Author: Mike Lewis

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Fake news and seething contempt for Pope Francis

Some Catholics disagree with much of what Pope Francis says and does — this is undeniable. Believe it or not, I don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with criticizing a pope on prudential matters, at least when done thoughtfully and when consideration is given to the context and circumstances around the pope’s decision or action. In recent months, however, I have noticed that some papal critics appear to respond immediately to anything he says...

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Polarized over the pope, Viganò style

More than two weeks after the release of the sensational “Testimony” of former US apostolic nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in which he calls for the resignation of Pope Francis, the Church finds itself in a period of intense polarization that’s difficult to assess. First, if you haven’t read it, I wholeheartedly recommend Greg Daly’s recent piece in the Irish Catholic, in which he heroically attempts to parse out what we know and what we...

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Yes, the background is relevant: Behind Viganò’s “Testimony”

Two important stories broke on Saturday night (or Sunday morning, depending on where you are), and journalists and commentators around the globe have weighed in from all angles. There’s the story, and then there’s the story of the story. The first story is the most readily obvious: an 11-page “Testimony,” authored by retired Archbishop and former US Nuncio Carlo Maria Viganò, was released on the eve of the closing Mass for the World Meeting of...

Walford presents Francis with a Southampton football jersey. 1

Interview with Catholic author Stephen Walford, Part 2

(Click here to read Part 1) Today we continue our interview with Stephen Walford, author of the upcoming book Pope Francis, The Family and Divorce: In Defense of Truth and Mercy, which will be released by Paulist Press on August 28. In part 1 we discussed the abuse crisis, Walford’s background as a musician and a writer, and began to discuss the division in the Church that has followed Pope Francis’s teaching on marriage and the...

Walford with the pope 2

Interview with Catholic author Stephen Walford, Part 1

Ever since he burst onto the the scene in January 2017 with a 5000-word essay in La Stampa entitled “Amoris Laetitia: Where Truth and Mercy Embrace,” Catholic writer Stephen Walford has found himself at the center of the often heated debate in the Church over Pope Francis and his teachings. Coming on the heels of the publication of five questions (or dubia) from four cardinals who have openly challenged the orthodoxy and authority of the...

Field hospital in WWI 10

The wounded in need of a field hospital

If the American Church ever needed to resemble the field hospital that Pope Francis described in the early days of his pontificate, that time is now. The scope of the horrors inflicted upon over 1000 victims described in the Pennsylvania grand jury report released yesterday and the amount of negligence and deliberate cover-up by Church leaders in the past 70 or so years is staggering. In 2002, we thought the worst was over. Sixteen years...

Rawlins Brothers 0

The death penalty and the mystery of mercy

Regarding the death penalty, I owe my existence to the last-minute commutation of a death sentence and the eventual pardon of my great-grandfather, who murdered a child in 1904. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, my great-great-grandfather, Joseph “Crazy Joe” Rawlins, was engaged in a feud in South Georgia with a man named William L Carter. Rawlins was a farmer and a former Baptist preacher with five children, while Carter (also a farmer...

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Youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old: Serious social evils

“The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don’t even look for them any more. They have been crushed by the present. You tell me: can you live crushed under the weight of the present? Without a memory...

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Humanae Vitae and Me

Back in May, my family went to Mass in another state because we were visiting my in-laws. The kids were in rare form. Our 4-year-old daughter repeatedly tried to go under the pew, and protested loudly whenever my wife or I pulled her back and picked her up. Repeated attempts to shush her, bribe her, and punish her were fruitless. Our 1-year-old had kept us up most of the night, and was fussy and cranky...

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McCarrick update, the Prosperity Gospel, Francis in Vogue, Scandal in Honduras – Links for 7/20

Here are some of the important stories we’re following this week: 1. The Cardinal McCarrick scandal has gotten even worse. Yesterday the New York Times reported that a 60-year-old man came forward to describe the sexual abuse he suffered from McCarrick, beginning when he was 11 and continuing into his young adulthood. This man was the first baby baptized by a newly-ordained Father McCarrick in 1958. The man’s sister recounts: It was explained to us...

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McCarrick and the abuse of seminarians

On June 28, I posted about the recent revelations of credible and substantiated abuse accusations against Cardinal McCarrick by a former teenage altar boy. I also discussed Cardinal Joseph Tobin’s revelation that there have been three past accusations directed at McCarrick by adults in New Jersey, and two had been settled out of court. At the time, I also mentioned that “over the last week an increasing number of sordid stories about his sexual harassment...