Author: Daniel Amiri

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Douthat Chronicles a Nonexistent War

Ross Douthat’s book, To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism, is, as far as criticisms of Francis’ papacy go, well-written and enjoyable to read. As a conservative, I have appreciated Douthat’s writings on other topics as I have found them to be challenging, insightful, and nuanced. Sadly, this is not the case with this book. Daniel AmiriDaniel Amiri is a Catholic layman, finance professional, and armchair theologian. A graduate of theology...

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Woke Catholicism

Francis has asked much of Catholics, particularly young Catholics, over the last five years. Francis’ papacy was almost immediately characterized in social media as a pendulum swing away from Benedict, away from the hardline teachings and Latin Mass and all the trappings. The new Pope’s statements coupled with the response of an eager secular media gave the impression that the Church was going to be subjected to a rapid development of doctrine and the abandonment...

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Wenders: A Pope for the Fringes

The Church, as seen through the eyes of Wim Wenders and his recent film Pope Francis: A Man of His World, takes on the appearance of a Church, dirty and bruised. This of course is a reference to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium: “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging...

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Malforming Consciences in Ireland

I watched in sadness as the Eighth Amendment vote in Ireland unfolded. While, like most Americans, I know people with familial connections to Ireland, I had no means to influence the vote in even a minimal way. Like a bad movie where the disappointing ending is telegraphed from the first act, the ultimate vote was tragic but sadly not unexpected. Before proceeding on this contentious issue, I’d like to ensure my readers are familiar with...

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The Space Between: A Criticism of Lawler’s Lost Shepherd

Philip Lawler, in his book Lost Sheperd, argues that Francis is creating confusion intentionally as a means to usher in radical changes that could not be carried out through the formal processes of the Church. By introducing question marks into bedrock doctrines of the Christian faith, the Pope is setting the stage for liberalizing change. If a Pope, therefore, wants to allow for women priests, he won’t be able to issue a formal declaration, given...

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The Cross of Truth and Love

There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know Donald Rumsfeld’s famous formulation has been applied to a variety of subjects and topics. It’s universality speaks to the desire to know, the limits of human understanding, as well as the ability of...

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Work Is for Man: A Deeper Look at the CDF’s Quaestiones

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently published in English a wonderful summary of Catholic teaching on markets and money. Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones discusses broad principles and then applies them to specific situations, including the most recent financial crisis, the LIBOR rigging scandal, and the abuse of derivatives. One development that lacks explicit mention, however, is Universal Basic Income (UBI). The reason for this may be that UBI is more of a...

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Chaos and the Spirit

Catholics who are alive in Christ know that “in hope we are saved.” We know and trust that God is working, even in what appears to be chaos, to bring salvation to the world. The beginning of Lumen Gentium contains this beautiful passage: When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that He might continually sanctify...

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Don’t Backstop the Pope

Francis is the Pope of the Catholic Church, but at this unique point in our history, we have a Pope Emeritus too. Sure, the old Benedict cardboard cut-outs have been taken down, but they haven’t been thrown away. They’ve been hiding in a back closet for five years, ready to come out for big events. Below, I recall the writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 3: do not let your preferences, even for a holy...

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Did Amoris Laetitia open the door to contraception coverage at Notre Dame?

In February of this year, Fr. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of the University of Notre Dame, wrote a letter explaining that after years of fighting in court, and even after being granted an exemption by the federal government under the Trump administration, Notre Dame would allow for their health insurance programs to directly cover “simple” and non-abortifacient contraceptives. In this statement, Fr. Jenkins referred to the “conscientious” decisions of Notre Dame’s employees and students...

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Understanding Francis: Our Personal Call to Holiness

Gaudete et Exsultate (GE) is a very personal call of the Holy Father to each of the faithful to live holy lives. More specifically, it is a poignant invitation to put ourselves before the Lord, for it is the Lord who calls us and the Spirit who guides us to holiness, which is our happiness (GE 64). Francis addresses the exhortation in several places explicitly to “you” including a whole section entitled “Your Mission in...