocked by sexual abuse cases.
DEFENDING MARRIAGE IS NOT ENOUGH
What matters is that Francis has said what he thinks on the issue, which is the fruit of a longstanding discernment. As usual, it is hard for many to swallow. Austen Ivereigh: On civil unions, Pope Francis is calling on Catholics to ask the uncomfortable questions.
COUNTING CARDINALS: CONGREGATIONS, CONTINENTS REPRESENTED INCREASE
Those who will receive their red hats come from eight countries, including Brunei and Rwanda, which have never had cardinals before. They will bring the total number of cardinals to 231 from 91 countries.
CORRUPTION IN THE CHURCH MUST BE STAMPED OUT CONTINUALLY, POPE SAYS
While it is uncertain whether his efforts to weed out corruption and lead the church will bear fruit, Pope Francis said that he knows he must do it and that "I have been called to do it."
GERMAN BISHOPS INVITED TO ROME WITHOUT LAITY
When The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of Evangelisation was released in July, it was harshly criticised by a number of leading German bishops and theologians.
COULD FRANCIS, BIDEN FIND EACH OTHER LIKE JOHN PAUL II AND REAGAN?
As the dust begins to settle from the tumultuous 2020 presidential election in America, it’s possible that outside of Joe Biden’s campaign team, no group will emerge as bigger fans of the mail-in ballot than Pope Francis and his allies in the Vatican.
'EITHER THE CHURCH IS GOING TO CHANGE, OR IT'S GOING TO DIE'
After the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis, female theologians are calling for changes to leadership. The lack of women in leadership roles is a point of contention for many theologians — not just for equity reasons.
POPE FRANCIS’ STRENGTH IS IN SURPRISES
We have a pope who is hard to pin down. We should be prepared to be surprised. That is, though, a constant teaching of the church that can be traced to its very beginning.
USCCB PLENARY FOCUSES ON COVID-19, RACISM, AND CLERICAL ABUSE
The US Bishops’ Fall Meeting centred on pastoral responses to Covid-19 and racism, as well as sexual abuse by clergy.
OUR FEUDAL CHURCH MUST REFORM
The immense good done in the name of the Gospel by many in the Church is being systematically undermined by clericalism, ideological division, unelected leadership, bad management, and a willingness to turn a blind eye to vice.
A RESET WITH ROME, BUT NOT AT HOME
Massimo Faggioli compares the Vatican’s reaction to a Biden presidency to that of the U.S. bishops. The Vatican may welcome the normalcy of a Biden presidency, but the reaction of U.S. bishops highlights the partisan divide in the Catholic Church.
POPE TELLS 13 NEW CARDINALS THAT RED HAT IS NOT A CAREER ADVANCEMENT
Pope Francis created 13 new cardinals Saturday, including nine cardinals eligible to vote for the next pope and the first African-American cardinal in the history of the United States, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C.
THE IMPLOSION OF CLERICALISM DRAMATIZED IN LEONARD BERNSTEIN'S 'MASS'
Perhaps the deepest learning from clerical implosion is that God's love is bigger than any sin we can commit, any sin our church leaders can commit, and yes, even bigger than the evil entrenched in our church's hierarchical system.
CLERICALISM — VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE
Many Catholics are not simply shocked at the affront given by those who appear not to recognize their own responsibility. They are also bewildered that men who are supposedly dedicated to the Gospel cannot see that their behavior is undermining the credibility of the whole Church.
SORTING THE CHURCH INTO ‘RIGHT VS. LEFT, PROGRESSIVE VS. TRADITIONALIST’ BETRAYS ITS TRUE NATURE
Blaming one another for the fragility of the Catholic Church and the errors of its members increases conflict, which diminishes the church's ability to share the Gospel and increases opportunities for the devil to work, Pope Francis told members of the Roman Curia.
VATICAN REFORM: BIG WINGS HAVE BEEN CLIPPED, BUT WILL THEY GROW BACK?
For Pope Francis to achieve the synodality he has spent his pontificate promoting, he will need to let go of some of the power centred at the Vatican, and splitting the Secretary of State would be a good start.
POPE TO BIDEN: FOSTER PEACE AND RECONCILIATION IN THE US AND THE WORLD
Pope Francis sends a message to President Joe Biden, urging him to be a bringer of peace and reconciliation to the United States and to the whole world.
IN RARE REBUKE, CARDINAL CUPICH CRITICIZES USCCB PRESIDENT’S LETTER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN
Cardinal Cupich joined with an unnamed senior Vatican official in taking issue with a stinging statement released earlier from the president of the bishops’ conference aimed at President Joe Biden’s views on abortion.
BISHOPS THROW COLD WATER ON THE MOST CATHOLIC INAUGURATION IN HISTORY
President Joe Biden's inaugural address was a better articulation of Catholic ideas about governance than any recent document from the U.S. Bishops' Conference.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS SPLIT ON HOW TO DEAL WITH BIDEN
A large number of American bishops want to chew gum and walk at the same time. They prefer to support the administration on issues where they agree and oppose it where they disagree.
“BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF AMERICA”
The tensions between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the president, and between the US bishops’ conference and the papacy of Francis have risen to unprecedented levels in the first two weeks of the Biden presidency...
U.S. BISHOPS COULD LEARN A LOT FROM ST. ÓSCAR ROMERO
Perhaps if more bishops were like Romero ...and more connected to the people entrusted to their pastoral care, they too might be "prophetic bishops that speak to their people." Instead, at least collectively, their relevance continues to decline.
ADRIFT & ALONE - THE BISHOPS MEET, AND MISS THE POINT
In spite of occasionally sincere, sometimes ritualistic, expressions of communion with Rome, the effort to neuter Pope Francis’s message in the United States continues.
AMERICA’S COMING SCHISM?
Can the bishops unite a Church that is increasingly addicted to its own polarisation, when they themselves are responsible for the bitter divisions between American Catholics?
PRIESTHOOD AND REVOLUTION
The Church is not first of all a community; it is first of all a movement within the community of mankind. (Reprinted from Commonweal Magazine, September 1, 1968)
ANONYMOUS BISHOPS TAKE POTSHOTS AT POPE
Journalists who cover the Catholic Church face a hurdle in that most of the important decisions are made in secret. A journalist's job is to find ways to peek behind the curtain and explain what is going on and why.
SEEING POPE FRANCIS IN THE ARGENTINE PRIEST MADE A CARDINAL 20 YEARS AGO
Anyone even remotely familiar with Francis’ pro-life vision should be able to see the foundation here, particularly as it appeared in his triumphant encyclical, Laudato Si’.
ENEDICT XVI SHUTS DOWN ‘FANATICS,’ SAYING FRANCIS IS THE ONLY POPE
Dismissing conspiratorial rumors about his resignation, Benedict admitted that while 'it was a difficult decision,' he still believes it to have been the right thing.
THE REMAINS OF VATICAN II
It’s true that opposition to Pope Francis is rooted in opposition to Vatican II. It’s also true that the range of positions regarding Francis and Vatican II in the U.S. helps us understand how the council’s documents may not be able to serve the Church today.
POPE FRANCIS MAKES HISTORY BY MEETING AYATOLLAH AL-SISTANI, SPIRITUAL LEADER OF IRAQI SHIA MUSLIMS
Pope Francis makes history by meeting Ayatollah al-Sistani, spiritual leader of Iraqi Shia Muslims
FRANCIS TELLS IRAQI FAITH LEADERS: VIOLENCE IN NAME OF RELIGION 'GREATEST BLASPHEMY'
Invoking the shared origins of Christians, Muslims and Jews, Pope Francis March 6 called on Iraq's religious leaders to help the country heal and rebuild following decades of violence.
FRANCIS IN IRAQ ARGUABLY THE MOST EMBLEMATIC PAPAL TRIP OF ALL TIME
No matter how much longer he remains in office, and despite... whatever is yet to come, there will be no better synthesis of who Francis is and what he’s about as pope.
COMMITTING TO THE POPE'S MESSAGE OF FRATERNITY AND PEACE IN IRAQ
As Pope Francis brings his message of solidarity and fraternity to Iraq, several organizations working in the country have taken up his call, committing themselves to working to promote peace and rebirth in the nation.
WITH IRAQI CHRISTIANS, POPE EXTOLS WOMEN BRUTALIZED BY ISIS
Surrounded by the relics of violence, war and terrorism, Pope Francis Sunday told the Christian community of Iraq that they’re proof in flesh and blood of the victory of life over death.
THE SYMBOLIC POWER OF THE PAPAL VISIT TO IRAQ
The religious, cultural and ethnic diversity that has been a hallmark of Iraqi society for millennia is a precious resource on which to draw, not an obstacle to be eliminated.
HOW CATHOLICISM BECAME A BREEDING GROUND FOR CONSPIRACY THEORIES
A perfect storm of institutional crises, the polarization of perceived winners and losers and an influx of evangelicals has made Catholicism fertile ground for conspiracy theories.
THE POPE HAS LEFT IRAQ. IS THAT IT?
Now that it's over, did it mean anything? What promises did he make? What impact, if any, will this papal visit have on the suffering Church in Iraq going forward?
POPE FRANCIS IS THE GUARDIAN ANGEL OF THE FAITHFUL'S AMBIVALENCE
Pope Francis is a creative presence who responds to people with mixed loyalties, with priorities that don't quite fit together, and can project support for all those needing to see their ambivalence and accept it.
'HIJACKING' RELIGION
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, head of the Vatican's evangelisation congregation, has expressed concern over the “hijacking” of religion by populist leaders who sow division and exploit the anger of those who feel excluded.
EIGHT YEARS WITH POPE FRANCIS: THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL FOR THE WHOLE WORLD
On the 8th anniversary of his election to the papacy, Vatican News reviews the many initiatives and reforms to engage all Christians in a new missionary impetus, bringing the love of Jesus to all humanity.
AT HIS EIGHT-YEAR MARK, WILL FRANCIS TRY TURNING DOWN THE TEMPERATURE?
Seemingly reinvigorated by the Coronavirus crisis, Francis still has an ambitious agenda for the Church and the world, but is negative polarization getting in his way?
IRISH BISHOPS ANNOUNCE ‘SYNODAL PATHWAY’ DURING ‘PIVOTAL TIME’
Ireland’s Catholic bishops have announced they will embark on a “synodal pathway” for the Church and hold a National Synodal Assembly within the next five years.
THE PERSPICUITY OF TRADITION
Francis’s papacy has sparked a fierce debate about the ability of the Magisterium to authoritatively interpret Tradition. Sadly, arguments about this matter typically end in a deadlock with the papal critics.
POLL: U.S. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP FALLS BELOW 50% FOR THE FIRST TIME
Ask Americans if they believe in God and most will say yes. But a growing number have lost faith in organized religion.
TOO MANY CATHOLICS DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT SOME CHURCH TEACHINGS CAN ACTUALLY CHANGE
Three days after the preacher of the papal household called on Catholics to repent for the ways they are dividing the church, the Vatican secretary of state said the divisions are real and they are harmful.
THE COLOUR OF MONEY: CAN POPE FRANCIS CURTAIL THE WEALTH OF THE CARDINALS?
oday’s cardinals may find a way around the pope’s cost-cutting measures, just as earlier cardinals did for Francis’s predecessors.
BAPTISM AND VOCATIONS: VATICAN TO HOLD SYMPOSIUM ON THEOLOGY OF PRIESTHOOD
The Holy See announces a Symposium on the theology of priesthood, which will seek to explore the relationship between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of all the baptized.
WEALTHY CONSERVATIVE CATHOLICS ARE THE NEW US MAGISTERIUM
A wealthy network that puts forth a peculiarly American version of Catholicism has far more influence than U.S. bishops have in shaping the image of the church in the wider culture.
CAN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AGREE TO CHANGE ANYTHING?
Change or no change? The "no-change" folks have a lot of clerical support. Some "change" folks continue to speak, but many simply walk away.
THE FAILINGS AND THE SURPRISING VIRTUES OF THE VATICAN II PRIESTS
In the era of Pope Francis, many conservative Catholics have long thought they would one day restore a more orthodox Catholicism the older generation had given away.
LET’S FACE IT: THE MODERN PAPACY IS AN IMPOSSIBLE GIG
We live in a time of instant opinion, in which perspective is generally the first casualty of war. Nevertheless, here’s a bit of perspective anyone who follows Vatican news and the Catholic scene ought to try to keep in mind...
WHY SO MANY CATHOLICS MIGHT NOT PRAY FOR VOCATIONS ANY MORE
WHY SO MANY CATHOLICS MIGHT NOT PRAY FOR VOCATIONS ANY MORE - There are two types of Catholic, says Fr Rob Esdaile: the select few who enthusiastically pray for Vocations – with a capital V – and everyone else, who at best pay lip-service to the intention.
U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS MAY PRESS BIDEN TO STOP TAKING COMMUNION
At issue is a document coming from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Doctrine clarifying the church’s stance on an issue that has repeatedly vexed the bishops
QUESTIONS REGARDING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TODAY AND THE NEXT POPE
Synodality is the biggest wager Pope Francis has made for the Church. But if it is to be a key aspect of Catholicism, we need to keep in mind that at some point, there will be another pope.
OUR VERY HUMAN AND EVANGELICAL POPE
Perfection is not something one should expect from a pope. Francis has been a compelling example and source of encouragement for somany. He's shown us how we can really live the joy of the Gospel.
POLITICIZING BIDEN’S FAITH IS PASTORAL MALPRACTICE
Deploying Communion as a bludgeon to selectively sanction elected officials on a single issue is not the answer.
BIDEN HAS BEEN PRO CHOICE FOR DECADES. WHY EXCOMMUNICATE HIM NOW?
Biden has been out-front and publicly pro choice for decades. In all that time, the American Catholic bishops have never excommunicated him. Now that he is president, they are...
COMPLACENT OR COMPLICIT?
We have to wonder what remains of Vatican II’s impact on Church-state relations, religious liberty, and political participation.
VATICAN CAUTIONS BISHOPS ON DENYING COMMUNION TO POLITICIANS WHO BACK ABORTION
It is 'misleading' to suggest abortion and euthanasia are 'the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics.'
CARDINAL LADARIA CAUTIONS US BISHOPS ON POLITICIANS AND COMMUNION
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has urged the U.S. bishops to proceed with caution in their discussions about formulating a national policy...
VATICAN THROWS WET BLANKET ON U.S. BISHOPS WHO WANT TO DENY BIDEN COMMUNION
The Vatican doctrinal chief gave a tutorial in what it means to be a bishop, a lesson that is sadly as necessary as it is embarrassing for the U.S. bishops.
FROM PRINCES TO MANAGERS: UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC EPISCOPATE
For centuries, from Augustine to Vatican II, the official profiles of bishops and cardinals constituted something of a literary genre unto itself: the so-called speculum episcopi...
WHAT'S BEHIND THE VATICAN CHALLENGE TO IDEOLOGUE BISHOPS
The matter of whether Biden should stop presenting himself for Communion is between him and his bishop. A US bishops’ policy risks politicising the Eucharist.
BISHOP ROBERT BARRON'S 'BEIGE' VERSION OF VATICAN II
The theological interpretation offered here is made possible only by the silences on other aspects of Vatican II: This makes it impossible to know not just Vatican II, but also the post-Vatican II church.
BISHOPS’ ATTEMPT TO DENY COMMUNION TO BIDEN WILL BACKFIRE EVEN MORE SPECTACULARLY THAN OPPOSITION TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
For the bishops to pronounce who among the laity is worthy to receive communion is absurd.
AMAZON BISHOPS 'DISAPPOINTED' BY SYNOD OUTCOME
"We found very little understanding for the problems and issues of the Amazon Region which we here experience day by day.”
U.S. BISHOPS IN 'DANGEROUS' PLACE OVER REFUSING COMMUNION
While this was focused on the issue of abortion directly, it was more generally indicative that the Catholic Church in the U.S. has become a two-party church along political lines.
AFTER VATICAN WARNING, U.S. BISHOPS HAVE LIMITED OPTIONS FOR PLANNED TEXT ABOUT BIDEN
The U.S. bishops have been planning to vote on a document about pro-choice Catholic politicians and their ability to receive Communion at their upcoming June 16-18 meeting.
POPE FRANCIS'S NEW VISION FOR CATECHISTS
Companionship is closely related to “accompaniment,” a watchword in Francis’s pontificate. A catechist must not only proclaim and teach but walk alongside the catechized.
VATICAN II: A FAILED COUNCIL?
History shows that resistance against councils and prophets is what hinders their success. The choice is ours. Shall the Council fail or succeed? May God give us the grace to make it a success.
CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES FOR GLOBAL CATHOLICISM
While the Second Vatican Council did much to renew and revitalize the Church, today it faces many challenges, in addition to declining membership.
FRANCIS, U.S. BISHOPS AND DEFENDING COMMUNION FROM POLITICAL MANIPULATION
Just as the true meaning of the Eucharist needs to be defended from those who would use it for publicity, it needs to be defended from those who would use it to divide the worthy from the unworthy.
FOUR REASONS BEHIND THE VATICAN’S ACTION ON COMMUNION FOR PRO-CHOICE POLITICIANS
What is going on here? If the pope is against abortion, why is the Vatican intervening in the action of the U.S. bishops?
COVID 'LIFTED VEIL' ON REALITY OF CHURCH IN IRELAND
The Primate of All Ireland has said the Covid pandemic “lifted the veil” on the reality of the position of the Church in Ireland, observing that it ranked low on the public’s list of priorities
IF THIS IS VATICAN REFORM, SOME ARE WONDERING WHAT’S REALLY CHANGED
There’s still time for the real fruits of the reform to blossom. For now, however, some can’t help wondering if there was ever any real intention to grow a new crop.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ‘INCLUSIVE’ CHURCH
There’s a battle going on in the church right now, and it’s one of those good battles which in centuries to come the church will look back on as defining anew what it means to be a child of God.
KEEPING IT TOGETHER
Neither progressive Catholics nor traditionalists have been able to renew and revitalize the Church. Perhaps they could try something new: work toward unity and avoid fragmentation.
BLACK CATHOLICS ARE LEAVING THE CHURCH. WHY?
The Black exodus from the Church is due to the fundamental disconnect between what the vast majority of Black Catholics see as essential and the concerns being addressed in white congregations.
EDITORIAL: WHY WE SUPPORT THE BISHOPS' PLAN TO DENY COMMUNION TO BIDEN
If the bishops are not going to act like true followers of Jesus and leaders of his church, then they might as well pick that fight. At least then, it will be clear what they're really about.
VATICAN CURIA, SEMPER REFORMANDA
Attempts to reform the Curia have been going on since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, each announced with great fanfare, but the effects were only incremental. There is no reason to expect anything better this time.
'WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT A VOICE FOR THE LAITY'
By the time the message gets heard at the top, there's a great chance that it will be a reactive response with the inevitable result of creating an ‘us’ and ‘them’.
IS THE VATICAN FINALLY READY TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT WOMEN IN THE CHURCH?
Observers are waiting to see whether the Curia reform will change the Church’s approach to an issue that the decades of tumult, controversy, liberation, and reaction have left little altered...
PRIESTHOOD ALWAYS INVOLVES CLOSENESS WITH THE FAITHFUL
The priesthood cannot be understood without its essential connection to the people of God. The ministerial priesthood is a consequence of the baptismal priesthood of the holy faithful people of God.
WE DON’T UNDERSTAND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. COVID-19 PROVED IT
Religious freedom has been a hot topic in the United States for decades. But the pandemic offered a crash course on the topic.
WHY POPE FRANCIS IS CONCERNED ABOUT PRIESTLY FORMATION
What is necessary is a model of ministry rooted in service, where pastors authentically represent the figure of Jesus who bent down to wash the feet of the disciples.
THE REMAINS OF VATICAN II - WHY IS THE RECEPTION OF THE COUNCIL STILL AN ISSUE?
Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council, and if you do not follow the Council or you interpret it in your own way you are not with the Church.
A DEFENSE OF THE CULTURE WARRIOR BISHOPS — SORT OF
Moral indignation is understandable, even appropriate, but it is not a theology or a political strategy. By thinking it is, the "no Communion for Biden" bishops mimic the moral compass of the Twitterverse.
CATHOLICS ARE ASKING FOR BREAD. THEIR BISHOPS ARE GIVING STONES
A push to deny Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians is symbolic of denial of care in other forms.
GERMAN CARDINAL’S RESIGNATION, REFUSED BY POPE, REINVIGORATES CHURCH REFORM
For lay organizers of the controversial Synodal Path in Germany, Cardinal Marx’s resignation strengthened their efforts.
THE SCANDAL OF ABUSE AND THE REFORM OF THE CHURCH
The valuable indications contained in the letter in which Pope Francis rejected the resignation offered by Cardinal Marx.
WILL THE CHURCH GET WOMEN DEACONS?
Clergy who obsess about the dangers of clericalism in women are projecting their own sins and selling short women’s capacity for virtue.
USCCB SPRING ASSEMBLY 2021
Following months of open discord among the bishops, Pope Francis' representative encouraged unity and dialogue. Keep up-to-date with all of NCR's coverage of the U.S. bishops' conference meeting, June 16-18, 2021.
5 THINGS TO WATCH FOR AS CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE DEBATES COMMUNION BAN
A primer as America’s Catholic bishops gather to discuss, among other things, Catholic politicians and life issues.
TAKING FREEDOM TOO FAR
The USCCB has cast aside vulnerable gay persons, undermined the coherence of Catholic moral theology, and put forward a counterfeit version of religious liberty.
IN DEFIANCE OF VATICAN, US BISHOPS VOTE TO ADVANCE COMMUNION DOCUMENT
In a vote that was both expected and defying the Vatican, the U.S. Catholic bishops advanced on June 18 plans to draft a document addressing Communion for pro-choice Catholic politicians.
IN RIFT WITH BIDEN, A DRAMATIC SHOW OF FORCE BY A CONSERVATIVE CATHOLIC MOVEMENT
A vote by the U.S. bishops was the most dramatic example of the conservative Catholic movement’s reach since Joseph R. Biden was elected.
THE BIDEN COMMUNION DEBATE SHOWS THE EXHAUSTION OF THE U.S. CHURCH
The U.S. church does not have the vibrancy to sustain its own culture, its own mission and its own sense of solidarity - it is particularly susceptible to those influences that would divert it from its mission.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ BRAWL OVER DENYING JOE BIDEN COMMUNION
The U.S. bishops’ immediate motive is clear: they want to send a message that to be a Catholic is to oppose legal abortion. The battle, though, is about much more.
THOMAS MERTON'S WISDOM FOR A CHURCH IN CRISIS
"It is no secret that the Church finds herself in crisis, and the awareness of such a fact is 'pessimism' only in the eyes of those for whom all change is necessarily a tragedy."
CATHOLIC BISHOPS PUBLISH Q AND A CLARIFYING CONTROVERSIAL COMMUNION DOCUMENT
A new message from the U.S. Catholic bishops says that the debate at their spring meeting answered the Vatican’s wish for more dialogue on the topic.
CATHOLICS ARE TALKING PAST EACH OTHER IN THE BIDEN-COMMUNION DEBATE
Catholics on both sides of this debate should be more willing to admit each other’s good will and readier to acknowledge how their own position could be a source of scandal for others.
BISHOPS' CONFERENCE WALKS BACK MIXED MESSAGING ON COMMUNION AND CATHOLIC POLITICIANS
The U.S. bishops' conference is seeking to clear up its own mixed messaging and is insisting the eventual document will no longer target Catholic politicians.
A POLITICAL DOCUMENT ON THE EUCHARIST WILL PUSH YOUNG PEOPLE EVEN FURTHER FROM THE CHURCH
We are dealing with a challenging optic when many leaders in the U.S. church were not as vocal or proactive in the face of racism, sexism, xenophobia, migrant and refugee crises, children in cages, gun violence and environmental degradation...
WHAT LIES AT HEART OF THE BATTLE OVER COMMUNION
Following the interventions from the Vatican, the document will now focus on a broader theology of the Eucharist, rather than simply on Communion and erring politicians.
U.S. BISHOPS' LATEST DISPLAY OF DESPERATION HAS ROOTS IN YEARS OF DYSFUNCTION
Largely disregarded in the wider community, the only recourse left the bishops was to publicly humiliate one of their own, the most observant Catholic president in the country's history.
DON'T PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE BISHOPS' CONFERENCE
The bishops are stuck in the culture war. And, sadly, yes, this will likely send even more Catholics to the exits — precisely at a time when the church should be welcoming back its flock after the pandemic.
PASTORS, NOT PROPHETS
The bishops have collectively lost the moral standing that prophets need through their mishandling of the sex-abuse crisis, their silence on the features of contemporary Amercian life conspicuously at odds with the Gospel, and their unseemly pursuit of a narrow set of policy goals.
HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE CLERICALISM?
There have been times in the Church’s history where the relationship between the clergy and the laity has become totally unbalanced. We need to recognize that the Church’s problems – abuse and other scandals – are a consequence of that imbalance...
RELIGION, RUDDER OF AMERICA’S DEMOCRACY
The Archbishop of Chicago shines the light on the role of religion in America’s political system. His reflections come in a review of the 19th century book “Democracy in America” by Alexis De Tocqueville.
THE WOMEN WHO WANT TO BE PRIESTS
They feel drawn by God to the calling — and won’t let the Vatican stop them. But the Vatican [does not] see that story, or stories of Christ’s openness to women, as justification for allowing them into the priesthood.
GERMANY TAKES THE SYNODAL PATH
The German synod has become for conservative Catholics (including those in the United States) Exhibit A in their contention that Francis’s openings are rupturing the Church’s unity and may very well lead to schism.
BISHOPS’ MEETINGS WON’T HEAL THE U.S. CHURCH
Given all the challenges facing the Catholic Church in our country, we are far overdue for a moment in which the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of our country can discern together how to be the people of God in our time and place.
SAINT JOHN PAUL II AND THE PROPHECY ABOUT THE JESUIT POPE
[John Paul II] prepared the profile of the man who today guides the Church, the boat of Peter, to cross the troubled waters of the 'epochal change'.
REMEMBERING WHY I BECAME A PRIEST
Because parishioners see priests doing holy things and saying holy words, it's easy, then, to conclude that we must be holy. Doing holy things, however, doesn't make one holy.
DO POPE FRANCIS AND POPE BENEDICT DISAGREE ABOUT VATICAN II AND THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS?
Devotees of the traditional Latin Mass were misled during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI... Some believed that the liturgical and other reforms of Vatican II could be modified or even rolled back.
LAY CATHOLICS CONDEMN BISHOPS' SYNODAL PROCESS
Lay Catholics have condemned the outline by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for the synodal process for the national Church, warning that it will stifle discussion, participation and freedom for everyone except the hierarchy.
WE MUST ADDRESS THE STRUCTURAL ISSUES THAT PLAGUE THE CHURCH
The Church in the West must undergo a metanoia. Evangelii Gaudium is a charter calling the Church to a life of renewal and missionary discipleship.
THE CHURCH IN THE WEST IS IN DECLINE — AND NATIONALISM WON’T SAVE IT
To be a truly relevant and transformative force, the Church of the 21st century needs to be willing to relinquish political power and meet the suffering and marginalized...
WOMEN DEACONS’ COMMISSION TO HOLD FIRST MEETING
Any opening to female deacons will be fiercely resisted by some in Rome, with the curia Cardinals believed to have been among those who opposed to any opening for the female diaconate at the Amazon synod.
THE FLIGHT OF THE DOCTRINAL BUTTERFLY
Neither Pope Francis’s Magisterium, nor the Second Vatican Council’s documents, can be interpreted through a proper hermeneutic of continuity if one does not understand the concept of “doctrinal development.”
THE NEW DONATISM
The bishops might consider that, in a Church that understands itself to be the one body of Christ, many Catholics will see the bishops’ judgment on Biden to be a judgment on them.
SEPARATE CHALLENGES
The American bishops have two teaching challenges. One is about the Eucharist. The other is about abortion. They are distinct topics, even if at one narrow point they overlap.
A RADICAL SHIFT AWAY FROM A CHURCH WITH INFLEXIBLE LAWS
Rather than maintaining the laity in a state of spiritual and moral infancy, the text will advocate a church that educates and assists all the people of God to grow in spiritual maturity, following the example of Christ.
NEW WOMEN DEACONS COMMISSION TO MEET WITH UNCLEAR AGENDA
Centuries ago, Pope Gelasius I was scandalized that women — presumably women deacons —were ministering at the altar. The synodal church seems to be moving in the direction of allowing women back there.
ARE WOMEN DEACONS IN THE CHURCH’S FUTURE?
The deacon’s is a ministry of service: proclaiming and preaching the Word, witnessing marriages, serving as the minister of Baptism, catechizing and teaching... In some places, such as the Amazon, women are already doing all these things.
POPE FRANCIS IS PREPARING A RADICAL REFORM OF THE CHURCH’S POWER STRUCTURES
Francis is set to inaugurate a three-year synodal preparation process that has the potential to revolutionize the way decisions are made in the Catholic Church and promote a more decentralized structure of authority.
CATHOLIC CHURCH MUST OVERHAUL POWER STRUCTURES
The hope is that the forthcoming “synod on synodality” will offer a roadmap for the church's future by asking each diocese to hold a synod – something which has never happened before.
CLERICALISM: PROBLEMS PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
...while elitism is not peculiar to the church, when it infects the priesthood there are unique consequences that injure the life of the ecclesial community, given how it undermines the very core of the Gospel and the meaning of baptism.
WHAT AMERICA SHOULD UNDERSTAND ABOUT GERMANY'S SYNODAL PATH
It strikes fear in the hearts of some conservative Catholics: Germany's Synodal Path reform project. Will it cause a schism in the Catholic Church? Is Germany abolishing celibacy against the will of the Vatican?
HOPE & HESITANCY
A national synod could lead to a movement that would benefit the Church and Italy both, even if it might not be as big a unifying event as beating England on penalty kicks.
CHURCH MUST 'STEP OUT OF THE PAST'
The Church is changing now, and the priest-led Church of the past will need to embrace a partnership approach with people into the future - a Church of “co-responsibility” between laity and clergy.
POPE FRANCIS WANTS EVERY CATHOLIC TO HAVE A SAY. WHY HAVEN'T US CATHOLICS HEARD ABOUT IT?
As the U.S. bishops fulminate over which Catholic politician can receive Communion, they've done little to plan for the worldwide discussion on the needs of the church.
‘ALWAYS TOGETHER’ - THE UNFINISHED WORK OF VATICAN II
Pope Francis: Today we find ourselves in a world — and in a Church — deeply changed, and it’s probably necessary to make more explicit the Second Vatican Council’s key concepts...
ADVICE TO YOUNG PRIESTS FROM AN 'OLDER BROTHER'
"We need a higher vision - in the words of Mother Teresa, we finally will be more concerned about being faithful than being successful. That is no small thing."
HEAD OF GERMAN BISHOPS CALLS FOR COURAGEOUS CHANGE IN CHURCH, SOCIETY
As German Catholics prepare for their second Synodal Assembly, Bishop Georg Bätzing spoke of a "turning point" and a "creeping loss of relevance" of the Catholic Church.
HOW DO WE PREPARE FOR A SYNODAL PROCESS? START WITH THE DOCUMENTS OF VATICAN II
The only renewal we can achieve at this moment in our history is one rooted in the documents and the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.
AUSTRALIA’S GRAND EXPERIMENT IN SYNODALITY OPENS AMID HOPES, CHALLENGES
Long before “synodality” became the buzzword of this pontificate, the Catholic Church in Australia was getting ready to launch its own major synodal moment.
PARADIGM SHIFTS AFTER VATICAN II
How does one tell the story of the Second Vatican Council? It is a question that has fascinated many people over the past fifty years, challenged them as well, because for one thing, more than one story is involved.
“WITHOUT THE LAITY THE CHURCH IS FOOLISH”
Francis invites us to accompany with prayer the "synodal path" of the Church aware that in fact it has the potential to become a founding event, a movement of history in which God works and everyone is called to play their part through discernment.
WHEN BISHOPS INCREASE BARRIERS TO COMMUNION, WE ARE NOT BEING THE PASTORS POPE FRANCIS CALLED US TO BE
An exclusive interview with Bishop Robert McElroy on whether the bishops’ should deny Communion to pro-choice politicians and the need for a true “eucharistic revival.”
WOMEN IN THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS: A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR A MORE EQUAL (AND PROPHETIC) CHURCH
What is the church’s relationship to its female members overall? And by what criteria do we judge the institutional church’s response to women?
CAN THE U.S. BISHOPS BE SAVED FROM PARTISAN POLITICS?
The bishops will presumably vote on the next stage of the document on the Eucharist - they will also chart the next step on a path forward in their engagement with both the Biden administration and the culture at large.
US BISHOPS GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO FOCUS ON REVIVING THE EUCHARIST
In its upcoming General Assembly in Baltimore, the USCCB will approve a statement on the Eucharist and discuss a three-year National Eucharistic Revival plan.
THANK GOD FOR POPE FRANCIS: NOW, IF ONLY OUR CULTURE WAR BISHOPS WOULD LISTEN TO HIM
Thank God for Pope Francis. He said what many of us have been thinking — that our bishops are behaving more like politicians than shepherds.
U.S. BISHOPS ON LAUDATO SI’: MORE LIKE ‘LAUDATO NO’
What does your bishop have to say about climate change? For U.S. Catholics, the most typical answer to this question is either “not much” or “nothing at all.”
MOST U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS KEPT SILENT ON FRANCIS' CLIMATE CHANGE PUSH
The publication of Laudato Si' was a landmark moment in the fight against climate change. Research shows clearly that bishops' communications collectively diminished its impact.
US BISHOPS TO CHOOSE CULTURE WAR OR COMMUNION IN BALTIMORE
When the US bishops gather in Baltimore this month, they will choose whether to pursue the culture war approach some bishops prefer, or to pursue communion with the bishop of Rome. They can't do both.
IF WE'D LISTENED TO CARDINAL BERNARDIN, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WOULD NOT BE WHERE IT IS TODAY
Bernardin could foresee what other cardinals could not. Had they listened, we might not be in this boat today.
THE U.S. CHURCH NEEDS TO RETURN TO A EUCHARISTIC VISION OF ECCLESIAL LIFE
Denying Communion to Joe Biden won’t bring people back to Mass. The U.S. bishops likely know this.
INSTEAD OF EMBRACING JOHN XXIII'S HOPE, ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ PROJECTS DOOM
The pope's most famous speech, given in 1963 when opening the Second Vatican Council, shows a dark contrast between John and Gomez.
US BISHOPS' EUCHARIST DOCUMENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT BIDEN
The U.S. bishops' conference tried to walk back messaging about a document on so-called "eucharistic coherence," releasing a statement downplaying the whole issue of denying Communion to pro-choice politicians. Don't be fooled.
SURVEY: PRIESTS IN THE U.S. ARE DIVIDED ON POLITICS AND POPE FRANCIS
That the Catholic Church is not doing well is something progressive and conservative priests agree upon, even if their reasons for saying so might be different (and they probably are).
U.S. BISHOPS' EUCHARIST TEACHING DRAFT NEGLECTS REALITIES ON THE GROUND
We surely seek a teaching that grows out of deep listening to the real questions of these times. We deserve bishops who will sit still with us, where we are, on the ground made sacred because we are the body of Christ.
THOUSANDS CALL FOR GOMEZ TO APOLOGIZE AFTER CALLING PROTESTS 'PSEUDO-RELIGIONS'
The petition, which has garnered the signatures of more than 9,000 Catholics and others, is the latest development in the fallout from Gomez's controversial address to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life in Madrid.
MINDING THE CHURCH
How should the hierarchy respond to whistleblowers? This means being very brave in our faith. It means standing up to the bishops who have poisoned the well we Catholics drink from.
BEATITUDES FOR BISHOPS, A MODEL FOR THE 21ST-CENTURY PASTOR
The beatitudes of the bishop are challenging and very much in Francis’ style, offering a portrait of how a pastor should be in a world where there is so much poverty, injustice, conflict, suffering and human fragility.
CARDINAL SCOLA CONDEMNS ‘HARSH AND INSOLENT ATTACKS’ AGAINST POPE FRANCIS
“The appearance of Francis as pope has been a healthy punch in the stomach that the Holy Spirit has used to wake us up.”
AT MEETING, AMERICAN BISHOPS IGNORE REAL PROBLEMS WHILE DEBATING MINUTIAE
The church and the world are on fire, but you would not know it watching the bishops’ meeting. The bishops managed to make their fall an exercise in boredom.
UNIQUE LATAM SUMMIT IDENTIFIES ABUSE VICTIMS AS PASTORAL PRIORITY
It is better to have a church with errors and mistakes, ready to get up again and restart the journey, than paralysis, panic, which stops the passage of the Spirit and stiffens.
BASED AND CRINGE CATHOLICISM
The internet has become a terrible place to have discussions about anything serious. This extends especially to the realms of the most important of topics, such as politics and religion.
INTERVIEW: BISHOP WACK DISCUSSES 'ANGER, DIVISION' IN US CATHOLIC CHURCH
The church's goal should not be to restore a supposed golden age of Christianity or rebuild a political culture where the Christian faith reigns supreme.
AN UNPRECEDENTED GATHERING IN LATIN AMERICA IS PUTTING POPE FRANCIS’ VISION FOR THE CHURCH INTO ACTION
What lessons can the Latin American church can teach the rest of the world about synodality?
POPE FRANCIS IS ASKING THE US BISHOPS TO LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE. WILL THEY?
The U.S. bishops' conference focus is on what they can do. The pope's focus is on what the people can do. The U.S. bishops' conference seems to want to close doors. The pope wants to open them
POPE FRANCIS EVANGELIZES VERY DIFFERENTLY THAN US CONSERVATIVES
This is the pedagogy of accompaniment. It is rooted in the example of St. Paul. And... it is a pedagogy that has allowed him to engage the culture in arresting and profound ways.
IS THE GROWING ANTI-POPE ‘RAD-TRAD’ COMMUNITY POISED TO BECOME ‘QATHOLICS’? HISTORY ISN’T ENCOURAGING
This kind of behavior, an effectively open ideological war within the Church against the Pope has happened before.
FR. DON COZZENS UNVEILED PROBLEMS IN THE PRIESTHOOD, AND MODELED SOLUTIONS
Cozzens turned the tables on conventional ideas about priest and prophet. He demonstrated they could upend faulty presumptions and conceits by quietly, diligently and in great detail laying bare the truth.
NCR'S NEWSMAKER OF 2021: ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ, A FAILED CULTURE WARRIOR
As head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for the past two years, Gomez has squandered his presidency fighting dead-end culture wars.
TO UNDERSTAND CATHOLICISM, YOU NEED TO GET ITALY
Spending some extended time in Italy offers not only a deeper knowledge of how the church works, but a deeper appreciation for the humanistic values upon which Catholic culture ought to be based.
SCANDAL HAS LOST ITS SHOCK
Very little that happened in 2021 suggests that our religious leaders have learned any lessons from past failures. Even more discouraging is when a US bishop becomes a counter-witness and delivers a message contrary to that of Pope Francis.
THE US BISHOPS AND THE POPE ARE SINGING FROM DIFFERENT HYMNALS
The pope is more and more determined to press forward with the reception of Vatican II in ways that will likely affect the U.S. church in profound ways.
WHAT STORIES ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WILL WE BE FOLLOWING IN 2022?
The great reform of the Middle Ages began when St. Francis first kissed a leper. Whether or not the reforms of his namesake take greater hold in the United States will be a story of the activity of the Spirit, notoriously difficult to chronicle.
MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH BECOMES THE FOCUS OF RENEWAL
While questions pertaining to ordained ministry tend to grab the limelight, the Second Vatican Council brought back into play the whole notion that a variety of ministries serve the liturgy; it is not a clerical preserve.
CULTURAL CHALLENGES DURING VATICAN II
The cultural challenges facing the Church and the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s did not come as a surprise. They were the culmination of the long evolution of modern Western culture.
TEACHING LESSONS FOR A SKEPTICAL CHURCH
American religious leaders across the faith spectrum wonder: why are people leaving institutional religious affiliations? Maybe that’s the wrong question.
BENEDICT XVI - DEFENDER OF THE FAITH
A new biography, which portrays Pope Emeritus Benedict as a reluctant pope, set on rescuing the Church from a hostile modern age, fails to capture the complex, original quality of his thinking.
BENEDICT FAULTED FOR HANDLING OF ABUSE CASES WHEN HE WAS AN ARCHBISHOP
A newly released report by a law firm said the former pope failed to discipline priests in at least four cases of sexual abuse accusations in Germany.
THE LIMITS OF DIALOGUE - WHY FRANCIS HAS BEEN SO TOUGH ON TRADITIONALISTS
A synodal approach is the “style of God” with people of good will, however great their sins or disagreements. But dialogue cannot heal corruption.
WITH FIRST WOMEN LECTORS AND CATECHISTS, FRANCIS CONTINUES 'CREATIVE WORK' OF VATICAN II
Francis' move may seem inconsequential in the practical sphere, but making them official says something very important about the nature of ministry in the Catholic Church today.
WOMEN AT THE ALTAR
Women had often been serving as lectors and catechists, but with this change in canon law, and with the papal installation at St. Peter’s Basilica, women are now officially recognized. That is an important development.
FRANCIS: IS SCHISM ON THE HORIZON?
How Francis is faring in the battle for reform. An international panel discussion (with Tina Beattie, David Gibson, Christopher Lamb and Michael Sean Winters, moderated by Michael W. Higgins) held Jan. 26, 2022, hosted by Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT
TO RESCUE A SINKING CHURCH, THINK MISSION NOT MEMBERSHIP
The American Catholic Church is at a crossroads. Will it choose safety or discipleship?
SCHISM AND THE ECCLESIAL VOCATION OF THE THEOLOGIAN
The Church sees the work of the theologian as not simply a job or a field of study, but as a Christian vocation. It is as much rooted in prayer, discernment, and calling as it is in research and study. Sadly, this has too often not been the case.
CELIBACY AND THE REALITY OF THE WAY IT IS 'LIVED'
For some, celibacy is lived out authentically and individually. Some individuals do indeed live celibate and admirable lives. But not all priests manage to do so.
ELIMINATING CLERICALISM: REFORM THE SEMINARIES
Its latest manifestation is the reported emergence from Catholic seminaries of a type of newly ordained priest who seems to be in love with the idea of being “special”.
HOLY YEAR 2025 SHOULD 'FAN FLAME OF HOPE' AFTER PANDEMIC
Held every 25 years since 1470, a holy year or jubilee is a time of pilgrimage, prayer, repentance and acts of mercy, based on the Old Testament tradition of a jubilee year of rest, forgiveness and renewal.
TOP CANONIST WARNS AGAINST DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PRIESTS
Prominent Jesuit canonist Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda has cautioned against the risks of social media and excessive attachment to outward devotions, stressing the importance of service.
CHURCH'S MULTIYEAR INITIATIVES ON SYNODALITY, LAUDATO SI' AND EUCHARIST INTERTWINE
Three large initiatives landed on the doorsteps of U.S. Catholic dioceses, parishes, congregations and organizations last fall. Exploring the opportunities for collaboration.
PRIESTS NOT SUPPORTING FRANCIS SHOULD ASK, 'WHAT AM I DOING HERE?'
Cardinal Marc Ouellet: "I would invite the young clergy to look at the pope as an example. A priest should be working in communion with the pope, otherwise he should ask himself, 'What am I doing here?' "
IN REFORMING THE PRIESTHOOD, POPE FRANCIS INSISTS ON MIDDLE GROUND
Pope Francis dismissed progressive views favoring ‘the ideology of the moment’ and the conservative ‘rigidity’ that clings to the past, encouraging a third way.
US BISHOPS DEFEND PLANNED $28 MILLION EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS AMID CRITICISM
Public opinion polls do not support the argument that emphasizing the Real Presence will draw fallen-away Catholics back to church. The real question the credibility of Catholicism.
THE CONFUSION OF POPE FRANCIS
A short video from "Breaking the Habit:" One major criticism of Pope Francis is that he has created confusion in the Church. Here are four reasons people find him confusing and what we can do about it.
WOULD JESUS CARE ABOUT THE PHOENIX PRIEST'S BAPTISMAL MISTAKES?
This entire scandal only further reveals the dysfunctional bureaucracy at the diocesan level, while simultaneously creating a movement of love and support to enshroud Father Andrés in his community.
‘IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME’ NO LONGER WORKS FOR BASEBALL — OR ORGANIZED RELIGION
Faced with declining audiences and a troubled product, baseball — like organized religion — has turned on itself.
CATHOLIC CHURCH 'SHOULD BE MORE LIKE ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS'
AA is not counselling or group therapy. It is a meeting of men and women who have something in common. It is deeply spiritual, and it works.
SHOULD THERE BE A POPE EMERITUS? WHAT POPE BENEDICT’S RETIREMENT SAYS ABOUT FUTURE FORMER POPES
It is likely Benedict resigned, in part, to avoid being subjected to the sort of manipulation and power-grabbing that John Paul II faced in his final years as leader of the Church.
PITCHING TENTS FOR NO ONE
If the institutional Church takes seriously the call to synodality, then its clergy must be willing to enter the cloud of humility before God and consider the Spirit that moves its people.
POPE FRANCIS AND INFALLIBILITY
Precisely on the infallibility maneuver those who oppose Pope Francis. But now it is no longer synonymous with power, but of service in love to all humanity for a truly universal Church of Christ.
FRANCIS REORGANIZES VATICAN WITH FOCUS ON EVANGELIZATION, ROLES FOR LAYPEOPLE
Under the title of Praedicate Evangelium ("Preach the Gospel"), the new document stresses that evangelization is the central task of the church.
POPE PRESSES AHEAD WITH CURIA REFORMS, RELEASES NEW CONSTITUTION
During his pontificate, Francis has sought to diversify the leadership of the Curia, appointing religious sisters to several high-ranking positions.
POPE FRANCIS IS DRAWING ON VATICAN II TO RADICALLY CHANGE HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS GOVERNED
After nine years, Pope Francis has unveiled a major reform of the Vatican Curia — though its emphases may sound familiar.
VATICAN REFORMS HAILED AS BREAKTHROUGH FOR LAITY, DESPITE OPEN QUESTIONS
This could and should be a model for the whole church to split organizational leadership, which needs certain professional qualifications, from "spiritual leadership by ordained male and female persons."
THE REFORM WAS REAL: CONTINUITY AND CHANGE AT VATICAN II
In short, the Church had to change in order to stay the same. It had to change in order to be faithful to the Gospel.
POPE FRANCIS REFORMS THE VATICAN CURIA. HERE'S HOPING HE'S NOT DONE
It takes nine months for a woman to produce a baby. It took nine years for the Vatican to birth a new document reforming the Roman Curia. Perhaps the Vatican would act more quickly if there were more women working there.
DIALOGUE MUST BE THE WAY OF THE CHURCH
Dialogue refers to the Catholic principle of reciprocal listening. It is rooted in the dialogue that God initiated with the human race through divine revelation, which reached its climax in Christ
POPE FRANCIS’ “BOTTOM-UP” REVOLUTION
Rather than focus on who can be ordained to the presbyterate, Francis has pointed to the vocation to ministry that every Christian, through their baptism, can follow.
CARDINALS, THEOLOGIANS GATHER TO PLAN HOW U.S. CHURCH CAN SUPPORT POPE FRANCIS
Participants also considered the opposition the pope continues to face from some quarters of the U.S. church, more than nine years after his March 2013 election.
IN CHICAGO, THE POPE’S ALLIES GATHERED TO DISCUSS HIS VISION — AND HIS DETRACTORS
The conference, in some ways, was an experience of synodality in that people were getting together — hierarchy, lay professionals — talking about their hopes and dreams for the church.
‘WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE TOGETHER FOR WHAT THE CHURCH BECOMES’
Vatican II, synodality and the future of Catholicism. Kenneth Woodward interviews the Rev. Joseph Komonchak, the renowned scholar of the Second Vatican Council, on the council's impact yesterday and today.
OPPOSITION TO POPE FRANCIS IS ROOTED IN A REJECTION OF VATICAN II
The keynote address was delivered by theologian Massimo Faggioli at a conference for and with a group of U.S. bishops March 25-26 in Chicago: "Pope Francis, Vatican II, and the Way Forward"
WHAT IS THE CHURCH’S VOCATION?
The joy of the Church is to evangelize. The real problem is not whether we are few, in short, but whether the Church evangelizes.
ARE LAY CARDINALS NEXT?
Pope Francis’ reforms raise the question of reviving the tradition of lay cardinals with women in the mix. So, has the time has come for female cardinals? Maybe so, maybe no. But it is a new church.
WOMEN RELIGIOUS BLAZE NEW TRAILS IN ROLES OF AUTHORITY AT THE VATICAN
With a wave of new appointments of religious sisters inside the Vatican, Pope Francis is making room for more women religious to have a permanent seat at the table.
AFTER WINNING ON ABORTION, IT’S TIME FOR CATHOLIC BISHOPS TO SWITCH PARTIES
Except for ending abortion, the Republican Party has little to offer the bishops. The bishops got what they wanted out of this alliance; it is time to move on.
NEW VATICAN CONSTITUTION WILL CREATE MORE SPACE AT THE TABLE
An interview with scholar Phyllis Zagano on the new constitution and the roles of women in the church.
FOR CELIBACY TO BE A GIFT, IT MUST BE GROUNDED IN REALITY
For those discerning the priesthood and religious life, celibacy is often one of the main barriers to entry. As Pope Francis says, celibacy is a gift—but any gift can be misused.
WHY IS THE CHURCH FAILING IN THE WEST?
There are numerous signs that the Catholic Church is failing in Western countries. There are few vocations, church attendance is down and young people are leaving the church in droves. Why?
AFTER CHRISTENDOM
In its pretention to establish itself as a civilization, Christianity ended up producing a monstrous avatar that is at the same time its alter-ego and its mortal enemy.
AVOIDING A DEADLOCKED CONCLAVE
Before he dies or retires, Pope Francis needs to make changes in the process of electing a new pope to avoid the possibility of a deadlocked conclave.
A COLLAR NOT REQUIRED TO BE LIKE CHRIST
Ordained men do not have a monopoly on Catholic action. A collar is not required to be like Christ. Believing so only perpetuates a sick clericalism that threatens to squash the call of each and every baptized person.
DON’T PIT SUBSIDIARITY AND SOLIDARITY AGAINST EACH OTHER
Solidarity and subsidiarity are not opposite poles that pull in two different directions, somehow “balancing.” Rather, they are complementary ideas that help us see the common good at different levels.
ROME ON MISSION
Pope Francis’ reform of the Roman Curia is another step towards a synodal Church. Never has clericalism been dealt such a deadly, final blow.
WITHHOLDING COMMUNION IS HOARDING JESUS — AND IT’S A SIN
The idea that any person, clergy or not, could deny someone access to proximity to or fellowship with Jesus, is and has always been patently antithetical to his message and to the teachings of the New Testament.
WITH HIS COMMUNION BAN, CORDILEONE HARMS THE CHURCH MORE THAN PELOSI DOES
Our Catholic tradition has a rich theology of cooperation to address the complexities of living in a world in which one's own choices are circumscribed by, and involved with, the choices of other people.
LEARNING FROM THE PAST
History must have a role in how we study the Christian and Catholic tradition in the context of diversity and inclusion. Without it, Catholicism will simply make itself vulnerable to new forms of homogeneity and exclusion.
SAN DIEGO BISHOP MCELROY NAMED BY POPE FRANCIS AS A CARDINAL
McElroy, 68, has been one of a minority of U.S. bishops harshly criticizing the campaign to exclude Catholic politicians who support abortion rights from Communion.
I DON’T THINK WE SHOULD BE BANNING ANYONE FROM THE EUCHARIST
Clericalism emerges when those called to minister the sacraments begin to believe that the sacraments belong to them.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH LACKS AN IMAGINATION FOR LAY AGENCY
Who are the lay faithful in reality? They are those Christians who seek the Kingdom of God in and through the ordinary circumstances of everyday life: family, school, work, social, civic, etc.
ALL ABOUT PRIORITIES: WHY POPE FRANCIS PICKED BISHOP MCELROY
Perhaps less of a repudiation of USCCB leadership, [Francis] recognizes qualities in Bishop McElroy that are necessary to lead the Church going forward.
REFLECTIONS ON THREE UNLIKELY CARDINALS: MCELROY, RAMAZZINI AND ROSA CHÁVEZ
Very unlikely candidates, in places where aspiring cardinal types were not usually found, saying and doing the kinds of things that aspiring cardinal types normally avoid.
WHEN IT COMES TO CREATING CARDINALS...
Francis’ reforms seek to reflect the diversity of the first Christians and ensure that, in a future conclave, the spirit has the freedom to move.
WHEN A CELEBRITY BECOMES A BISHOP: WILL BARRON SET ASIDE WORD ON FIRE FOR HIS NEW DIOCESE?
Bishop Robert Barron could pose a historic first contradiction between two mandates for bishops.
FRANCIS' REFORMS MAKE THE HERESY-HUNTING VATICAN OF JOHN PAUL II BARELY RECOGNIZABLE
'Praedicate Evangelium' is nothing less than a conversion of how power is exercised in the church
STOP MOVING PASTORS!
The changing of pastors has become a ritual of parish life. Every six years or so, awkward announcements are made, goodbyes are said, and the parish priest heads off for a new assignment.
WILL POPE FRANCIS RESIGN? HERE ARE SOME REASONS TO BELIEVE IT—AND SOME TO BE SKEPTICAL
As of now, the Vatican is able to make adaptations for a pope in a wheelchair; it is only if the pope’s mental abilities were imperiled that he might choose to step down.
CARDINAL ADVISER TO POPE FRANCIS SAYS RESIGNATION RUMORS ARE ‘CHEAP SOAP OPERA’
Pope Francis’ flurry of activity in August, seemingly setting the stage for his successor, has fueled rumors of an impending resignation.
POPE FRANCIS DISRUPTS TRADITION WHILE DRAWING FIRM LINES IN NEW CARDINAL PICKS
Bishops who head large and powerful archdioceses should not take the red hat for granted.
POPE SAYS REFUSAL TO ACCEPT VATICAN II IS 'PROBLEM' FOR CHURCH
Francis has repeatedly stressed that the aim of his pontificate is the implementation of the council.
POPE FRANCIS PLANS TO REMAIN POPE ‘FOR AS LONG AS GOD ALLOWS IT,’ BISHOPS SAY
Despite health challenges, resignation ‘does not cross his mind,’ said Brazilian Archbishop Roque Paloschi.
WHY NONSENSE STORIES ABOUT THE POPE RESIGNING KEEP POPPING UP
To insinuate that the pope cannot continue his work in his present condition shows that even the pope is not immune to the prejudice that thousands of people with disabilities suffer on a daily basis.
POPE FRANCIS POINTS THE WAY TO REVIVAL
In his general audience on June 22, Pope Francis showed a far better understanding of what is needed for revival than what the USCCB is offering with its Eucharistic Revival.
UNDERSTANDING THE POPE'S REFORMS: MAKING THE CHURCH CHRISTOCENTRIC
Ecclesiology is rarely considered a hot button issue, but it is the underlying issue in so many of the problems confronting the church.
GERMAN LEADERS SEE CRISIS AS CATHOLICS RESIGN FROM THE CHURCH
For the first time in the history of Germany, less than half the German population registered as members of one of the two large churches: Catholic and Protestant.
WHERE IS THE ‘OUTSIDER POPE’ LEADING OUR CHURCH?
Lecture given by Christopher Lamb, Vatican Correspondent for The Tablet. Delivered at the Novotel Sydney Parramatta, 5 July 2022 (Text and Video)
POPE FRANCIS’ REFORMS TO CHURCH GOVERNANCE ARE UNLIKE ANY SINCE VATICAN II
The reforms of Pope Francis are revolutionary, moving the papacy away from its monarchical model to a collegial model based on the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.
TRUE AND FALSE FRIENDS OF POPE FRANCIS
A true friend seeks to understand his words and actions according to his intentions. A false friend twists the pope's teachings in order to align them with their existing ideological positions.
PONDERING THE LACK OF A ‘LOYAL OPPOSITION’ IN FRANCIS’S COLLEGE OF CARDINALS
Even seasoned ecclesiastical observers struggle to identify a single cardinal named by the current pope who could be described as part of a “loyal opposition.”
POPE FRANCIS IS NOT GOING TO RESIGN, YET
Better guidelines for retired popes are needed. Pope Francis seems to be proceeding gently in that direction so as not to appear critical of his predecessor.
POPE FRANCIS' CRITICS CRAM THE CHURCH INTO THEIR IDEOLOGICAL NARRATIVES
If you always look at the world through the same lens, after a while, it is hard to know if you are actually seeing the world, or just seeing your lens.
CLAIMS THE POPE ‘DOESN’T UNDERSTAND’ AMERICA HAVE A LONG HISTORY
All popes today are reasonably well-informed about the situation in the States, and, if they want to know more, it’s not difficult to find people to ask.
MARY MAGDALENE: THE SINGLE BEST ARGUMENT FOR WOMEN PRIESTS
So if men are qualified to ordained ministry because of the male apostles, wouldn’t Mary’s primacy over them qualify women?
OTHER TIMES POPES HAVE APOLOGIZED FOR THE SINS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Francis' remarks were the latest in a string of papal apologies in recent years. Not all of the pleas have fully implicated the church, instead blaming individuals for wrongdoing or misconduct.
THE “PAPALISATION” OF APOLOGY
The pope’s decision to visit in person in order to perform what he calls a “pilgrimage of penance” marks a potentially significant development in Catholicism.
CATHOLICS’ REPORTS ON THE STATE OF THE CHURCH ARE IN. HERE’S WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY
Clericalism is a scourge on the Church, Catholics say, and women are not included in leadership.
JOHN PAUL I: THE SAINTLINESS OF A HUMBLE BISHOP
It is important to highlight that his witness was that of a priest, and especially of a bishop, who lived his mission to the full, in humility, in poverty and a spirit of service.
CHURCH MUST UNDERGO PROFOUND REFORM TO SURVIVE, SAYS FRENCH SOCIOLOGIST
The Catholic Church may be at a turning point in its history. To survive in secularized Western societies, the institution will have to reform itself.
SOUTH AFRICAN BISHOP SUPPORTS ORDAINING MARRIED MEN TO PRIESTHOOD TO INCREASE ACCESS TO SACRAMENTS
Roman Curia needs more African leadership to reflect church's global realities, bishop says.
IS THE CHURCH TOO INVOLVED IN POLITICS?
Do you want to hear about politics from the pulpit? Does the USCCB hold too much sway over American voters? Is the church too involved in politics? U.S. Catholic wants to know. Take the survey.
DESACRALIZED MYTHS: CRISIS OF NARRATIVE AND NARRATIVE OF CRISIS
A peculiar characteristic of today’s so-called “Postmodern” era is the absence of global narratives.
IN SYNOD REPORTS, US CATHOLICS CALL FOR WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP, LGBTQ WELCOMING
Many Americans want a more welcoming church that reaches out to the marginalized, and that allows women to serve in leadership positions, including ordained ministry.
WHY ALLEGED CONCLAVE WISDOM OFTEN ISN’T REALLY ALL THAT WISE
When the time comes, it’s always worth considering what conventional wisdom might have to say. Just remember that while popes may be infallible, conclave soundbites are anything but.
REFORM OF VATICAN CURIA TO BE CONSIDERED AT MEETING OF CARDINALS
As the cardinals discuss curial reforms, they will also be thinking about who among them might be the next pope.
CARDINAL-DESIGNATE MCELROY: YES, POPE FRANCIS UNDERSTANDS THE US CHURCH
Contrary to recent remarks by some U.S. Catholic leaders, Cardinal-designate Robert McElroy of San Diego believes Pope Francis has a "deep" understanding of the church in the United States.
NEW SAN DIEGO CARDINAL SAYS POLITICAL DIVISIONS ARE FLOWING INTO CHURCH
Cardinal-Designate Robert McElroy of San Diego said one of the most problematic trends in American Catholicism is “polarization along ideological lines..."
VIEW FROM ROME - PRE-CONCLAVE
The last days of August, when the world’s cardinals will gather in Rome, marks the beginning of what can be described as a “pre-conclave” period.
DEBUNKING THREE PERSISTENT MYTHS ABOUT CARDINALS
Whenever we get a new crop of Princes of the Church, several chronic misconceptions tend to head once more unto the breach. Here are three conceptual mistakes to avoid.
ROME CONSISTORY SHOWED POPE FRANCIS' VISION IS TAKING ROOT
The consistory for the creation of 20 new cardinals on Aug. 27 showed that Pope Francis is firmly in control of the global church, and shows no signs of slowing down.
IN MAKING MCELROY A CARDINAL, POPE FRANCIS ELEVATES A CHAMPION FOR ‘PASTORAL’ CAUSE
[McElroy] will be an ally for a pope who has long advocated for the church to change its priorities without changing its teaching.
‘THERE WILL BE SURPRISES’
With new cardinals, Francis advances the synodal agenda. We just know that being the type of Church we’re called to be in synodality leads us to be a more Gospel-oriented, more Christ-oriented Church.
LAY VATICAN LEADERSHIP REPORTEDLY KEY TOPIC AT POPE'S MEETING WITH WORLD'S CARDINALS
Discussions centered around the extent to which lay individuals can be granted authority in church governance, term limits for Vatican officials, and the city-state's finances.
POPE JOHN PAUL I, AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE ‘CELEBRITY SAINT’
Raising Pope John Paul I to the altars offers a chance to consider another model of papacy.
POPE FRANCIS TO CARDINALS: WE ARE JOINTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CHURCH
We have the same mission to evangelize the world as did the apostles 2,000 years ago, a fact that should fill us with wonder at our position of responsibility.
SHE WAS AN EARLY CHURCH DEACON. CATHOLIC WOMEN NOW WANT TO RECLAIM HER EXAMPLE
To some extent, women fulfill those roles already. Joining the diaconate would also allow women to proclaim the Gospel and preach during Mass.
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH
In light of Francis’s message, the reorganization of the Roman Curia, and the meeting of Cardinals, Austen Ivereigh has written a profound and insightful reflection on servant leadership in the Church.
VATICAN REFORM – 'THE FIRES ARE REINVIGORATED'
Francis has undoubtedly changed our idea of the Church – from power to service, from clerical hierarchy to the People of God, from blind obedience to critical assent, even from center to periphery.
‘NO LONGER A EUROPEAN EXPORT’
How did Catholicism has become the most multilingual and multicultural institution in the world? How the Church became truly global.
THE STYLE OF VATICAN II
An essay by the late John W. O'Malley, S.J., which first appeared in the Feb. 24, 2003 issue of America. "Vatican II has never been more relevant than it is at this moment in the history of the church."
TWO HISTORIANS TRACK DOWN JESUS’ WOMEN DISCIPLES
Just because the gospels don’t tell the stories of Jesus’ female followers doesn’t mean they weren’t there. Indeed, it would have been impossible for the gospel to spread as far as it did otherwise.
FINDING THE BISHOPS WE NEED
Finding the kind of men who can be true 21st century apostles starts at the local level. That's where deep reform in the process of giving the Church the bishops it needs will begin.
THE POWER TO SERVE
Francis’s curial reforms remind us that true authority is ultimately moral and spiritual. His authority has never been greater than now, when he stands ready to give it away.
CARDINAL GRECH: THE SYNOD ‘NEEDS TIME’ ON THE QUESTION OF MARRIED PRIESTS
In the second part of this exclusive interview, Cardinal Grech reveals in new depth the plans for the continental and Roman phases of the global synodal process.
WILL DEMAND GROW TO END CELIBACY, AS POPE SIGNALS ZERO TOLERANCE ON ABUSE?
Whatever their views of Pope Francis on matters of theology, all Catholics should be united in welcoming any move which looks to end the horror of abuse within the Church once and for all.
PAPAL INFALLIBILITY IS OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD. HERE’S WHAT IT MEANS — AND WHAT IT DOESN’T
Some on the right think that the magisterium can resolve every question or problem with a declaration. Those on the left often grow impatient and dispute its interventions.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS BEEN BANNING BOOKS FOR CENTURIES. HERE’S WHAT IT CAN TEACH US ABOUT CENSORSHIP
Groups calling for the censorship of books would do well to consider the Catholic church’s experiences with censorship.
EUCHARISTIC REVIVAL CAN SAY SOMETHING MEANINGFUL, IF IT'S NOT POLITICAL
The Eucharist is our realization that Christ was broken for our wholeness. And the "our" is not for individual benefit, but that we come together to form and live as the body of Christ on earth.
FOLLOWING PAPAL REFORMS, VATICAN DEPARTMENTS ARE READY TO HELP LOCAL BISHOPS
A key Vatican department puts itself at the service of local churches, modeling Pope Francis’ vision for the Roman Curia.
PIUS XII, THE SHADES OF SILENCE
No historian, no matter how self-disciplined and honorable can completely avoid being influenced by an a priori, often subconscious, conditioning.
POPE FRANCIS MARKS 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF VATICAN II OPENING BY PLEADING FOR THE CHURCH TO OVERCOME POLARIZATION
Francis lamented that the Council changes had sometimes led to deep divisions within the church.
FROM 1962: THE OPENING OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL
As good theologians, those in attendance at the council will be impelled to get to the heart of the principal problems bothering Catholics and non-Catholics alike in the modern world.
FRANCIS AIMS TO CEMENT LEGACY OF VATICAN II IN LIFE, MISSION OF THE CHURCH
As the Catholic Church marks 60 years since the start of the historic Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis is setting the tone for discussion during two major events over the next few years.
POPE URGES UNITY AS HE MARKS VATICAN II’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY
Francis, 85, is the first pope to have been ordained after the council, and his priorities are very much inspired by it.
A SNAPSHOT OF THE WORLD OF VATICAN II
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the opening of the first session of the Second Vatican Council, here is a snapshot of the world before, during and after the Council.
SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL AND THE CHURCH: 'LOVING MOTHER OF ALL'
A Church that does not trust in itself and does not chase worldly power or media relevance, but humbly puts herself behind her Lord, trusting only in Him.
DID VATICAN II FAIL? ARE WE ALLOWED TO ASK THE QUESTION?
To act like there are no open questions about the council’s relationship to the state of the church is an act of denialism and pearl-clutching.
VATICAN II DIDN’T FAIL. IT’S JUST GETTING STARTED
We experience now a church where the laity matter—where, for example, a New York Times columnist without any church title can have a voice.
CHANGE IS NOT EASY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, WHETHER VATICAN II OR POPE FRANCIS
My heart goes out to the seminarians who are going through the current trauma of change under Pope Francis, because I went through the same trauma after Vatican II.
NEW STUDY OF PRIESTS SHOWS A DISTRUST OF BISHOPS, FEARS OF FALSE SEX ABUSE ALLEGATIONS AND WIDESPREAD BURNOUT
Most support a zero-tolerance policy against child sex abuse but do not trust that their bishop would support them in the face of a false allegation.
CAN POPE FRANCIS SURVIVE THE SCHEMING OF ‘THE SCHISMATICS’?
Members of his opposition are well situated to gather like-minded cardinals in the sort of conspiratorial meetings not known since the Middle Ages.
U.S. SAINTHOOD CAUSES REVEAL A LONGING FOR CHURCH RENEWAL
We can learn a lot about a culture's needs and values by looking at its potential saints.
THE ‘FATHERS OF THE CHURCH’ STILL INFLUENCE CHRISTIANITY TODAY
History has shown that Christians frequently disagree on matters of doctrine, and they always will. In those moments, future leaders may look to the fathers as sure-footed spiritual guides.
THE END OF THE BEGINNING
From the archives: German theologian Gregory Baum reflects on the mysterious and promising early days of the Second Vatican Council. On secrecy, liturgy, and Vatican II
THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION ON GENDER DOESN'T COMPETE WITH VATICAN II
Decades of theological research into issues of gender identity and sexual orientation have borne the fruits of justice and reconciliation, precisely the ends Vatican II intended for the church...
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Varying events in the life of the Church — from the approach of the Synod on Synodality to the “Synodal Way” of the Church in Germany — have once more brought to light the importance of Vatican II’s teaching on the “signs of the times.”
PARISH CLUSTERS, FOREIGN PRIESTS AND DEACONS: FACING THE REALITIES OF A SHRINKING CHURCH
How much do ordinary Catholics have to suffer and their communities wither up for local leaders to talk more seriously about ordaining married men or women?
QUO VADIS—WHERE IS US CATHOLICISM GOING?
The American Church has been in trouble for years and the Exodus of young people is a symptom of a deeper pathological problem. Listen to the presentation on YouTube.
NEXT WEEK'S US BISHOPS' MEETING MAY SHOWCASE COUNTRY'S SHARP CATHOLIC DIVISIONS
The prelates' Nov. 14-17 gathering in Baltimore will still mark notable milestones and important turning points for the Catholic Church in the United States.
BISHOPS ELECT ANTI-FRANCIS ARCHBISHOP AS NEW PRESIDENT
The U.S. bishops have sent a clear message of rejection to Pope Francis by selecting Archbishop Timothy Broglio as president of the bishops' conference.
NO LONGER THE BISHOPS’ CHURCH?
The Church is on its way to being, in some ways, a “post-episcopal” Church — no longer a bishops’ Church. And that will likely have a dramatic impact on how Catholicism may interact with American social and political values.
BISHOPS' CULTURE WARRIOR CHOICE IS A MISTAKE
Actions speak louder than words. After the past three turbulent years, the credibility of the body of bishops could hardly be lower.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS PUNT AGAIN ON ‘FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP’
Nothing said at the bishops’ meeting indicated that they know how to deal with the post-Dobbs, post-election reality other than to say, 'more of the same.'
BISHOP STOWE WANTS THE USCCB TO TAKE POPE FRANCIS’ PRIORITIES SERIOUSLY
The election Archbishop Timothy Broglio to lead the conference suggested to Bishop Stowe that “we’re definitely not going to be going in the direction of Pope Francis any more than we have, and that’s unfortunate.”
AMERICA MAGAZINE: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH POPE FRANCIS
Francis addresses a wide range of topics, from polarization in the U.S. church, to the war in Ukraine, to the role of women in the church, to the places in his life where he finds joy.
THE CONFUSING PATH OF THE US CATHOLIC BISHOPS
The time the bishops spent on internal issues far exceeded the time spent on what the church is called to do: minister to the poor, to the hungry, to the thirsty...
HIERARCHICALISM IS THE ROOT OF US BISHOPS' CULTURE WAR MENTALITY
As Vatican II so clearly taught in Lumen Gentium, the church is the people of God. It doesn't "belong" to the bishops or even the pope. If it belongs to anyone, that would be the Holy Spirit!
NEW USCCB PRESIDENT: BISHOPS SUFFER FROM DAMAGED UNITY
“I am not suggesting that we ignore disagreement, but that we handle it in an evangelical fashion, ” Archbishop Timothy Broglio writes.
A FLOCK WITHOUT SHEPHERDS?
Commonweal Magazine Podcast touching on a number of other topics, including how Catholics voted in the midterms, the sixtieth anniversary of Vatican II, and the ongoing fallout from the abuse crisis.
CONFERENCE ON GOSPEL NONVIOLENCE COULD SERVE AS PUSH FOR PAPAL ENCYCLICAL
Its goal was to understand through the sharing of stories the practical power of nonviolence to help heal our world.
VATICAN II AND THEOLOGICAL PARADIGMS
Exploring the root causes of internal divisions and polarization in the post-conciliar Church, particularly the debate over the possibility of paradigm shifts in Catholic theology.
FROM LIVED HISTORY TO LIVING LEGACY: VATICAN II AT SIXTY
The fathers of Vatican II are passing away, but the question of how to continue their legacy remains. It’s not sufficient to run the highlight reel from 1962. Instead, we should follow Pope Francis’s example...
POPE FRANCIS REFLECTS ON HIS PONTIFICATE AND LEGACY IN LATEST INTERVIEWS
Francis emphasized his work on promoting the role of laity, especially women, and cleaning up the institution’s notoriously corrupt finances.
FULL TEXT: POPE FRANCIS’ CHRISTMAS URBI ET ORBI BLESSING 2022
The following is the full text of the pope’s Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” address delivered from the central balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
CONSERVATIVES CAN WIN THE DEBATE OVER VATICAN II ONLY BY IGNORING HISTORY
The Second Vatican Council changed the church: "from commands to invitations, from laws to ideals, from definition to mystery, from monologue to dialogue, from ruling to serving..."
FRANK PAVONE, LEONARD FEENEY AND THE LONG STORY OF CATHOLIC FUNDAMENTALISM
The defrocking of the anti-abortion crusader is the latest chapter in an old story.
HOW DOES THE VATICAN PLAN A RETIRED POPE’S FUNERAL?
Official word Wednesday that the health of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had worsened prompted questions about what happens if and when he dies.
DEATH OF POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT: HIS OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY
Following the announcement of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Saturday at the age of 95, we look back at his long life and its main highlights with the following official biography.
OBITUARY – POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI
Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, who died on 31 December 2022, was one of the most influential figures in the Catholic Church during the late twentieth century and the first years of the twenty first.
POPE BENEDICT XVI, DEFENDER OF ORTHODOXY DEFINED BY HISTORIC RESIGNATION, DIES AT 95
Benedict was who he was to the end. He would study his theology and write, just as he had written throughout his time in office: Not an ex-pope — there can be no such thing — just a theologian, a priest.
BENEDICT, A POPE WHO SHAPED HIS TIMES BUT DIDN'T TOWER OVER THEM
A pope seen by many as the expression of the centralized, high-office papacy, he would, in a historic first-in-a-millennia act, renounce the chair of St. Peter. The implications and historic import of that final decision continue to resound.
FORMER POPE BENEDICT XVI DIES AGED 95
Benedict’s death brings to a close an unprecedented period in recent history where two popes have co-existed, a situation that has caused tensions within rival camps in the Vatican.
POPE BENEDICT XVI, WHO RESIGNED THE PAPACY, DIES AT 95
The first resignation of the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church in 600 years would crystallize the full weight of the crises then battering the world’s largest Christian denomination.
LONG BEFORE HE WAS POPE, THE MAN WHO BECAME BENEDICT WAS A CENTRAL FIGURE IN THE CHURCH
The German pope, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was elected in 2005 as a doctrinal conservative, but stunned the world by resigning in 2013 — the first to do so in centuries.
FORMER POPE BENEDICT XVI DIES AT 95
Former Pope Benedict XVI has died at his Vatican residence, aged 95, almost a decade after he stood down because of ailing health. He led the Catholic Church for less than eight years until, in 2013, he became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
HOW BENEDICT’S DEATH COULD RESHAPE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The 95-year-old’s death is likely to reshape the church on several fronts, given that Benedict — who lived longer than anybody who had ever been pope — spanned so many eras, opined on so many subjects and influenced so many of the conservative faithful.
DEATH OF BENEDICT XVI MARKS PASSING OF A ‘POPE OF IRONIES’
Sandwiched between two celebrity popes, the shy and cerebral Benedict was perhaps always destined to be under-appreciated.
FRANCIS EXTOLS BENEDICT XVI AS PASTOR IN HISTORIC TWO POPE VATICAN FUNERAL
In one of the rarest of scenes in two millennia of Catholic Church history, Pope Francis presided over the funeral Mass of his predecessor.
POPE BENEDICT'S MIXED LEGACY
Benedict will be remembered as a profoundly intelligent and prayerful man, called to leadership during a time of turmoil in a church, who was not really suited for such rough waters.
BENEDICT & VATICAN II
Benedict XVI didn’t turn his back on Vatican II: he endorsed its core ideas, emphasizing the person of Christ and our role as Christ’s body.
AMERICAN CONSERVATIVES DON'T UNDERSTAND THE LATE POPE BENEDICT'S LEGACY
The myopia of American Catholics has been on full display this week as they rush to canonize or demonize the late Pope Benedict XVI.
BENEDICT XVI BURIED WITH SOLEMN LITURGY
An estimated 50,000 mourners attended the Requiem Mass in St Peter's Square, which 125 cardinals concelebrated with the Pope.
WHY ‘TRADS’ SEEK TO ROOT THE CHURCH’S FUTURE IN THE PAST
S search for a more “pure” kind of Catholicism. In a post–Vatican II and post–Spotlight American Catholicism, it’s clear to see why a return to this kind of basic rote Catholic faith would be desirable.
BENEDICT'S FUNERAL SHOULD PUT TO REST MISINTERPRETATIONS OF HIS LEGACY
The first draft of history is handed from the journalists to the historians who will undertake subsequent drafts.
YOUNG CATHOLICS WANT TO SEE THE CHURCH LIVE THE GOSPEL
Passionate about justice work, young Catholics don’t always agree with church leaders on how to best live out Jesus’ teachings.
MORE AMERICANS STAY AWAY FROM CHURCH AS PANDEMIC NEARS YEAR THREE
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every congregation in the United States shut down, at least for a while. For some Americans, that was the push they needed to never come back to church.
BENEDICT’S BURIAL LEAVES FRANCIS ALONE, AND UNBOUND
Liberal supporters of Francis, a pope never shy about exercising power, now anticipate a late-breaking season of change.
WHY 2023 COULD TURN OUT TO BE THE YEAR OF STORM FRANCIS
As more turbulence around Francis is set to be unleashed, he is thought to be more determined than ever to see his reforms through.
POPE ENCOURAGES FUTURE PRIESTS TO BECOME PROPHETIC WITNESSES OF THE GOSPEL
Pope Francis shared some reflections on three elements which, he said, are essential to priestly formation, recalling the Gospel of St. John.
TWO VERY DIFFERENT PARISHES POINT TO DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH
Illustrating a tension going on across the country between parishes that see themselves as living the legacy of Vatican 2 and those that have become known as rad trads (radical traditionalists), a movement that is quietly transforming parishes around the country.
LOSING THEIR RELIGION: WHY US CHURCHES ARE ON THE DECLINE
As the US adjusts to an increasingly non-religious population, thousands of churches are closing each year – probably accelerated by Covid.
VATICAN II: LOOKING BACK ON ITS DIAMOND JUBILEE
We journey in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, and the journey itself draws us deeper into the life of the Church.
RIGID DEFINITIONS OF ‘CATHOLIC’ LEAVE TOO MANY OUT IN THE COLD
Gatekeeping Catholic identity leaves those on the margins struggling to find their spiritual home.
AFTER 10 YEARS OF BEING PATIENT, POPE FRANCIS IS ENTITLED TO BE LESS SO
Nothing in his first 10 years suggests Francis is going to radically attempt to change any doctrinal teaching of the church, but he might be more aggressive in changing the place of doctrinal teaching in the church.
UNITY, NOT UNIFORMITY
It’s no secret that the demographics of the American Catholic Church are changing rapidly and radically. The future of Catholic parishes depends on their ability to welcome and adapt.
THE ANTI-FRANCIS GATEKEEPERS
The death of Cardinal Pell exposed conservative Catholic efforts to secure the reversal of the Francis agenda at the next conclave.
CARDINAL MCELROY: SEX AND SIN NEED A NEW FRAMEWORK IN THE CHURCH
What would it take to build a radically inclusive church? That is the question Cardinal Robert McElroy took up in a recent article published by America.
BENEDICT XVI’S DEATH HAS BEEN 'INSTRUMENTALIZED' BY AGENDA-DRIVEN CHURCH LEADERS
Pope Francis addressed recent moves by his critics and joined leaders of two other Christian churches in condemning the criminalization of LGBTQ persons.
POPE FRANCIS IS REDEFINING 'THE SPIRIT OF VATICAN II'
The phrase "the spirit of Vatican II" gets tossed around a lot lately, especially by people with clear political agendas.
THE CATHOLICS WHO REFUSE TO LEAVE
Despite struggling with institutional inadequacies, some Catholics are set on keeping the church as their spiritual home.
10 YEARS WITH POPE FRANCIS
Examining the decade past and the years to come for Francis, a pope who seems to re-define for a new generation a special spirit born three generations ago.
THE FRANCIS REVOLUTION: OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS, THE POPE HAS RECOVERED THE CHURCH’S TRUE POWER
The church’s true authority lies in its sharing in God’s power, which is always expressed in humble service.
FRANCIS AFTER TEN YEARS: A JOYOUS POPE
Francis focuses on the concrete and personal ways in which the Church presents itself to the world, confident that the ‘abstract and cerebral’ dimensions of the faith are secure.
FRANCIS HAS OPENED THE DOOR FOR REAL CHURCH REFORM, BUT HASN'T STEPPED THROUGH
Francis has offered a fresh and comprehensive re-reception of the teaching of Vatican II. His rhetorical appeals have been matched by largely symbolic gestures and tentative structural adjustments
AS SYNODALITY SUMMIT LOOMS, NAVIGATING A PAPACY’S IMPERIAL PHASE
How the operational dimension of the papacy will be reconciled with the ecclesiological concepts likely to be articulated by the looming Synod on Synodality will be fascinating to track.
FOR 10 YEARS, POPE FRANCIS OUTLASTS THE CONSERVATIVE RESISTANCE
Francis' 10 years have been marked by persistent criticisms and tenacious resistance from the conservative wing of the Catholic Church, particularly in the Anglophone world.
TEN YEARS OF THE FRANCIS PAPACY IN BROAD STROKES
Pope Francis ultimately sees it as his task to overhaul the church, further opening it to the world and making mercy and evangelization the driving force behind all of its actions.
THE LEGACY OF A DECADE OF POPE FRANCIS
Francis has opened opened up the church to conversation and debate in a way that had not been seen in the church since the Second Vatican Council - windows that are difficult to close.
THE PROBLEM WITH (HYPOTHETICALLY) BISHOPS CALLING ONE ANOTHER HERETICAL
When people raise theological questions properly, according to their roles, it need not provoke disunity. Calling people heretics, apostates and schismatics certainly does.
THE FRANCIS DECADE – A POPE FOR A NEW EPOCH
It is impossible to make sense of this extraordinary pontificate unless we view it through the same lens as Francis himself does.
POPE RENEWS CABINET OF CARDINAL ADVISERS, ADDS NEW MEMBERS
The novelty of Francis’ Council of Cardinals was that he formalized a regular, intimate group consultation with representatives of the global church.
CARDINAL FARRELL ON POPE FRANCIS' TEN-YEAR RENEWAL OF THE CHURCH
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, discusses a transformative decade, distinguished by the Pope's teaching us how to live the Gospel.
POPE FRANCIS AT 10 YEARS: A REFORMER’S LEARNING CURVE
The pope who once envisioned a papacy of 'two or three' years shows no signs of slowing down.
CARDINAL CUPICH ON 10 YEARS OF POPE FRANCIS: WOMEN, LGBT CATHOLICS, SEX ABUSE AND WHAT COMES NEXT
Reflections on what Pope Francis has accomplished so far, describing the Francis era as “a historic papacy” that comes at “a watershed moment” for the church.
POPE FRANCIS AT 10 YEARS: HE HAS MADE HIS MARK, BUT EARLY HOPE HAS FADED
In leading the church, Francis has found himself caught between two poles, transforming too much for one side, not enough for the other.
SPANISH BISHOP BANS EWTN FROM DIOCESAN TELEVISION STATION
Banning his local television station from carrying any content produced by the massive EWTN religious media conglomerate on grounds of preserving unity with the pope.
POPE FRANCIS SEEKS A SYNODAL CHURCH THAT IS ALWAYS REFORMING
Theologians Serena Noceti and Rafael Luciana outline how the pontificate of Pope Francis initiates a new phase in the reception of Vatican II and recovers the conciliar image of an Ecclesia semper reformanda ("the church must always be reformed")
POPE FRANCIS FACES CHANCE TO RADICALLY RESHAPE US CATHOLIC HIERARCHY
13 American archdioceses and 21 dioceses could need new bishops by 2025. The number of episcopal openings could increase because of deaths or resignations.
DID JESUS RULE OUT WOMEN PRIESTS?
The blanket ban on women’s ordination in the Catholic Church has not deterred right-thinking women and men from studying the evolution and development of priesthood in its various dimensions.
CATHOLICISM’S SHRINKING HORIZONS
Addressing the unmet expectations of Vatican II. Something the leaders of the Synod cannot quite say openly is that the Catholic Church must start a process of re-learning and “traditioning” Vatican II.
FRANCIS IS THE FIRST JESUIT POPE — HERE’S HOW THAT HAS SHAPED HIS 10-YEAR PAPACY
‘I see the church as a field hospital,’ Pope Francis once said – not a place where superficial solutions will do much good.
CARDINAL FARRELL: POPE FRANCIS’ CRITICS ARE WRONG. HE’S NO AUTOCRAT
"I have spent the last seven years working in the Roman Curia. My experience has been far from that of those who would claim that Pope Francis governs through fear."
FRANCIS: THE POPE OF THE COUNCIL
Francis is one of the most polarizing figures of the 21st century, and perhaps the most controversial pontiff since Blessed Pius IX. It seems that either one loves him or decries him as an enemy. Why?
BE NOT ORDAINED: MOVE BEYOND THE SAME OLD SONG AND DANCE ON WOMEN'S ORDINATION
Hiding behind God-language is an old theological sleight of hand to obscure power. That era is over. The exits to the church are well marked and increasingly well used.
POPE FRANCIS TELLS ‘KEYBOARD WARRIORS’ TO PUT ASIDE ONLINE POLEMICS
The pope warned that it is possible to have “misdirected zeal” that is “doggedly persistent in the observance of purely human and obsolete norms for the Christian community."
POPE FRANCIS SAID THE PAPACY IS ‘FOR LIFE.’ DOES THAT MEAN HE SHOULD NEVER RESIGN?
Catholic experts weigh in on the likelihood of Pope Francis resigning in office — and whether we need a 25th amendment for popes.
CARDINAL MCELROY'S CALL FOR 'RADICAL INCLUSION' REFLECTS POPE FRANCIS' PASTORAL VIEW OF THE CHURCH
Francis envisions a consciously expansive church, characterized as a mother that excludes no one.
THE BATTLE OVER VATICAN II: NAVIGATING MODERNITY, SYNODALITY, AND THE LITURGY WARS
Today, virtually all ecclesiological discourse revolves around the council and its legacy.
THE RISE OF RELIGIOUS DISAFFILIATION
How to describe the growing phenomenon of waning American religiosity? Today we speak neutrally of “the unaffiliated,” describing the dramatic increase in their numbers as “the rise of the nones”
THERE IS NO CIVIL WAR IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
There is no schism ahead, only the proper ordering of us into the right places for the salvation of our souls.
POTUS AND POPE ARE AT ODDS, BUT IT’S NOT THE FIGHT CONSERVATIVES WANTED
The current situation is a poignant reminder for American Catholic conservatives of the ancient wisdom to be careful what you wish for, because you will surely get it.
WHEN BISHOPS ATTACK: HOW POPE FRANCIS HANDLES HIS CRITICS
Francis’ tried and true first response to attacks or criticism is silence. If dialogue is possible, he will attempt that; if not, the next step is discerning action.
BLESSED POPE JOHN PAUL I WAS 'AN EFFECTIVE PEACEMAKER'
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, praises Pope John Paul I's immense impact as a peacemaker during his brief, 34-day pontificate.
ROME’S CHRISTIAN REVOLUTIONARY
Constantine’s active support of his new religion was vital to the expansion and success of Christianity.
'ASTONISHING': UPCOMING US BISHOPS' ASSEMBLY WON'T DISCUSS POPE FRANCIS' ONGOING SYNOD
The latest stark example of how the U.S. episcopate has sometimes resisted or dismissed Francis' priorities for the universal church.
CELIBACY IN THE CHURCH AND THE PRIESTHOOD
It is a paradox that this state is “objectively superior” precisely because it points to, and not away from, the goodness of marriage, and thus its real and intrinsic beauty.
LATEST VATICAN GIG CEMENTS FARRELL AS FRANCIS’S FAVORITE AMERICAN
Another way in which his star continues to rise, making him arguably the most prominent American, and one of the most prominent figures generally, in this pontificate.
WHAT SHOULD THE US CATHOLIC BISHOPS TALK ABOUT AT THEIR MEETING IN FLORIDA?
If you were asked by your local bishop what topics they should discuss, what would you suggest? It’s likely that nothing you’d suggest is on the official agenda.
A NUN MAKES THE CASE FOR WOMEN DEACONS TO POPE FRANCIS
The women invited the pope to consider the full and equal participation of women in the church, including through preaching in parish settings and ordination as deacons.
FROM JOHN TO PAUL – THE SOLITUDE OF SUCCESSION
In the end perhaps that is what matters most – when you can love and respect the head of your Church despite the disagreements.
FAITHFUL TO THE MAGISTERIUM, FAITHFUL TO CHRIST
First published in 1981 (revised in 2006), this book put to rest many of the radical traditionalist errors and misconceptions of its time and is even more relevant today.
THE US CATHOLIC BISHOPS' SPRING MEETING, OR CLERICALISM 101
The optics of the latest meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Orlando this past week (June 14-16) tell the story. It is not about us.
US BISHOPS' SPRING ASSEMBLY HIGHLIGHTS LEADERSHIP'S MEDIOCRITY
The bishops are so divided on so many issues, they really could use their June meeting to try and find ways to overcome those divisions.
ASSEMBLY OF US CATHOLIC PRIESTS DISCUSSES CALLS FOR WOMEN'S ORDINATION
The AUSCP also called on the bishops to publicly call for continuing development of church teaching on human sexuality.
IS THE EUCHARISTIC REVIVAL AN EXERCISE IN CHEAP GRACE?
While the fourth part of the revival's parish segment briefly alludes to a "mission to the poor," the main goal is to bring people back to the institutional church.
MORE THAN HALF A MILLION LEFT GERMANY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH LAST YEAR AS ABUSE SCANDAL SWIRLS
The departures left the number of Catholic Church members in Germany at nearly 20.94 million, just under a quarter of the population.
POPE FRANCIS IS APPOINTING MORE YOUNG BISHOPS. WILL THEY SECURE HIS LEGACY?
Pope Francis is ensuring that bishops who support his vision for the church will be serving the church as top leaders long after the Francis papacy ends.
TWO RITES AND TWO SHARES IN THE ONE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST
Many of the catastrophic failures among ordained ministerial priests in recent decades are, first and foremost, transgressions of the baptized priestly identity, of the priestly holiness proper to all Christians.
VICTOR MANUEL FERNÁNDEZ APPOINTED TO DICASTERY FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
Fernández is perhaps best known as a participant in the two synods on the family, where he helped draft the synod’s final document, and for assisting Pope Francis in writing Amoris Laetitia.
ARCHBISHOP FERNÁNDEZ’ APPOINTMENT IS SIGNIFICANT IN LIGHT OF THE CHURCH’S ONGOING SYNOD PROCESS
The appointment of Archbishop Victor Fernández to lead the Church’s doctrine office has set off an ecclesial earthquake.
ANTHEM OF POPE FRANCIS’S CONSISTORY: ‘I WANT IT ALL, AND I WANT IT NOW’
The bottom line is that this is a pope who wants it all – and, even if he can’t have it all right now, he can at least make sure his people are positioned to have it when the time comes.
WOMEN DEACONS? - THE SYNODAL PROCESS & WOMEN’S ORDINATION
There will be significant argumentation against ordaining women as deacons, but to say women cannot be ordained, only installed to a quasi-diaconal ministry, insults their baptismal equality.
POPE FRANCIS’ CARDINAL APPOINTMENTS EMPHASIZE UNITY AHEAD OF SYNOD
Though the latest crop of cardinals represents a wide array of countries and experiences, they all have an easily traceable thread of reconciliation and unity on their resumes.
FRANCIS NOW HAS THE CARDINALS HE NEEDS FOR THE NEXT CONCLAVE. IS IT ENOUGH?
He has made the college more international, less European, less curial, more pastoral and less ideological.
THEOLOGY BY PULL QUOTE
Anybody writing about Church affairs on the internet should take care to distinguish between this style of communicating and the style appropriate to extended, serious argument.
POPE FRANCIS' NEW VATICAN DOCTRINAL CHIEF SIGNALS ENORMOUS CHANGE FOR CATHOLIC CHURCH
The appointment is noteworthy both for who was appointed and for the pope's bold articulation of a new mandate for the notorious dicastery.
FRANCIS FINDS HIS STRIKER
The appointment of Fernández has once again shown Francis’ willingness to shake things up in the Church.
SISTERS MODEL WOMEN'S DIACONAL MINISTRY IN THE AMAZON
Through their witness, Catholics in the Amazon are helping Catholics engaged with the questions of the global synod to imagine what breathing new life into permanent diaconate could mean for the church in the third millennium.
UNMET EXPECTATIONS OF VATICAN II
Addressing the Unmet Expectations of Vatican II: The success of synodality will hinge on far more than a ressourcement to the sources of Vatican II.
SOME U.S. SEMINARIES REPORT SURGE IN ENROLLMENTS EVEN AS NATIONWIDE NUMBERS REMAIN FLAT
A vital question for the Church is: What’s driving localized spikes in seminarian enrollment? And can it be replicated elsewhere?
POPE FRANCIS IS ONE OF THE OLDEST POPES IN HISTORY - HE’S SHOWING NO SIGN OF SLOWING DOWN
Francis appears determined to continue working at high speed in this final stretch of his ministry.
CATHOLICISM IS UNIVERSAL. STOP MAKING IT ‘MEMBERS ONLY.’
It is time to embrace the Catholic vision for all it’s worth. Our mission is worldwide. Our teaching really does touch everything. We need to concentrate harder on our universal welcome.
WORLD YOUTH DAY – SUDDENLY THERE’S BELIEF IN THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
The enthusiasm, excitement and prayerfulness seen at World Youth Day surprised many observers and has changed the narrative about Catholicism’s appeal to young people in Europe and beyond.
CARDINAL DOLAN: THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS TOO MANY SEMINARIES
To provide quality formation—human, academic, spiritual and pastoral—to our future priests is a sacred duty. We would be able to do this better if we had fewer seminaries, all of them excellent ones.
HOW DARK MONEY IS INFLUENCING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
“Playing God: American Catholic Bishops and the Far-Right" exposes the elite donors financing conservative causes in Catholic institutions.
GETTING READY FOR THE NEXT CONCLAVE
Pope Francis' cardinal electors do not know each other well; they should take their time to elect a pope.
THE POPE & THE AMERICANS - THE U.S. EPISCOPATE IS UNPARALLELED IN ITS RESISTANCE TO FRANCIS
This is not a schism, but it’s not loyal dissent either, since it questions Francis’s service to the Church and the faith. And it’s abetted by social media.
THE NEW AMERICANISM HERESY - ONCE AGAIN, AMERICAN BISHOPS ARE AT ODDS WITH THE VATICAN
While some conservative Catholics professed to be dismayed by the pope’s remark, no one disputed that America is a hotbed of anti-Francis criticism. Or that American bishops are leading the charge.
BISHOPS SHOULD GET REGULAR PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
We often think of the accountability of the parish priest to the diocesan bishop or local ordinary. But for better and worse, the hierarchical structure stops there.
NEW CROP OF CARDINALS SHOWS FRANCIS’ PUSH FOR DIALOGUE, WHATEVER THE COST
From the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to relations with China and Russia, Pope Francis has made dialogue a key theme of his pontificate, a principle reflected in his latest crop of new cardinals.
MOMENT OF TRUTH FOR FRANCIS
The October synod assembly in Rome is shaping up to be a significant moment both for the Francis papacy and the Church of the early twenty-first century.
THE CONSERVATIVE CATHOLIC 'MISINFORMATION' CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
The style of exercising the papacy is at the heart of why conservative Catholics have deep misgivings about Francis' ministry and his emphasis on synodality.
POPE FRANCIS HAS STACKED THE NEXT CONCLAVE — BUT WILL IT MATTER?
In Pope Francis' new global church, the Vatican pastime of predicting the next pope gets increasingly trickier.
THE NONRELIGIOUS ARE A GROWING US PHENOMENON. THEY REALLY DON'T LIKE ORGANIZED RELIGION
But they're not just a statistic. They're real people with unique relationships to belief and nonbelief, and the meaning of life.
USCCB CANDIDATES' SLATE SHOWS A DIVIDED CONFERENCE
The choices the bishops make when they gather Nov. 13-16 in Baltimore for their fall plenary assembly will be a good indication of the direction in which the body of bishops wish to go.
THE VATICAN BRIEFING PODCAST: A KEY BISHOP CONSIDERS WOMEN DEACONS
Australian Bishop Shane Mackinlay, elected by his peers to be part of the Synod of Bishops' Commission for the Synthesis Report, expresses openness to ordaining women as Catholic deacons.
FINDING A WAY BETWEEN ‘CAFETERIA CATHOLICISM’ AND CATHOLIC FUNDAMENTALISM
Richard Gaillardetz, the Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College and the author of By What Authority? Foundations for Understanding Authority in the Church, speaks about the nature of authority and change in the church.
CARDINAL PIERRE ON WHY THE U.S. BISHOPS ARE STRUGGLING TO CONNECT WITH POPE FRANCIS
They are “good men,” he said, but “they are all struggling” to find ways to evangelize in this new moment in history and to cope with the economic fallout from the abuse scandal.
SYNOD EXPECTED TO BE MAJOR DISCUSSION ITEM AT US BISHOPS' FALL MEETING
A little more than two weeks after Pope Francis wrapped up the first of two major Rome summits on the future of the Catholic Church, the U.S. bishops will meet for their fall assembly in Baltimore Nov. 13-16.
POPE FRANCIS AXES FIREBRAND TEXAS BISHOP STRICKLAND, DARLING OF RIGHT-WING TWITTER
The Vatican announced Nov. 11 that Pope Francis had effectively fired Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland, a firebrand prelate who in recent years questioned the safety of the coronavirus vaccines, called synodality "garbage," and endorsed a video that attacked Francis himself as a "diabolically disoriented clown."
IN NEW POLITICAL DOCUMENT, CATHOLIC BISHOPS EMPHASIZE ABORTION OVER CLIMATE CHANGE
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops convened this week for an annual gathering that was, overall, more subdued than in recent years.
COMPETING VISIONS OF SYNODALITY AT BISHOPS’ MEETING
Differing assessments of the U.S. church’s level of commitment, with the pope’s representative urging a greater emphasis on listening and synodality and the president of the bishops’ conference defending evangelization efforts.
US BISHOPS FUMBLE THE BALL ON GLOBAL WARMING AND SYNODALITY
One can only wonder how different the bishops' meeting would have been if they had consulted in a synodal fashion with the laity.
MALACHI OFFERS A STERN WARNING TO PRIESTLY LEADERSHIP
Toxic zeal and religious indifference are both deadly. Malachi is a bleak prophet with nothing good to say about his society in general and religious leaders in particular.
CONSERVATIVE PRIESTS AND LIBERAL LAITY: CAN THE SYNOD HEAL OUR DIVIDES?
To be sure, not all differences amount to divisions. We should both expect and respect diversity of all kinds in the church. The church, after all, is supposed to be universal.
TRADITIONAL OR PSEUDO-TRADITIONAL?
We are so used to the idea of “the faith” as consisting in the statements presented in catechisms and textbooks that we have lost sight of the faith from which those statements flow.
WHAT POPE FRANCIS SAID ABOUT CARDINAL BURKE
The question most Catholics have in response to the decision of Pope Francis to remove the Vatican privileges of Cardinal Raymond Burke will not be, “why did he do this?” but “what on earth took him so long?”
ON URGENT ISSUES, US CATHOLIC BISHOPS SHOULD FOLLOW THE POPE’S LEAD
Catching up with Francis, a recommendation for his top guys in America to push climate to the top of their political agenda. Maybe even make it a preeminent priority. Along with democracy
WHEN CAN THE POPE FIRE A BISHOP?
Those who agree with Francis will think he was right in disciplining Burke and Strickland. Those who do not will tend to see the moves as an abuse of authority. Both sides are less principled than they claim. We support whatever position helps our side achieve its goals.
POPE FRANCIS AT 87 - IS IT TIME FOR HIM TO SLOW DOWN?
Pope Francis turns 87 next week and has shown almost no sign of slowing down. “Almost.”
STUDY: MOST AMERICANS ARE SPIRITUAL BUT A GROWING NUMBER SAY THEY ARE NOT RELIGIOUS
Among the spiritual but not religious, 38% say religion does more harm than good, while just 7% of religious Americans share this view.
FRANCIS, STRICKLAND & BURKE
Today, it’s the ability to project a dumbed-down and stereotypically bigoted version of Catholic tradition that gets rewarded: Catholicism as a meme. The pope’s response to U.S. Catholic conservatism.
PPOPE FRANCIS TAKES ON UNPRECEDENTED ATTACKS FROM AMERICAN OPPONENTS
In one corner: Pope Francis, who insists on a merciful Catholic Church open to everyone, a “field hospital” ready to bind up the wounds of a suffering humanity. In the other corner: a small but vocal minority that has set itself against the Pontiff and his reforms.
THE MOST IMPORTANT STORIES FROM THE VATICAN IN 2023
Francis has continued to push for changes in the church, braving daunting opposition and several medical scares.
POPE FRANCIS TELLS CURIA: THE REAL CATHOLIC DIVIDE IS NOT BETWEEN PROGRESSIVES AND CONSERVATIVES
Sixty years after the [Second Vatican] Council, we are still debating the division between ‘progressives’ and ‘conservatives,’ while the real difference is between lovers and those who have lost that initial passion.
CAN THE CHURCH CHANGE?
Church teachings and traditions have always evolved to meet new challenges. But Catholics can't seem to agree on what the limits of this evolution should be.
POPE FRANCIS IN 2024 – A YEAR IN GOD’S TIME
His biographer says the Pope is alive, alert, calm and very much in charge. His greatest test in the year ahead will be how successfully he is able to hold the tension between truth and mercy.
PRIESTS SHOULD HAVE OPTION TO MARRY – ARCHBISHOP CHARLES SCICLUNA
In an interview with Times of Malta, Scicluna acknowledged celibacy still has and will continue to have a place in the Church, but said he learnt from experience that priests should also be given the option to marry, just like in Churches of the Oriental rite.
ALWAYS WITH THE POPE: THE PAIN OF A FATHER BEING HURT
It has been very painful to witness in recent weeks numerous attacks, criticisms and suspicions against Pope Francis, against Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and against the ordinary Magisterium.
PROPOSAL FOR MARRIED CLERGY RAISES INTERESTING COMPLICATIONS
Change, in the church or in the world, always brings unintended consequences. That fact is no impediment to embracing change. Foreseeable consequences, intended or not, must be reckoned with.
‘ANTI-POPE.’ ‘BLASPHEMOUS.’ CRITICISM OF FRANCIS COMES IN STRIDENT TERMS
The barrage of criticism presents a direct challenge to his papacy and renews an age-old question for the Roman Catholic Church: How far is too far when you fault a pope?
65 YRS AGO, JOHN XXIII ANNOUNCED THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL
[He] announced the opening of an ecumenical council for the universal Church and a synod for the Diocese of Rome. He placed particular emphasis on the ecumenical dimension, which stems from a growing need for unity between Christian confessions.
HOW CARDINAL FERNÁNDEZ IS CHANGING THE VATICAN DOCTRINE OFFICE
he dicastery, under Cardinal Fernández’s leadership, has charted a new course — one that is less concerned with censuring theologians and more concerned with developing a theology that meets people in the complex situations of modern life.
SYNODAL DISCERNMENT AND WOMEN IN THE DIACONATE
To argue against restoring women to the diaconate is to argue against diaconal ministry itself.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH NEEDS MARRIED PRIESTS NOW
For the Catholic Church it is a question of whether we are going to have the Eucharist or not. At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me.” He did not say, “Be celibate.”
FROM CLERICALISM TO COMMUNION: THE CHURCH'S NEVER-ENDING CONVERSION
Many women at the synod noted that clericalism continues to "scar the face of the Church." This month, we ask our panelists: What is the spiritual conversion needed in order for healing to take place?
OUT OF THIS DARKNESS
What form of Christianity is coming? What will the Church look like in the new era? The old categories dividing belief from unbelief ... practising from non-practising, are insufficient.
THE MYTH OF THE ONTOLOGICAL SUPERIORITY OF THE PRIEST
The notion of priest as 'ontologically superior' to the rest of the faithful is a myth - one that is a major factor in the institutionalization of clericalism in the Catholic Church.
POPE FRANCIS NEEDS TO REFORM PAPAL ELECTION PROCESS — CAREFULLY
The process for choosing a pope is not divinely inspired. It is a human creation that has changed over time and can change again.
ATTACKING POPE FRANCIS, ANONYMOUS CARDINAL SEEKS TO CURB THE INFLUENCE OF HIS PAPACY
'Demos II' mourns a church of the past and his own loss of power in it. He asserts that the church is not a democracy, but publicly releases his diatribe in the hopes of swaying public opinion to pressure the cardinals at the next conclave.
THE GERMAN SYNOD & FRANCIS’S LEGACY
The Vatican’s warnings to German bishops may be more about preserving synodality in the next papacy than about fears of schism over progressive politics.
HERE IN THE US, CATHOLICISM IS FOR SALE
Provocative pop-ups like Catholics for Catholics are ecclesiastical equivalents of a financial scam. Don't give away the password to your spiritual account.
A PASCHAL MYSTERY
Have the U.S. bishops downplaying a paradigm of Christianity? What a shame that they chose not to talk about it. But it’s not going away. As part of the legacy of the Council, it remains with us, no matter what.
‘THERE ARE STILL SO MANY THINGS TO DO,’ POPE SAYS IN NEW MEMOIR AMID RESIGNATION RUMORS
The new book, ‘Life: My Story Through History,’ is being published in Europe and the United States on the 11th anniversary of Pope Francis’ tenure at the helm of the Catholic Church.
UNAFFILIATED AMERICANS ARE THE ONLY GROWING RELIGIOUS GROUP
A new PRRI survey shows that religiously unaffiliated Americans are the only group that has seen steady growth over the past decadeThe Catholic Church saw the largest decline in religious affiliation of any religious group in 2023.
CAN INCLUSIVE CHURCHES GROW AND THRIVE?
The reality of our lives, the differences inherent in our world and among one another, and the complications of histories are like water: always finding the smallest of gaps until the veneer pulls off and the story doesn’t seem to cover as much as it used to.
FULL TEXT OF POPE FRANCIS’ URBI ET ORBI BLESSING FOR EASTER 2024
“Urbi et orbi” means “To the city [of Rome] and to the world.” It is a special apostolic blessing given by the pope every year on Easter Sunday, Christmas, and other special occasions.
WHY POPE FRANCIS IS WORRIED ABOUT SEMINARIES AND YOUNG PRIESTS WITH ‘AUTHORITARIAN ATTITUDES’
In this special “Deep Dive” episode of “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle speaks to seminarians, rectors, professors and psychologists from across North America to give a comprehensive picture of seminary formation today and the challenges formators are seeing.
CATHOLIC PARISHES DISPROPORTIONATELY CLOSED IN POOR, BLACK AND LATINO NEIGHBORHOODS
Priest shortages have played a significant role in the decisions to close parishes
NINE FACTS ABOUT U.S. CATHOLICS
The Pew Research Center released a new fact sheet that contains nine demographic and statistical facts about the Catholic population in the United States, based on the center’s numerous surveys.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MOST OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN BALTIMORE CLOSE?
The loss to local communities is likely to be substantial. Two years in the making, the plan would consolidate the number of parishes from 61 to 21 and reduce the number of “worship sites” from 59 to 26, affecting many of the city’s landmark churches.
GROWTH AND DECLINE IN THE US CATHOLIC CHURCH
Catholicism is still the largest denomination in the country, but the ethnic and geographic distribution of the Catholic population has changed.
WHY PEOPLE ARE REJECTING RELIGION — AND HOW TO DRAW THEM IN
If people are not even conscious of a need for religion, the church must also ask how it can help people recognize that the most basic restlessness only finds its rest in God.
POPE FRANCIS NEEDS TO STOP TREATING VATICAN OFFICIALS LIKE PRINCES
The Vatican Curia needs to be pulled into the 19th century of Tönnies and Weber, when royal courts gave way to modern bureaucracies as instruments of governance.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOESN’T NEED TRANSITIONAL DEACONS
Eliminating a seminary diaconate is not only possible but necessary for envisioning a mature and fully formed diaconate for the future.
‘A STEP BACK IN TIME': AMERICA’S CATHOLIC CHURCH SEES AN IMMENSE SHIFT TOWARD THE OLD WAYS
Generations of Catholics who embraced the modernizing tide sparked in the 1960s by Vatican II are increasingly giving way to religious conservatives who believe the church has been twisted by change.
YOUNG U.S. CATHOLICS WANT MORE ORTHODOXY. THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY REJECT VATICAN II
Catholic life in the United States is deeply rooted in the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. But that might not mean what you think it means.
UNDERSTANDING AMERICA'S OVERLOOKED RELIGIOUS MIDDLE
In America's religious landscape, the groups attracting the most public attention are those staking out the poles in our political divides.
WHAT WOULD CHANGE IN A CHURCH UNITED THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT? EVERYTHING!
The gift of the Holy Spirit (God within us) is intended for the whole of humanity, not only the chosen people.
WHY NOT WOMEN? THE ALL-MALE PRIESTHOOD IS NO SMALL MATTER
If there are outward signs of inner grace, then surely there are outward signs of inner corruption, signs that betray our faults, our sinfulness, our blindness, our failings.
CHURCH NEEDS THEOLOGIANS WHO GRAPPLE WITH MODERN WORLD, POPE SAYS
Because faith in God is not abstract but impacts the way people live and interact with others, theologians must engage with experts in other fields of knowledge as they investigate and explain the Christian faith.
LIBERAL CATHOLICISM, BEYOND THE CARICATURES
Debates between conservative and liberal Catholics have been going on for a long time. We haven’t always done very well in the past. But it is to be hoped that we can do better than our present dismal performance.
WHO WILL HOLD THE KEYS OF ST PETER NEXT? THE UPS AND DOWNS OF EXPERTISE
When you have the oldest reigning pope in the last 120 years, and one with a concentric set of health challenges, speculation about what may come next is inevitable.
INSTITUTIONAL DIVERSITY AND IDENTITY IN CATHOLIC EDUCATION
In life and education, if we aim for that diversity and dappledness without unity beyond change, we will get neither.
ON SHOCK TALK, WHAT IF POPE FRANCIS KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE’S DOING?
It presumes a pope who knows exactly what he’s doing, even if it upends people’s expectations or offends their sensibilities – i.e., it assumes a pope very much like the one we’ve got.
POPE'S COMMENTS ON BLESSING SAME-SEX COUPLES AND GAY MEN IN SEMINARIES ARE NOT AS SHOCKING AS SOME THINK
Is this the same pope who, early in his pontificate, when asked about a gay clergyman who keeps his vows, asked rhetorically, "Who am I to judge?" Yes, it is.
BECOMING A UNIVERSAL CHURCH
The world has entered the era of a post-secularized society, and there is an urgent need to find a language that will enable the Church to proclaim the Good News in this challenging context.
THE PEOPLE’S PRIESTS - THE SCOURGE OF CLERICALISM
We’re used to the idea that priests are there to serve laypeople (even if, realistically, it doesn’t always happen in practice). But we are less familiar with the idea that their priesthood is a “means” for the promotion of our own.
ARCHBISHOP VIGANÓ CHARGED WITH SCHISM BY THE VATICAN, WILL FACE TRIAL
The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has formally charged Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó, former nuncio to the United States, with schism and has opened a penal trial. If convicted, he would be excommunicated and could also be removed from the clerical state.
SAFEGUARDING: THE COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PROPHECY AND THE CHURCH
Safeguarding as a prophetic work of the Church is a complex task. It can succeed only if it is understood as a common task of all those who live and work together in different social structures.
IN REIMAGINING THE PAPACY, DON’T UNDERESTIMATE ITS STAR POWER
If we didn’t have a papacy, in other words, we’d have to invent it – and that’s a point worth bearing in mind, especially as the project of reimagining the office unfolds.
HOW CATHOLIC SEMINARIES CAN SERVE THE CREATIVE EXPLOSION IN US CATHOLIC EDUCATION
Catholic seminaries can stop their own decline by re-envisioning their role in the life of the church.
THE CHURCH AND THE COUNCIL: FROM OCTOBER 19, 1963
John Courtney Murray: "The conciliar Fathers as a body are searching within themselves, as it were, to find and express the Church's consciousness of herself."
A CHURCH FOR THE THIRD MILLENIUM
Change in the Church, especially cultural change, requires ingenuity and patience but in spite of some resistance there are signs that ‘synodal reform’ is beginning to put down roots.
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