Category: Evangelii Gaudium

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What should the Church do?

In a recent blog post titled “The Numbers” Don’t Look Good—What Should the Church Do?, Msgr. Charles Pope reflected on the drop in Mass attendance and reception of the Sacraments over the past several decades. And the numbers don’t look good. One example: in 1970, 54.9% of Catholics went to Mass weekly; that percentage dropped to 21.1% by 2018. The other statistics are just as bad. For some, this decline may be shocking. But for...

Romano Guardini: A Brief Introduction to the Theology of Pope Francis

While well-educated and academically trained, it can be said that Pope Francis does not belong to any one “school.” He is not strictly an “Augustinian” or a “Thomist,” though he cites Aquinas quite liberally. However, one person to whom we can likely grant a place of honor is Romano Guardini, to whom Francis devoted his doctoral studies. Guardini, of course, was one of the great thinkers of the early 20th century whose work heavily influenced...

A Brief Introduction to the Theology of Pope Francis

In God’s gift of faith, a supernatural infused virtue, we realize that a great love has been offered us, a good word has been spoken to us, and that when we welcome that word, Jesus Christ the Word made flesh, the Holy Spirit transforms us, lights up our way to the future and enables us joyfully to advance along that way on wings of hope. Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei It has been suggested before that...

The Perils of Theologizing Human Culture

What does a completely divinized culture look like? Will everyone pray the Divine Office? Will they go to Mass daily? What liturgy will be celebrated?  What clothes would be acceptable to wear in everyday life? The idea of a culture rooted in Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is inherently attractive. United together in faith, we can leave our human sinful ways behind along with all the trappings. We can shed...

The Virtue of Not Being Weird

The Christian ideal will always be a summons to overcome suspicion, habitual mistrust, fear of losing our privacy, all the defensive attitudes which today’s world imposes on us. Many try to escape from others and take refuge in the comfort of their privacy or in a small circle of close friends, renouncing the realism of the social aspect of the Gospel. (Evangelii Gaudium 88) Recently I was talking with a friend of mine about different Catholic...

Pastors Gotta Pastor

The Christian faithful need pastors to guide them in the truth, to help form their consciences, and to call them to greater holiness. In the past weeks (regarding the synod), years (regarding Francis’ papacy), and decades (regarding the post Vatican-II Church), many Catholics have rejected their pastors, falling into a state of categorical distrust of the Church under the guise of conscience. It’s true: the Church gives the conscience a high place.  Our experience of...

Can parish life make me holy?

I serve on my parish council at a church in an affluent suburb of St. Louis. Our parish typically gives a generous amount toward various fundraisers, including Archdiocesan special appeals, parish appeals, and missionary and service efforts, locally and abroad. It certainly is a lot to be proud of and I’m so happy to be part of such a generous parish. But the work of building parishioners up in holiness is never-ending, and any critical...

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...

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...

Pope Francis, pro-life champion (part 2)

Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part series; Click here for part 1 and here for part 3 In part 1, I have talked about how conventional pro-life media, namely LifeSiteNews (LSN) have unfairly attacked the Pope through guilt by association, when His Holiness has demonstrated commitment to the pro-life cause. But on this article I would wish to focus on the Pope’s contributions to the pro-life movement through his teaching office as the Vicar of...

Closeness is the Key to Truth

Since the first Holy Thursday of his papacy, when he moved the Mass of the Lord’s Supper to a youth prison on the outskirts of Rome, Pope Francis has used this day to paint a portrait of his vision for the Church: a Church that goes out to the margins and encounters, evangelizes, and serves others. Much has been made over the controversy from Francis’ decision to wash the feet of women and non-Catholics (and...

Reality is Greater than Ideas

Pharisees: “That man cannot be from God: he does not keep the Sabbath.” Blind Man: “Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of someone born blind; if this man were not from God, he wouldn’t have been able to do anything.” These two reactions represent two fundamentally different ways of dealing with reality, especially when it is unexpected. The first begins from an empty, narrow, and legalistic...