Tagged: Pope Francis

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Respecting Continuity in Church Teaching

There are, unfortunately, Catholics who think that defending Pope Francis involves tearing down his predecessors. Throughout his pontificate, they have portrayed almost everything Pope Francis has done as “finally correcting” the bad practices of his predecessors and ignoring the good that they accomplished. This is a problem because these Catholics fall into the same error as those who claim that Pope Francis is a “disaster” for the Church. Both factions falsely believe there is a...

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The New Americanism, Part Four: Religious Submission

Related to the problem of liberty, noted Pope Leo XIII, is the Americanist view that “all external guidance [that] is set aside for those souls who are striving after Christian perfection as being superfluous or, indeed, not useful in any sense…”[1]  Americanism resists trustful docility to the guidance of spiritual directors and the authority of the Church. America is, after all, a nation born of the Declaration of Independence. Although Americans boast a great pioneering...

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Married priests and Querida Amazonia: my thoughts

“This sanctity is what protects and has always shielded the Church from every positivist and manipulative ideological reductionism (…) The synodal perspective does not cancel out antagonism or surprises, and neither do conflicts get solved by syncretic solutions of ‘consensus,’ resulting from the elaboration of censuses or surveys about one topic or another. That would be too reductive.”  — Pope FrancisLetter to the Pilgrim People of God in GermanyJune 29, 2019 (my translation) Prior to...

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Querida Amazonia: A Call for Authentic Inculturation

Vatican City — In his latest apostolic exhortation, Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis calls for “authentic” inculturation in the Amazon, so as to allow for the creation of a Church which truly bears the features of the region and the culture of its people. In the Pope’s latest document, published 12 February, Francis sets out a “brief framework” for the Church’s presence in the region. In reflecting on the synod that took place in October 2019, the...

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10 Essential Quotes from Querida Amazonia

1. The title “Querida Amazonia” is Portuguese / Spanish for “Dear Amazon”–as in somebody’s female beloved, or the salutation of a letter. Oftentimes (not always), a papal document with a title in a vernacular language is meant to speak to an immediate, specific socioeconomic or political problem–see Pius XI’s anti-fascist encyclicals Non abbiamo bisogno (Italian for “we do not need”) and Mit brennender Sorge (German for “with burning concern”), or Francis’s own Laudato Si’ (“Praise...

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Making things right

One of the criticisms I heard about my article on the papal hand-slapping controversy was that I was trying to excuse Pope Francis of his wrongdoing. Of course, I was very clear in my article that the Pope had not reacted well, and that he had apologized, so this criticism doesn’t really stick. However, my article did indeed try to put the whole situation in perspective: first, we have to remember the Pope’s humanity, old...

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The Pandora’s Box of Catholic Antisemitism

My great-grandfather, Pawel Turowsky, came to the United States from the Russian Empire in 1907. Two years before, the failed Russian Revolution of 1905—harbinger of the successful Revolution twelve years later—had been brutally crushed by the Tsar’s forces. A wave of state-sponsored violence against Russia’s Jewish population, scapegoated for the rebellion, soon followed. My great-grandfather, who was either Jewish himself or had some amount of Jewish paternal ancestry (accounts within my family vary), fled to...

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The Living Bridge to LGBT Catholics

Earlier this month I attended a talk by Dr. Mary Healy, professor of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, during the 2020 Encounter Conference on the topic of Christian unity. Dr. Healy proposed a wonderful image for ecumenism that I’ve been reflecting on since then. (To be clear, I’m recounting her talk from memory, so I will do my best to represent her ideas accurately.) The image that Dr. Healy used to illustrate authentic...

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Benedict, Francis, and ideology – an overlooked continuity

“But there have always been those people who, without any official title, go about disturbing the Christian community with discourses which unsettle souls: ‘Ah, no, what he said is heretical; that cannot be said, not that, the doctrine of the Church is this’. In reality, they are fanatics about things which are not clear, like those fanatics who went about sowing weeds to divide the Christian community. So, this is the problem: when the doctrine...

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It’s Japanese.

I’ve watched the video of Pope Francis slapping–in something of the manner of a YMCA self-defense class; his movements are a standard way in martial arts to break an unwanted grip on one’s arm–a young Asian woman in St. Peter’s Square numerous times now, trying to work out what the woman is saying to him. I recognized the language immediately as Japanese, a language in which I majored in college and which I can still...

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What have we become?

In his New Year’s Day homily, Pope Francis denounced violence against women as a “blasphemy against God, who was born of a woman.” CNN immediately tried to capitalize on this for sensationalistic purposes, by tying his speech to the incident the previous day, when he slapped the hand of a woman who yanked his arm violently in order to release himself from her grip. I admit I was pleasantly surprised, not by the tweet, but...

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The infallibly erring Pope

“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day” — Popular proverb, unknown author One of the criticisms against our website we most often hear is: “you think that everything the Pope does or says is infallible.” Not so. We know full well that a Pope is only infallible when he makes an ex cathedra definition (even though it is also true that the Pope is acting infallibly in a sense when he promulgates a...

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On yanking and slapping hands

Today is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God: one of the holy days of obligation of the Christmas Octave and the first day of the New Year of 2020! So what better way for a Catholic to celebrate and cheer, than to badmouth the Pope? Yes, unfortunately, yesterday and today, Catholic social media has been boiling with a viral video of Pope Francis slapping the hand of a woman. The...

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Hijacking Legitimate Authority

As I continue to work my way through the dreary Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, I notice a good deal of what I call hijacking legitimate authority. By this I mean that he claimed his interpretation of Scripture was the true meaning of Scripture. Then, when the Church rejected his interpretation, he claimed that the Church was at odds with the Bible when it was really at odds with him. Thus we see in the graphic (from Book...

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Merry Christmas!

“From the womb of Mother Church, the incarnate Son of God is born anew this night. His name is Jesus, which means: “God saves”. The Father, eternal and infinite Love, has sent him into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. The Father has given him to us with great mercy. He has given him to everyone. He has given him forever. The Son is born, like a small light flickering...

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Ecological sin and the Cosmic Temple

“Equally worrying is the ecological question (…) At the root of the senseless destruction of the natural environment lies an anthropological error, which unfortunately is widespread in our day. Man, who discovers his capacity to transform and in a certain sense create the world through his own work, forgets that this is always based on God’s prior and original gift of the things that are. Man thinks that he can make arbitrary use of the...

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Papal birthdays and second birthdays

Today, Pope Francis celebrated his 83rd birthday. According to Vatican News, The Church and the world [are] celebrating together with him in an outpouring of affection. Thousands of e-mails have been arriving, along with letters from children. Millions of people have chosen social networks to communicate their thoughts and prayers beneath a picture of the Holy Father published on “Franciscus”, his official Instagram account. Other messages have been arriving from world and religious leaders, including...

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Tagle: A missionary from and to the peripheries

On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, Pope Francis has named Cardinal Tagle  as the New Prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples. This position (also called “The Red Pope”) is considered a top Vatican post, overseeing mission territories of the Church. He is the second Asian to be appointed to this post and the second Filipino to be nominated Prefect of a dicastery (the first Filipino was the late Cardinal...

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On Capitalism: American Catholics Have a Choice to Make

The debate touched off by Senator Marco Rubio’s recent speech at the Catholic University of America reveals major fault lines within current Catholic thinking in the United States. What Rubio, who is Catholic, pointed out in his speech seemed straightforward enough: capitalism has led to a growing inequality. Many, especially the young, feel left out of a system that primarily benefits only a few and the already wealthy. Unemployment is at a record low, but...