Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pope Francis: "Laudato Si'" : Reactions and Commentary (Roundup)


Reactions and Commentary

Rounding up for reference's sake and to chart the diverse (and ideologically-fueled) reactions from all quarters. It goes w/o saying but I'll say it anyway: reading somebody else's commentary is no excuse for not reading the actual text of the encyclical itself. - Christopher

  • A Libertarian View of Francis’ Laudato Si, by Donald Devine, senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies. Library of Law and Liberty 07/30/15.

  • The Weakness of Laudato Si, by R.R. Reno. First Things 07/01/15:
    Let me be clear. I’m not criticizing Laudato Si for its substantive claims. I’m not competent to contest claims about global warming, nor am I an expert in the economics of development. In any event, I agree with Pope Francis’s main point. Although I would put the substantive issues differently, I share his view that the triumph of global capitalism poses significant and fundamental challenges that we must address—and that are going to be difficult to address because of the technocratic domination of our moral imaginations and the very terms of public debate.

    All the more reason why we need teaching, not just exhortation and denunciation. It won’t do to blame our difficulties on “those who consume and destroy,” or to insinuate, as Francis so often does, that the rich and powerful stand in the way of ecological ideals and a just social order. This is cheap populism that falsifies reality. The global ecological movement is a rich-country phenomenon funded and led by the One Percent. And it’s beside the point. If global warming presents such an immediate and dire threat, then we need clearly enunciated principles to guide our participation in debates about what’s to be done, not rhetoric. The same is true of the pressing need to encourage economic development that promotes human dignity.

  • The Theological Mind of Laudato Si’, by Eduardo Echeverria. Homiletic and Pastoral Review 06/27/15:
    my approach to the encyclical is to consider the theological mind that informs its framework. Helpfully, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (hereafter CCSD) organizes the Church’s social teaching, which has a theological-moral nature, in light of a set of distinctions that will, arguably, illuminate the architectonic framework of this encyclical. This set consists of: (1) the foundational level of motivations; (2) the directive level of norms for life in society; and (3) the deliberative level of consciences, called to mediate objective and general norms in concrete and particular situations (CCSD, §73). I now will provide a brief exposition of Francis’s encyclical in light of each of these levels in order to get at his theological mind ...

  • Where Did Pope Francis’s Extravagant Rant Come From?, by Maureen Mullarkey. The Federalist. 06/24/15:
    Propelled by the cult of feeling and Golden Age nostalgia—enshrined in the myth of indigenous peoples as peaceable ecologists—that elusive something picked up a tincture of Teilhardian gnosticism as it grew. It bursts on us now as “Laudato Si,” a malignant jumble of dubious science, policy prescriptions, doomsday rhetoric, and what students of Wordsworthian poetics call, in Keats’ derisive phrase, "the egotistical sublime."

    See also from The Federalist:

    • Pope Francis, The Earth Is Not My Sister, by Hans Fiene. The Federalist 06/23/15. "The pope thinks we should view the earth as our sister. I don’t, mainly because I have a sister. While my sister and I have had our disagreements over the years, I haven’t spent my entire life trying to stop her from killing me."
    • Pope Francis’s New Encyclical Isn’t What You Think, by Rachel Lu. The Federalist 06/23/15. "Conservatives should see Pope Francis’s encyclical as an opportunity to reflect on the ever-pressing need to respond to the dehumanizing pressures of the modern world."
  • The Miracle of Pope Francis, by William McGurn. Wall Street Journal 06/22/15:
    Other popes have issued bracing critiques of modern Western culture. Pope Francis, however, goes deeper. This encyclical is less a corrective to the excesses of science and technology and markets than it is an argument that they are fatally flawed.
  • The modern world's case against Pope Francis, by Damon Linker. The Week 06/23/15. "I's impossible not to be impressed with the theological and moral seriousness of Laudato Si', Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment. Whether it's politically and economically wise is another matter."
  • The Fatal Errors of Capitalism: Laudato Si’ & the Economy, by Keith Michael Estrada. (Guest Post) Cosmos in the Lost 06/20/15:
    While mentioning capitalism by name could be imprudent for Francis, any reader could make the following conclusion not only after reading Laudato, but after familiarizing ourselves with moral theology: the church invites us to go beyond capitalism. Not merely crony capitalism, nor mercantile capitalism, nor industrial capitalism, nor monopolistic capitalism, nor any other capitalism that could in reality be distinguished from US capitalism. Capitalism has got to go.
  • The Encyclical's Challenge is to Climate-Change Activists, not Skeptics, by Oren Cass. National Review 06/19/15. "Activists looked forward to bringing their opponents copies of the encyclical and asking, “Do you agree with the pope?” But the better question is for the activists: Do you?"

  • What Laudato Si' is really about, by Dr. Jeff Mirus. Catholic Culture. 06/19/15:
    Laudato Si’ is addressed to everyone in the entire world, not just Catholics, and not just Christians. The Pope sees that a mistaken understanding of nature, and of our role in nature, causes problems for everyone. (In fact, even if none of these problems had yet occurred, our mistaken approach to nature would inevitably cause them over time.) He sees that we have a strongly instrumentalized vision of nature. We regard it, in essence, as a kind of accident demanding technological mastery and manipulation for our own self-centered purposes.

    Nor is it any use criticizing the Pope for choosing to write on this topic, when (as many might say) “there are so many more pressing moral issues.” The whole point of the encyclical is that this instrumentalization of nature is a foundational problem. It shapes everything we do, including the pervasive contemporary tendency to undertake ever more grotesque and peculiar manipulations of nature in order to escape from despair. This instrumentalization poisons everything, not only our environment but our self-understanding. It affects our use of our own bodies, our grasp of the meaning and purpose of our sexuality, the relations between the sexes, and our attitude toward children, marriage and family life.

    This instrumentalization of nature causes us not only to abuse and dispose of the poor and marginalized through garden-variety selfishness. It is even worse than that. It causes us to abuse and dispose of ourselves.

  • Vatican's Climate Expert, an Atheist, Speaks on Impact of Leader of World's 1.2B Catholics Tackling Environment Issue Zenit. "Only if we get our acts together will the climate crisis problem be able to be overcome. This is the conviction of Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who has been a right-hand expert for Pope Francis' just-released encyclical on ecology." Interview with Deborah Castellano Lubov. Zenit News. 06/19/15.

  • “Laudato Si’”, the anti-gnostic encyclical, by Gianni Valente. "The Vatican Insider" La Stampa 06/19/15. The Christian experience of creation described in the papal document also acts as an antidote to old and new doctrines that spurn creation as an “evil” that needs to be overcome (even through ecological destruction).

  • , by Edmund Waldstein, O.Cist. Sancrusis 06/19/15:
    Pope Francis has indeed penned a cri de coeur against the destruction of God’s beautiful creation, the marring of the creatures whom God has given as so many words revealing his beauty and love, and the impoverishment and debasement of man, the destruction of human culture, and the oppression of the poor and murder of the innocent that have been the price of “progress.” But Laudato Si’ is much more than a cry of protest against the evils of modernity. What makes this a truly great and moving and beautiful encyclical is the magnificent exposition of another view of reality: a description of the true nature of the created order, in all its marvelous and interconnected glory, and of the true rôle of man as the gardener of this garden of wonders. Pope Francis’s style can at times be a tad bit rambling and prolix, and he lacks the incisive and subtle intellectual argumentation of Pope Benedict’s writings, but the shear wonder and love that suffuse Laudato Si’ makes this work of his rise to a very high level.

  • "Laudato Si": Well Intentioned, Economically Flawed, by Samuel Gregg. The American Spectator. 06/19/15:
    while most of the text’s reflections upon public policy issues focus on the environment, a subterranean theme that becomes decidedly visible from time-to-time is the encyclical’s deeply negative view of free markets. This would confirm that this pontificate’s reaction to respectful questions asked about the adequacy of the economic analysis contained in Francis’s 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium has been to simply recycle (no pun intended) some of that document’s demonstrably flawed arguments concerning the market economy’s nature and effects. ...

  • Mixing Up the Sciences of Heaven and Earth, by Fr. George W. Rutler. Crisis:
    It is noteworthy that Pope Francis would have included in an encyclical, instead of lesser teaching forms such as an apostolic constitution or motu proprio, subjects that still pertain to unsettled science (and to speak of a “consensus” allows that there is not yet a defined absolute). The Second Vatican Council, as does Pope Francis, makes clear that there is no claim to infallibility in such teaching. The Council (Lumen Gentium, n.25) does say that even the “ordinary Magisterium” is worthy of a “religious submission of intellect and will” but such condign assent is not clearly defined. It does not help when a prominent university professor of solid Catholic commitments says that in the encyclical “we are about to hear the voice of Peter.” That voice may be better heard when, following the advice of the encyclical (n.55) people turn down their air conditioners. One awaits the official Latin text to learn its neologism for “condizione d’aria.” While the Holy Father has spoken eloquently about the present genocide of Christians in the Middle East, those who calculate priorities would have hoped for an encyclical about this fierce persecution, surpassing that of the emperor Decius. Pictures of martyrs being beheaded, gingerly filed away by the media, give the impression that their last concern on earth was not climate fluctuations.

    Saint Peter, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink. As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who, for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe. At this moment, we have the paradoxical situation in which an animated, and even frenzied, secular chorus hails papal teaching as infallible, almost as if it could divide the world, provided it does NOT involve faith or morals.

  • Pope Francis Is Wrong about Air Conditioning, by Shubhankar Chhokra. National Review 06/18/15. "Pope Francis’s aversion to air conditioning may be red hot, but he himself is comfortably cool."

  • Metropolitan Zizioulas: "Laudato Si’ is an occasion of great joy and satisfaction for the Orthodox" "Vatican Insider" La Stampa 06/18/15. Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon’s address for the launch of Pope Francis’ ecology encyclical Laudato Si’. At the presentation which took place in the New Synod Hall in the Vatican this morning, the Metropilitan, acting as representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, communicated the Patriarch’s “personal joy and satisfaction” for the issuing of the encyclical. [Click link for full text].

  • "Laudato Si" focuses on the heart of man and the disorders of our age, by William L. Patenaude. Catholic World Report 06/18/15. "The central thesis is that the fallen nature of the human heart and the resulting brokenness of human relations is the cause of the crises in our lives, families, nations, and now the life-sustaining ecosystems that form our common home."

  • The challenge of Laudato Si, by Phil Lawler. Catholic Culture. 06/18/15. "But if you think Laudato Si is about climate change, I suspect you might also think that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is about suicide. Yes, the topic is mentioned; indeed it’s a very important part of the story. But it’s not the main theme."

  • If ‘Laudato Si’ is an earthquake, it had plenty of early tremors, by John Allen, Jr. Crux 06/18/15.
    Laudato Si seems destined to go down as a major turning point, the moment when environmentalism claimed pride of place on a par with the dignity of human life and economic justice as a cornerstone of Catholic social teaching. It also immediately makes the Catholic Church arguably the leading moral voice in the press to combat global warming and the consequences of climate change.

    In truth, however, none of that should be any surprise to those familiar with official Catholic teaching on the environment as it’s evolved over the last half-century.

  • Let's listen to the Pope on the Climate, by Josiah Neeley. First Things 06/18/15:
    What’s significant about Laudato Si is not that it adds anything new of substance to what scientists, economists, or prior popes have said about climate change. Rather, the encyclical is likely to be significant simply by raising the salience of the climate issue. The Great Recession temporarily knocked climate change off the front pages, and it’s an issue that a lot of us would prefer not to think about. But as 2015 appears headed to shatter another temperature record, it is becoming clearer that the climate change issue isn’t going away. One way or another, we will have to deal with it. Laudato Si is simply Pope Francis’s attempt to make our response more fruitful.
  • Pope Francis wants to roll back progress. Is the world ready?, by Matthew Schmitz. The Washington Post 06/18/15:
    Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on the environment, is the work of a profoundly pessimistic man. John Paul II may have spoken of the “culture of death” and Benedict XVI of the “dictatorship of relativism,” but not since the publication of the Syllabus of Errors in the nineteenth century has a leader of the Catholic church issued a document so imbued with foreboding.
  • The Return of Catholic Anti-Modernism, by R.R. Reno. First Things 06/18/15:
    I must report an odd, disoriented feeling when I finished reading Laudato Si. Since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has adopted a largely affirming attitude toward Western modernity. John Paul II denounced the culture of death and Benedict XVI spoke of the dictatorship of relativism. But in their teaching it was clear that they intended these as necessary criticisms to restore the religious and moral basis for modernity’s positive achievements.

    Pope Francis seems to be changing course. Laudato Si does not explain how modern science can recover a sense of humility and wonder, nor does it lay down a natural-law framework for the proper development of technology. There’s no application of Catholic social doctrine to help us think in a disciplined way about how to respond to environmental threats, or how to reform global capitalism. That would have reflected the Gaudium et Spes agenda as carried forward by the last two popes.

    Instead, Francis has penned a cri de coeur, a dark reflection on the systemic evils of modernity. Like the prophet Ezekiel, Pope Francis sees perversion and decadence in a global system dominated by those who consume and destroy. The only answer is repentance, “deep change,” and a “bold cultural revolution.”

    If Francis continues in this trajectory, Catholicism will circle back to its older, more adversarial relationship with modernity. In the nineteenth century, the Church regarded modernity’s failure to acknowledge God as damning. It led to usurpations of authority, disrespect for hierarchy, and other signs of anthropocentric self-regard. Francis’s concerns are different. He’s worried about the poor, environmental disasters, and the complacent rich indifferent to both. But his analysis is the same, and he shares a similar dire, global view of modernity as the epitome of godless sin.

  • Ideology Subsumes Empiricism in Pope's Climate Encyclical, by Lawrence M. Krauss. Scientific American 06/18/15 -- is, what you would say, entirely predictable from the perspective of a scientific materialist:
    No one can fault Pope Francis’s intentions, which are clearly praiseworthy, but his call for action on climate change is compromised by his adherence to doctrines that are based on revelation and not evidence. The Catholic Church and its leaders can never be truly objective and useful arbiters of human behavior until they are willing to dispense with doctrine that can thwart real progress.
  • Rush Limbaugh (Facebook) 06/18/15: "A man of religion, the Vicar of Christ, seems to have fallen in with the communist way of doing things: Controlling mankind through command-and-control governments backed by police or military power. This is what the pope is essentially calling for."

  • The Theological Heart of Laudato Si', by David Cloutier. Commonweal 06/18/15:
    The overall effect o the encyclical is undeniable: this is a sweeping call for change, deeply rooted in a Catholic worldview, one that burrows into every facet of our lives and deeply into the human heart, as well. Francis is here confirming what many have said: the environmental crisis is really the key to economic questions, sexual questions, spiritual questions. It is the key to everything, because the message of environmentalism is, as Francis repeats many times in the document, “everything is connected.” It is extremely telling that the “official” date of the document is Pentecost. This “birthday of the Church” is importantly about what the Church is for: not itself, but for the redemptions and renewal of all of God’s creation.
  • What the Environmental Encyclical Means: A roundup of expert analysis America Magazine. 06/18/15. [Panel discussion].

  • The Pope’s Encyclical, at Heart, Is About Us, Not Trees and Snail Darters, by George Weigel. National Review 06/18/15:
    It is probably inevitable that Laudato Si will get labeled “the global-warming encyclical” and that the label will stick. This will please some and displease others, and they will have at each other — which is no bad thing if it helps clarify that there is no simple path to meeting the twin goals of environmental protection and the empowerment (through economic development) of the poor. But the label will be misleading, I think, not because there isn’t a lot about climate change in the encyclical, but because that’s, to my mind, the least important part of Francis-the-pastor’s call to a more integral, indeed more humanistic, ecology.
  • Pope Blames Markets for Environment’s Ills Wall Street Journal 06/18/15. "... a broad and uncompromising indictment of the global market economy, accusing it of plundering the Earth at the expense of the poor and of future generations."

  • The Pope’s Moral Case for Taking On Climate Change, by Emma Green. The Atlantic 06/18/15. "Francis’s first encyclical is a cry to save the environment—and make a priority of theology over politics."

  • Pope Francis’ leaked encyclical: the good and the bad, by Christopher Ferrara. Lifesite New 06/17/15.

  • 10 Things That Won’t Be In Pope Francis’ Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, by Larry D. Acts of the Apostasy 08/16/15. "Al Gore will not be declared a Doctor of the Church, and "An Inconvenient Truth" will not be required viewing for RCIA classes."

  • Thinking About Climate Change, DarwinCatholic 06/17/15.

  • Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:
    Perhaps we can pay as much attention to the sections on markets and environment, as the catholic Left pays to Humanae vitae.

    When the libs shove it in our faces and command us to accept every word, we can pay as much attention to it as they gave to Summorum Pontificum.

  • The Pope and climate change: Francis is slapping his conservative critics in the face, by Damian Thompson. The Spectator UK. 06/17/15. "Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment comes down firmly on the side of the global warming consensus/lobby (delete according to taste) and is a slap in the face to climate sceptics of every hue. Thwack! It’s very much this Pope’s style."

  • The Last Time Conservatives Dismissed a Major Encyclical, It Ended Terribly for Them, by Jet Heer. The New Republic 06/18/15. "The Mater et Magistra dispute led to many ironic consequences. In defending National Review’s capitalist Catholicism, Buckley and Wills had provided a rationale for social liberals to ignore church teachings on sexual matters, which was especially pertinent after the Vatican released the encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968), reiterating opposition to birth control and abortion."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pope Francis Roundup


  • The blood of St. Gennaro liquefies in Francis' presence La Stampa 03/21/15:
    This is the first time it happened. San Gennaro's blood had never liquefied during a papal visit to Naples before. None of the visits paid by Pius IX, John Paul II or Benedict XVI provoked the phenomenon. But the miracle was witnessed this afternoon, after Francis' heartfelt address to faithful and clergy.

    The Pope had taken the vial with the blood of St. Gennaro - displayed on the altar - in his hands and kissed it. Cardinal Sepe said over the microphone: "It is the sign that St. Gennaro loves Pope Francis: half of the blood turned to liquid." The pronouncement was followed by a long applause from faithful. The Pope then replied: "If only half of it liquefied that means we still have work to do; we have to do better. We have only half of the saint's love." But the blood continued to liquefy until the whole relic had turned to liquid, with many faithful crying out as they witnessed this.

  • Francis lunches at Poggioreale prison La Stampa 03/21/15. Among the prisoners Francis had lunch with there were transgender people and HIV sufferers as well as guests from other correction centres in the southern Italian region in Campania.

  • TV broadcaster depicts Pope Francis as torture victim in build-up to Copa Libertadores clash 03/20/15. "How the brutal torture of the head of the Catholic Church is supposed to heighten anticipation for a football match we’ll never know, but Fox ran with it anyway – to much criticism in the largely devout South America."

  • Francis: "The death penalty is inadmissible, life imprisonment is unacceptable" La Stampa 03/20/15. Pope Francis sent out an appeal this morning in his audience with a delegation representing the International Commission against the Death Penalty. The Pope wrote a letter to President Federico Mayor, stating that capital punishment is "inadmissible, no matter how serious the crime committed by the convict".

  • 'It's time to surrender,' Pope tells crime-ridden Naples Catholic News Agency 03/21/15. "The future of Naples "is not resigned to fold in on itself, but to open to the world with confidence," he said, adding that "to hope is already to resist evil…to hope is to wager on the mercy of God, who is Father and always forgives and forgives everything."

  • 'Bishop of Bling' getting a job at the Vatican, by John Thavis. 02/10/15:
    It's still a bit of a mystery, with no official confirmation, but it seems that Pope Francis has agreed to make German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst the "delegate for catechesis" at the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization. It's a new position, created just for him. ...

    It struck some as odd that a bishop forced to resign for financial mismanagement would land any job in the Roman Curia. All the more, in this case, because under the Curia restructuring plan being hammered out by papal commissions, the council for new evangelization may well disappear sometime next year.

    However, parking problematic bishops in the Curia is a bit of a Vatican tradition.

  • Legendary Church Critic Leonardo Boff Heaps Praise On Pope Francis Worldcrunch. 03/19/15. "Leonardo Boff, a Catholic theologian and key figure of Liberation theology, was condemned for decades by the Vatican. Now, he says, the pope himself is going beyond Liberation teachings."

  • Anniversary interview: Pope talks about his election, papacy, future Catholic News Service. 03/13/15.
    Marking the second anniversary of his election March 13, Pope Francis spoke about the conclave that elected him in 2013, about his life the last two years and about the future in an interview with Valentina Alazraki of Mexico's Televisa.

    The pope even joked about the reputation Argentines have for being proud or haughty. "You know how an Argentine commits suicide?" he asked Alazraki. "He climbs to the top of his ego and jumps!"

    And, he said, while he doesn't hate being pope, he is not a fan of the travel involved and he really would like to go out of the Vatican unrecognized, perhaps "to a pizzeria to eat a pizza."

    "I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief," he said. "Four or five years. I do not know, or maybe two, three. Well, two have already passed. It's just a vague feeling."

  • Pope in Exclusive Interview: 'My Life is in God's Hands' Zenit. 03/11/15:
    ... the Holy Father decided to observe his second anniversary in the See of Peter with a long and passionate interview with La Cracova News. Some might think that the latter is an important daily or a noted agency of Latin America or, perhaps, a history TV channel. It is difficult to think, instead, that the publication in question is a magazine with the same name as that of a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in Argentina. An extravagant, unusual choice, but certainly consistent with his attention to the peripheries.

  • At Lenten penance service, pope announces Holy Year of Mercy Catholic News Service. 03/13/15:
    "I frequently have thought about how the church can make more evident its mission to be a witness of mercy," he said during his homily; that is why he decided to call a special Holy Year, which will be celebrated from Dec. 8, 2015, until Nov. 20, 2016.

    The biblical theme of the year, he said, will be "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful," an admonition that applies "especially to confessors," the pope said with a smile.

  • Pope's 'Mexicanization' comments not meant to offend, Vatican says Catholic News Service. 02/25/15:
    The phrase occurred in an email Pope Francis sent his friend Gustavo Vera, whose Fundacion Alameda is dedicated to working with victims of human trafficking and the sex trade. Vera subsequently published the email on his organization's website.

    "Hopefully we're in time to avoid the Mexicanization. I was talking to some Mexican bishops and it's a terrible situation," Pope Francis wrote in his email.

    Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade told a Feb. 23 news conference that Mexico had made great strides fighting drugs.

  • Pope Francis' Surprise Visit to a Rome Shantytown: Behind the Scenes Catholic World Report 02/10/15.
    Pope Francis made a surprise stop at a shantytown on his way to celebrate Mass at a Roman parish Feb. 8 – a "secret" plan that only the pontiff knew about and which prompted tears of joy from residents.

    "We forgot that we can cry also for joy. We cry for shame and for suffering. Today, we remembered that we can pray for joy. This was the best day of our lives."

  • Pope hands out 300 umbrellas to the homeless La Stampa 02/05/15. "First the showers, then a barber service and now a batch of umbrellas. Life seems to have become a little more bearable for homeless in the Vatican and other parts of Rome recently. And it’s all thanks to the Pope and his Almoner, Mgr. Konrad Krajewski, the man in charge of the Holy See’s charity operations."

  • Pope Francis reportedly met with a transgender man at the Vatican Washington Post 01/27/15. "There are reports in Spanish publications that Pope Francis has accepted a transgender person into the Vatican — and embraced him — after the man who was once a woman wrote him an anguished letter last year. The Vatican hasn’t corroborated the accounts, but it hasn’t denied them either." See also: Pope Francis's Meeting with Transsexual Gives 'Powerful' Hope to LGBT Catholics People Magazine. 01/27/15.

  • Pope urges new cardinals not to let nomination go to their heads Catholic News Service. 01/21/15:
    "As good Christians, they will celebrate because Christians rejoice and know how to celebrate," the pope wrote. "Accept it with humility. Only do so in a way that in these celebrations there does not creep in a spirit of worldliness that intoxicates more than grappa on an empty stomach, disorienting and separating one from the cross of Christ."


  • Why a ‘Peace Pope’ may (reluctantly) back force against ISIS, by John Allen Jr. Crux 03/21/15.

  • Noam Chomsky on Pope Francis 03/21/15. An interview clip reveals the renowned linguist’s take on the popular Catholic Church leader regarding "liberation theology" in his native Argentina. Although the recently posted video is from a 2013 interview, as the pope continues to weigh in on world issues such as LGBT rights and the death penalty, Chomsky’s comments provide a context for why many in Pope Francis’ home country are reluctant to open their arms to the pontiff.

  • Pope Francis enters his Third Year of Scolding Introverts, by Nicholas Frankovich. National Review 03/13/15. "An extrovert, Francis attaches a positive moral value to extroversion — and, as if it followed by some logical necessity, a negative moral value to extroversion’s complement, introversion."

  • Pope Francis' First Year, by George Weigel. "Perhaps now, on this first anniversary of his election to the Chair of Peter, it’s time to set aside the narratives and look at what the pope has actually said and done, in order to get a better sense of where he may be leading more than 1.2 billion Catholics and those outside the Catholic Church who look to Francis for leadership and inspiration."

  • Where Francis is Leading the Church: 10 Questions for Author Garry Wills. Sean Salai, S.J. America 03/11/15.

  • "It’s a Mistake to See Francis as Wanting Kasper’s Proposals" Author Austen Ivereigh weighs in on the Pope and the October Synod. National Catholic Reporter 03/06/15.

  • Francis Agonistes, by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig. New Republic 03/01/15. "The Pope is engaged in a struggle to bring the Church into the modern age. And American conservatives are fighting him every step of the way."
    • Foundless Francis Fantasies, by Dr. Adam A.J.DeVille. Catholic World Report03/06/15. Young leftist Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig is the latest breathless fan cheering madly at the 2015 running of the Ultramontane Sweeps.

  • Cardinal Burke Interview with Rorate Caeli 03/02/15:
    I think you have to keep teaching, in your home and in your own personal life, to hold to the truth of the faith as you know it, and also to speak up about it and to make known to the Holy Father your deep concern, that in fact you cannot accept a change in the Church's discipline which would amount to a change in her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Here I think it's very important to address a false dichotomy that's been drawn by some who say, "Oh no, we're just changing disciplines. We're not touching the Church's doctrine." But if you change the Church's discipline with regard to access to Holy Communion by those who are living in adultery, then surely you are changing the Church's doctrine on adultery. You're saying that, in some circumstances, adultery is permissible and even good, if people can live in adultery and still receive the sacraments. That is a very serious matter, and Catholics have to insist that the Church's discipline not be changed in some way which would, in fact, weaken our teaching on one of the most fundamental truths, the truth about marriage and the family.

  • The Pope in the Air James V. Schall offers "Some thoughts on remarks made by Francis in interviews while traveling to and from the Philippines in January." Catholic World Report 02/27/15:
    As I think there is much of interest in The Pope's various responses, I want to look at what Pope Bergoglio had to say. The subject matter of his answers will leap from one issue to another as befits an open inquiry. His remarks are very human, frequently humorous, often touching, sometimes dubious, always friendly and frank. The man is a distinct personality in his own right. ...

  • Pope Francis is a Leftist and Must Be Called Out, by Maureen Mullarkey. The Federalist 01/26/15. "Pope Francis has associated with revolutionaries and ideologies that destroy human life and living conditions. The right response is not silence."

  • Who’s Really at War With Pope Francis?, by Andrew M. Haines. Ethika Politika 1/23/15. "The “war with Pope Francis” is not one launched by the GOP, but rather by those whose fascination with intellectual purity remains unchecked. If you’re not dominated by “doctrine,” you’re probably not at war with the pope."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Top 10 Images From Pope Francis' Journey to the Philippines Aleteia. 01/20/15.
  • Full Text of Pope’s In-Flight Interview from Manila to Rome National Catholic Register 01/19/15. Pope Francis discussed a wide range of topics, including his upcoming trip to the U.S.; how one can be a responsible parent without resorting to birth control; the colonization of gender ideology; and the possibility of a papal trip to Africa.
  • Pope says Catholics must practice 'responsible parenthood' Catholic News Service. 01/19/15:
    Pope Francis reaffirmed his rejection of population-control programs as an example of ideological colonization and his praise of Blessed Paul VI for defending Catholic teaching against contraception.

    But "this does not mean a Christian must make children one after another," the pope said, citing the case of a woman who became pregnant an eighth time after giving birth to seven children via cesarean section.

    "Does she want to leave seven orphans?" he said. "This is tempting God."

    "Some people think -- excuse me for saying this -- that to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits," Pope Francis said, yet church teaching provides for "many licit ways" to limit reproduction.

  • Pope Francis criticizes gay marriage, backs ban on contraception, by John Allen Jr. Crux. 01/16/15:
    In points he’s made before in other settings, Pope Francis on Friday criticized what he called the “ideological colonization of the family,” language that many took as a reference to gay marriage, and also defended a previous pope who upheld the Church’s ban on contraception.

    “The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life,” Francis said.

    A Vatican spokesman confirmed Friday evening that, at least in part, the pope had gay marriage in mind.

  • Pope Francis makes surprise visit to Buddhist temple, by John Allen Jr. Crux. 01/14/15:
    ... Wednesday’s surprise drop-in at the temple was especially meaningful, given the Buddhist reaction the last time a pope visited Sri Lanka, which came with John Paul’s 1995 visit.

    It came shortly after John Paul II had angered Buddhists by calling their faith “in large measure an atheistic system” in an interview with an Italian journalist. Some Buddhist leaders boycotted an inter-religious meeting during that trip in protest.

  • Pope condemns abominable attack on Charlie Hebdo: Everyone must stand against hatred La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 01/07/15. "Murderous violence can never be justified, the life and dignity of all must be guaranteed and protected with determination, any instigation of hatred must be rejected and respect for others must be fostered."
  • Pope names 15 new cardinal electors, most from global South Catholic News Service. 01/05/15. Underscoring the geographical diversity of his selections, Pope Francis named 15 cardinal electors "from 14 nations of every continent, showing the inseparable link between the church of Rome and the particular churches present in the world."
  • Pope to Curia: 15 "Spiritual Ailments" to Avoid Sent to the world's English-speaking media by Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, English-language assistant to Father Federico Lombardi, SJ. 12/22/14:
    “The Curia is always required to better itself and to grow in communion, sanctity and wisdom to fully accomplish its mission. However, like any body, it is exposed to sickness, malfunction and infirmity. …I would like to mention some of these illnesses that we encounter most frequently in our life in the Curia. They are illnesses and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord” ...
  • Pope Francis credited for urging U.S., Cuba to normalize relations Catholic News Service 12/14/14. Pope Francis personally appealed to President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro this year to encourage both leaders to normalize diplomatic relations, a senior Obama administration official said.
  • Francis listens to critics, clarifies the issues, and stays his course, by Dr. Jeff Mirus. 12/10/14:
    Pope Francis has made a strong effort to take into account the criticisms of “conservative” Catholics which boiled over during the October Synod of Bishops. For example, he has deliberately appointed “conservative” Churchmen to important posts recently, he has explained his handling of Cardinal Burke’s change of duties, he has reiterated that the Church’s teaching on marriage cannot change, and he has emphasized how Catholics (and the world) should understand synodal controversy. ...
  • The Pope and the Hugging Guru, by Francis X. Clooney, SJ. America 12/02/14.

Francis' remark that "It is true we cannot react violently, but if Dr Gasbarri here, a great friend, were to say something insulting against my mother, a punch awaits him" cemented his street cred as an Original Gangsta.


  • Addressing antinomianism requires recognizing it, by Dr. Ed Peters. In the Light of the Law on Pope Francis' decision to appoint "5 more papal electors than the law authorizes":
    Let me be clear: it does not make a fig’s worth of difference whether 120 or 125 cardinals vote in the next papal conclave, but it does make a fig’s worth of difference, I suggest, if yet another ecclesiastical rule, set out in a major legislative document using terminology indistinguishable from that which conveys many other considerably more important rules, is ignored because this leader or that doesn’t feel like abiding by it. We have processes to reform law in the Church; looking the other way isn’t one of them—at the very least, it’s a very dangerous way to change laws.
  • The Pope said what?!? More stunners from Francis, by Daniel Burke. CNN Religion Editor. 01/19/15:
    In politics, they call it going "off message." In acting, they call it going "off script." In the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, it has become business as usual. Put the 77-year-old pontiff in front of a microphone, and he will make news.
  • Pope Francis' Ecological Encyclical - Rooted in Benedict's Pontificate? The Benedict Blog 01/15/15. "Perhaps it may be of benefit to point out that Pope Francis, in writing this encyclical, might even be taking SOME queues in this regard from his predecessor, who didn't earn the nickname "The Green Pope" for nothing."
  • Francis and Political Illusion, by Maureen Mullarkey. First Things 01/05/15:
    Francis is not a fool. He is an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist. His clumsy intrusion into the Middle East and covert collusion with Obama over Cuba makes that clear. Megalomania sends him galloping into geopolitical—and now meteorological—thickets, sacralizing politics and bending theology to premature, intemperate policy endorsements. ...
  • Pope Francis the Economist, by Michael Severance. Catholic World Report 012/23/14. "The Pope is not interested in validating the right or left on any specific policy, but rather reminding us of more transcendent principles."
  • A Study in Contrasts: Francis, Benedict, Augustine, by by Peter Kwasniewski. Rorate Caeli 12/22/14.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup

  • The Francis Effect--on Patti Smith?!, by Kevin Clarke. America "In All Things" 11/14/14. "Aging punk-rock fans (are there any other kind?) will be pleased to learn that the irrepressible "Godmother of Punk" (do we really call her that?) Patti Smith has been invited by Pope Francis to perform at the Vatican's annual Christmas concert."
  • Is There A Pope Francis-Cardinal Burke Feud?, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. Aletia. 11/13/14:
    Those who dispute the feud theory point out that, while Cardinal Burke is being transferred, this is not a reaction on the part of Pope Francis to Burke’s playing opposition at the synod. This Vatican re-shuffle had been on the cards for months. It may be part of a larger, intentional change of direction on the part of the pontiff, as Fr. Mark Drew observes in an excellent article here at the UK’s Catholic Herald, but set against this opinion is the fact that Cardinal Burke has just completed the usual five year term traditional for Prefects of the Apostolic Signatura. Those who shrug their shoulders at gossip about feuds say, “It’s no big deal. He was due for a transfer.” In answer to those who suggest that Burke’s transfer is a deliberate attempt on the part of Pope Francis to silence his enemies the shoulder shruggers would say, “Silence Burke? His new job as Patron of the Order of Malta gives him virtually no responsibilities, while providing him with a base in Rome and the time to travel, lecture, write and lead and make his point. Rather than silencing Cardinal Burke it could be that Pope Francis is giving him his voice and therefore encouraging the “loyal opposition” in a healthy way.
  • Pope Francis orders showers to be built for homeless in the heart of St Peter's Square The Telegraph 11/13/14:
    The initiative, which will be paid for from Vatican charitable funds, was inspired by the experience of the Pope's chief almsgiver, a Polish archbishop called Konrad Krajewski.

    Known officially as the Vatican almoner, a job that dates back to the 13th century and which involves handing out money to the poor, he recently met a 50-year-old homeless man from Sardinia on the streets of Rome and offered to buy him dinner.

    But the man, identified only as Franco, regretfully declined, explaining apologetically: "I can't, because I stink."

    "I took him to dinner anyway," Archbishop Krajewski told La Stampa newspaper. "We went to a Chinese restaurant. While we were eating, he explained that for the homeless in Rome it was not difficult to find something to eat, but what they really lacked was a place to wash."

  • Pope Francis launches new panel to speed up abuse cases Religion News Service. 11/11/14.
  • Pope removes Cardinal Burke from Vatican post Catholic News Service. 11/08/14:
    Pope Francis removed U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, 66, as head of the Vatican's highest court and named him to a largely ceremonial post for a chivalric religious order.

    Cardinal Burke, formerly prefect of the Apostolic Signature, will now serve as cardinal patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta, the Vatican announced Nov. 8.

  • Pope Francis to open Vatican conference on traditional marriage Catholic News Service. 11/04/14. A month after closing a Synod of Bishops on the family stirred by controversy over divorce, same-sex unions and other nonmarital relationships, Pope Francis will open an interreligious conference dedicated to traditional marriage. The Vatican-sponsored gathering, on the "Complementarity of Man and Woman," will take place Nov. 17-19, 2014.
  • Pope Francis Gives Blessing to Exorcist Conference The Daily Beast 10/29/14. Pope Francis has given a special blessing to a group of some 300 Catholic exorcists meeting in Rome this week ahead of All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead (and, yes, Halloween).
  • A meal fit for a Pope: Swiss Guards produce cookbook on Pontiff's favourite meals Daily Mail 10/23/14. "A new cookbook - Bon Appétit, Swiss Guard - reveals the favourite dishes of Pope Francis and his two predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II."
  • Pope Francis' Address to the Synod Fathers Zenit News Service. 10/19/14:
    "Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church"
  • Pope's Address to Jesuits on Restoration America 09/27/14. Pope Francis celebrated a special liturgy of thanksgiving in the Church of the Gesù in Rome ... to mark the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus. Vatican Radio's English translation of the prepared text of the Holy Father's homily for the occasion.
  • Pope Francis celebrates 20 weddings at St. Peter’s Basilica, invokes 'merciful love' for spouses America 09/14/14:
    Pope Francis presided over the weddings of 20 couples in a historic ceremony Sunday at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. As noted in an announcement put out by the Diocese of Rome, among the couples married at the Mass were some who had children or cohabited before marriage, as well as a groom granted an annulment for a previous marriage. "We didn't feel worthy,” one bride recalled, when told that she and her husband were invited to be married by the pope.
  • Pope Francis did a Google Hangout with students from five continents Crux. 09/04/14. "Pope Francis notched yet another first today, becoming the first pontiff, and for that matter the first head of state of any sort, to simultaneously speak with teenagers from around the world by holding a Google Hangout session with high schools from five continents."
  • Pope Francis Donates $1 Million to Iraqi Refugees National Catholic Register 08/22/14.


  • Is Pope Francis an Evangelical, Charismatic Catholic?, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. Catholic World Report 11/05/14. Experts in Evangelical Christianity and the Charismatic Movement discuss the roots and focus of the Holy Father's ecumenical dialogue and interaction.
  • Pope Francis not sure how to make sense of what he just said Eye of the Tiber. 11/14/14. "“I said what?” Francis asked those gathered. “There’s no way I just said that. OK, that’s just weird. Seriously, what the heck is it with me?"
  • The Pope’s Unforced Error, by Benedict Kiely. National Review 11/08/14. "Despite the image of Francis as a man of dialogue and compromise, he is regarded in Rome as the most authoritarian pope in decades. He is also a man known to settle scores." His demotion of Cardinal Burke, a loyal but eloquent critic, could turn out to be his greatest mistake.
  • Did Pope Francis get what he wanted from the synod?, by Francis S. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 10/31/14:
    The pope never expressed his views at the synod; he kept silent throughout the two weeks of discussions. Yet there are good reasons to think he and the assembly were not of the same mind on these questions.

    Pope Francis had invited the author of the Communion proposal, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, and no one else, to address a gathering of the world's cardinals on the family in February. And the synod's controversial midterm report was the work of the pope's handpicked team, who presumably would never have departed from the usual tone of official Vatican documents on moral teaching unless they had understood that to be what the pope wanted. So if they were right, the synod's reaction must have disappointed him.

    But at the same time, the pope got just what he asked for: a more assertive synod.

  • Burke: “There is a strong sense that the Church is like a ship without a helm”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 10/30/14:
    “Many have expressed their concerns to me. At this very critical moment, there is a strong sense that the Church is like a ship without a helm, whatever the reason for this may be; now, it is more important than ever to examine our faith, have a healthy spiritual leader and give powerful witness to the faith.”

    “I fully respect the Petrine ministry and I do not wish it to seem like I am speaking out against the Pope. I would like to be a master of the faith, with all my weaknesses, telling a truth that many currently perceive. They are feeling a bit sea sick because they feel the Church’s ship has lost its bearings. We need to set aside the reason for this disorientation because we have not lost our bearings. We have the enduring tradition of the Church, its teachings, the liturgy, its morality. The catechism remains the same.”

  • Pope Francis Didn’t Revolutionize the Catholic Church’s Stance on Evolution, and the media should stop saying he did, by Yair Rosenburg. The Tablet 10/30/14. "To judge by the breathless media reports, Pope Francis’s comments this week about the compatibility of evolution and religion signaled a sea change in Catholic teaching. ..."
  • The Rise of Bergoglianism, by Christopher A. Ferrera. The Remnant 09/26/14. "Bergoglianism in particular, and the “spirit of Vatican II” in general, represent an ideological demand that the Church be historicized in her doctrine and practice, accommodating both to "changing times.'"
  • THe Pope's War with the Vatican, by Damian Thompson. The Spectator 08/23/14:
    The first non-European Pope was elected to do one thing: reform the Roman Curia, the pitifully disorganised, corrupt and lazy central machinery of the church. He is determined to pull it off — but he’s 77 and has part of a lung missing.
  • Would the Real Pope Please Stand?, by Georg Conger. The Media Project. 08/05/14. "Why, from a journalistic perspective, do we know so little about someone who talks so much?"
  • Misuse of Prayer, by Maureen Malarkey. First Things 06/09/14. "Francis’ interfaith pageant soothes because it posits a moral equivalence between the Palestinian Authority with its newly sworn in unity government—Hamas and Fatah conjoined—and the state of Israel. Who benefits from that equivalence?"

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup

  • Pope asks for international action to help Iraq's persecuted Christians Catholic News Service. 08/07/14:
    Pope Francis asked Catholics around the world to pray for tens of thousands of Christians from villages in northeastern Iraq who were forced from their homes in the middle of the night by Islamic State militants.

    The pope also made a "pressing appeal to the international community to take initiatives to put an end to the humanitarian drama underway, to take steps to protect those involved and threatened by violence and to ensure the necessary aid for so many displaced people whose fate depends on the solidarity of others," the Vatican spokesman said Aug. 7.

  • Pope lifts suspension of Father D'Escoto, former Sandinista official Catholic News Service. 08/06/14:
    Pope Francis has lifted the suspension of Maryknoll Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, who was ordered 29 years ago to stop exercising his priestly ministry because he refused to give up his political position in Nicaragua's Sandinista government.

    The pope made his decision after Father D'Escoto, 81, formally requested permission to resume priestly duties, Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, assistant director of the Vatican press office, said Aug. 4. Vatican Radio reported that Father D'Escoto had written that he wanted to be able to celebrate Mass again "before dying."

  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? The Pope Zenit News Service. 08/01/14. Thursday evening, to mark the feast of St. Ignatius, the Holy Father made a surprise visit for dinner at the Jesuit General Curia in Rome, reported Vatican Radio.
  • Pope is inspiration for first privately funded refugee rescue operation La Stampa 07/31/14. "Regina Catracombe a businesswoman living in Malta is using her personal wealth to help desperate immigrants trying to cross Mediterranean waters."
  • Let me call you 'brother': Pope takes ecumenism one step at a time, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 07/29/14. "The only name Pope Francis wants divided Christians to call each other is "brother" or "sister."
  • Pope has casual Q&A with priests of Caserta Vatican Radio. 07/29/14. Pope Francis met with the priests of the Diocese of Caserta on his visit there on Saturday afternoon. The Pope engaged in a question-and-answer period with the priests in the Palatina della Reggia di Caserta Chapel.
  • Francis' sober apology to the Evangelicals, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 07/29/14.
    The sober words Pope Francis addressed to pastor Giovanni Traettino and the rest of Evangelical Pentecostal community in Caserta yesterday morning continued a path started by St. John Paul II on the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. On and in order to mark that occasion John Paul II was keen for the Church to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes made by Christians – and men of the Church –during the course of history, as a gesture of penitence. With this initiative - which cardinals did not agree with because they feared the Church would have to apologise for things that had no real historical basis – John Paul II wished to show that the Church was not afraid to recognize the betrayals, excesses, exploitation and violence that had been committed over the centuries in the name of the Christian God; behaviour that was not in the least bit Christian-like.

    Pope Francis apologised to the Pentecostal community especially for what had gone on during the fascist period when Evangelical pastors were deported, churches destroyed and miniscule Evangelical movements were declared “harmful to the physical and mental identity of the [Italian] race.” Many clerics back then kept silent and some parish priests reported Evangelicals to the OVRA, the Italian fascist regime’s secret police. Laws and provisions were passed by Christians, by baptized people. Francis also wants the word “sect” to be used more carefully when referring to the various new branches of the Evangelical faith.

  • In latest interview, Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 07/29/14.
  • Pope Gets in Line at Vatican Canteen Zenit News Service. 07/25/14. "The Pope spent his lunchtime today queuing up for food in the Vatican canteen and dining with Vatican staff. ... Saying how emotional of an experience it was, the chef added that 'it is one of the most satisfying things that can happen to you in life.'"
  • The Pope’s conversation with Scalfari and the words Francis never pronounced, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 07/14/14:
    Fr. Lombardi’s immediate response to the article published by Italian newspaper La Repubblica illustrates the surprise it caused in the Vatican: The Pope never made any mention of "paedophile cardinals", neither did he speak about celibacy in the terms described, nor did he say he would come down hard on paedophile priests "like Jesus did".
  • Pope meets sex abuse victims, says clergy actions cloaked in complicity, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 07/07/14:
    Asking for forgiveness, Pope Francis told abuse survivors that "despicable actions" caused by clergy have been hidden for too long and had been "camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained."

    "There is no place in the church's ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not," and to hold all bishops accountable for protecting young people, the pope said during a special early morning Mass for six survivors of abuse by clergy. The Mass and private meetings held later with each individual took place in the Domus Sanctae Marthae -- the pope's residence and a Vatican guesthouse where the survivors also stayed.


  • The Strange Silences of a Very Talkative Pope, by Sandro Magister. Chiesa. 08/01/14. Not a word for the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, nor for the Pakistani Asia Bibi, sentenced to death on the charge of having offended Islam. And then the audiences denied to former president of the IOR Gotti Tedeschi, driven out for wanting to clean house.
  • Why in the Devil Does Pope Francis Speak So Much About the Prince of This World?, by Fr. Thomas Rosica. Zenit News Service. 07/31/14:
    Francis refers to the devil continually. He does not believe him to be a myth, but a real person, the most insidious enemy of the Church. We may be tempted to ask, why in the devil is Pope Francis so involved with the prince of demons?
  • Francis's Secret Friend in Caserta Sandro Magister. 07/23/14. "He is not Catholic, but Pentecostal, a part of those Christian communities which are in breathtaking expansion all over the world. Little by little the pope is meeting with their leaders. From rivals he wants to become friends, to the point of asking their forgiveness."
  • Is a Period of Papal Reserve Now Overdue?, by Dr. William Oddie. Crisis "A period of reserve would now be a good thing. There needs to be less, not more, spontaneous papal activity. Especially on the phone."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup

  • Pope Francis sacks entire board of Vatican's financial watchdog The Independant 06/17/14:
    Pope Francis’s battle to clean up the Vatican’s scandal-mired bank, the Institute of Religious Works (IoR), has entered a new stage, with his removal of the entire board of the Holy City’s financial watchdog.

    The five Italians heading the Financial Information Authority (AIF) have been replaced with an international group of experts, including a woman, two years before they were supposed to step down. Vatican insiders say the drastic move followed clashes between the board members, who formed part of the old boys’ network and the body’s Swiss director, René Brülhart, an anti-money laundering expert, who remains in charge. ...

  • Pope: It's 'intolerable' markets have the power to decide people's fate Catholic News Agency. 06/16/14.
  • The Pope: "Let us help a tired Europe to rediscover its roots" La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 06/15/14:
    “Europe is tired, let's help it to find itself”, urges Francis. “A modern culture based on discarding, where anything that is not needed or does not produce is discarded" it is a form of “underlying euthanasia” warns the Pope speaking in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, during the meeting with the Community of Sant 'Egidio.
  • Truth be told: the Traditional Catholic position on the Economy is not Libertarian (and the Pope is close to it) Rorate Caeli. 06/03/14. "The positions stated by Pope Francis on economic and social matters are much closer to the Traditional Catholic position on the economy and the State than not. Indeed, it can be said unhesitatingly that this is one area in which the Pope will find mostly allies in Traditional Catholics."
  • Pope, at charismatic rally in stadium, invites them to Vatican in 2017, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Agency. 06/02/14:
    Meeting more than 50,000 Catholic charismatics in Rome's Olympic Stadium, Pope Francis admitted he was not always comfortable with the way they prayed, but he knelt onstage as they prayed for him and over him by singing and speaking in tongues.

    "In the early years of the charismatic renewal in Buenos Aires, I did not have much love for charismatics," the pope said June 1. "I said of them: They seem like a samba school."

    Little by little, though, he came to see how much good the movement was doing for Catholics and for the church, he told a gathering organized by the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships.

  • Pope Francis Meets With Doctor Who Saved His Life. National Catholic Register 05/28/14. In 1980, Argentinian surgeon Dr. Juan Carlos Parodi operated on the future pope for gall-bladder failure.
  • Photo Story of Pope Francis’ Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Salt and Light TV. 05/28/14.
  • Pope says his 'most authentic' gestures in Holy Land were spontaneous Catholic News Agency. 05/26/14:
    Regarding his dramatic gestures during the visit, when he prayed at the controversial Israeli-built separation wall in the West Bank and kissed the hands of Holocaust survivors, the pope said the "most authentic gestures are those you don't think about ... mine were not planned gestures, it just occurs to me to do something spontaneously that way."
  • Pope makes new Christian unity step in meeting with Patriarch Catholic World Report. 05/25/14. Francis and Bartholomew I emphasize defense of the dignity of the human person at every stage of life, sanctity of family based on marriage, and the promotion of peace and the common good.


  • The Pope, The Patriarch and True Ecumenism, by Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille. Catholic World Report 05/23/14:
    With the pope of Rome and the patriarch of Constantinople going to Jerusalem this weekend, there is naturally a great deal of conversation and consideration of where Orthodox and Catholic Christians have been and where we might be going. I have discussed some of this elsewhere. Here, however, I want to do something different, following a theological method beloved of many in the Christian East, as well as many Western mystics (St. John of the Cross comes to mind), namely the apophatic or “negative” way. I wish, in other words, to explain what true ecumenism is not ...
  • Author Discusses ‘The Vatican According to Francis’. National Catholic Register 5/29/14. What impact is a Latin-American pope having on a Roman Curia heavily influenced by Italians? Massimo Franco, a senior correspondent with Italy’s daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, shares his perspective in a new book called Il Vaticano Secondo Francesco (The Vatican According to Francis).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pope Francis' Invocation for Peace

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pope Francis - Apostolic Visit to Israel and the Holy Land

Addresses by Pope Francis

Media Coverage

  • Pope, arriving in Holy Land, calls for religious freedom in Middle East 05/24/14.
  • At Amman Mass, pope calls on Christians to promote peace Catholic News Service. 05/24/14.
  • At River Jordan, pope meets suffering, speaks against arms trade Catholic News Service. 05/24/14. Jordan's powerful and marginalized joined together at the banks of the River Jordan to welcome Pope Francis at the site believed to be where Jesus was baptized.
  • When Pope Francis asked an Israeli Reporter, "How Can I Help?", by Gerard O'Connell. America 05/24/14:
    On 13 June 2013, Pope Francis granted an interview to Israel’s Channel 2 TV at Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where he lives. That interview made history; it was the first time that a TV crew entered Santa Marta to interview the pope.

    What is not known, however, is that immediately afterwards Francis asked to speak in private with the TV reporter, Henrique Cymerman. He opened the conversation with a highly significant question regarding the Israeli-Palestinian situation: “How can I help?” and he then followed up with a series of other pertinent questions. ...

  • Bayit Yehudi denies boycott of Pope Jerusalem Post 05/25/14. Fewer than 10 ministers greeted Pope Francis, much fewer than US president Barack Obama in 2013; Bayit Yehudi had no representative at the greeting ceremony, insists there was not planned boycott of the pope.
  • Pope concludes first day in Israel with visit to Jerusalem Jerusalem Post 05/25/14.
  • Francis prays in silence before the Wall of division La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 05/25/14:
    Pope Francis has touched the Wall of Division. In a resounding unscheduled stop during his visit to the Holy Land, before the Mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, the Bishop of Rome asked to be driven in front of a point of the cement barrier that Israel has been constructing since 2002 and that runs largely through Palestinian occupied territory, contravening international laws. There, Pope Francis remained a few minutes in total silence, surrounded by a group of young Palestinians.

    It was a silence that said more than a thousand speeches could, before the wall that, as the Mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun has said, also separates the Birthplace of Jesus from the place of his Resurrection. ...

  • Pope invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders to Rome to pray for peace, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 05/25/14:
    Pope Francis invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to pray together at the Vatican for peace between their nations. ...

    arriving at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Pope Francis was greeted by Peres and by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There the pope repeated his invitation to Peres using exactly the same words with which he had invited Abbas.

    He also urged Israel to stay on the "path of dialogue, reconciliation and peace," saying "there is simply no other way."

    "The right of the state of Israel to exist and to flourish in peace and security within internationally recognized borders must be universally recognized," the pope said. "At the same time, there must also be a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign homeland and their right to live with dignity and with freedom of movement."

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pope Francis Roundup


  • Francis meets former sex slaves on second day of conference against human trafficking La Stampa "Catholic Insider" 04/11/14.
  • Francis: “Theologians who don’t pray or worship God end up sunk in the most disgusting narcissism” by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "Catholic Insider" 04/11/14. In his speech to the Pontifical Gregorian University Francis presented the identikit of a theologian.
  • Pope's Address to Italian Pro-Life Movement Zenit. 04/11/14:
    One of the gravest risks to which our time is exposed is the divorce between economy and morality, between the possibilities offered by a market furnished with every technological novelty and the elementary norms of human nature, ever more neglected. Therefore, it is necessary to confirm the firmest opposition to every direct attempt against life, especially innocent and vulnerable life, and the unborn in the maternal womb is the innocent one par excellence. We recall the words of Vatican Council II: “Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.” (Constitution Gaudium et spes, 51). I recall that once, a long time ago, I had a conference with doctors. After the conference I greeted the doctors – this happened so long ago. I was greeting the doctors, talking with them, and one called me aside. He had a package and he said to me: “Father, I want to leave this with you. These are the instruments that I have used to cause abortion. I have found the Lord, I have repented, and I now fight for life.” He gave me all these instruments. Pray for this good man!
  • Pope and Obama discuss religious freedom, life issues, immigration, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 03/27/14:
    In their first encounter, Pope Francis received U.S. President Barack Obama at the Vatican March 27 for a discussion that touched on several areas of tension between the Catholic Church and the White House, including religious freedom and medical ethics.

    During an unusually long 50-minute meeting, the two leaders discussed "questions of particular relevance for the church in (the U.S.), such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection as well as the issue of immigration reform," the Vatican said in statement.

  • Only God knows for sure: Obama, pope differ on accounts of ‘social schisms’ talk Washington Times 03/27/14:
    The Vatican and White House gave starkly different versions of Mr. Obama’s meeting with Francis.

    The president’s account downplayed the Catholic Church’s concerns about religious freedom in the United States and Obamacare’s mandate to pay for contraception.

  • Why Bergoglio travels so little La Stampa "The Vatican Insider". 03/29/14. "Francis has never been to the US. He went to Jerusalem once but the Yom Kippur War cut his pilgrimage in half. Now he is Pope, he still keeps his trips short and focused."
  • Bless me, Father: Pope leads by example, goes to confession, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 03/28/14. Leading a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis surprised his liturgical adviser by going to confession during the service.
  • Pope Accepts Resignation of Controversial German Bishop Zenit News Service. 03/28/14. The Holy See today announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, following an investigation into the construction of a [$42 million] new residence.
  • Pope Distributes Free Pocket-Sized Copies of Gospels EWTN News. 04/06/14. The copies were handed out to the crowds of pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus to encourage them to read the word of God.
  • The story behind a papal “selfie”, by Deacon Greg Kandra. 03/21/14. "Little did Marco Antonio Lome and his wife Zaira Venegas know that they, too, would have their own ‘selfie’ with the Pope."
  • Priest Gives Insight Into Pope Francis’ Interview Style National Catholic Register 03/12/14. "Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, who interviewed the Pope in August 2013, says the Holy Father makes ‘decisions by discernment,’ relying on inspiration and emotion as well as logic and reason."


  • Explaining Pope Francis, or the challenge of PIA (Papally Induced Anxiety) syndrome, by Philip Blosser. The Pertinacious Papist 05/06/14:
    Since the advent of his pontificate, Pope Francis has required some explaining. Particularly since a lot of the "explaining" going on in the secular drive-by media has been less than helpful for purposes of understanding Church teaching, a veritable new hermeneutical industry of orthodox pontifical interpretation has been called into existence.
  • Catholics must learn to resist their popes — even Pope Francis, by Michael Brendan Dougherty. The Week 05/05/14. "Too many are becoming party apparatchiks."
  • The Bactrian's vertebrae begin to crack, by Dale Price. Dyspeptic Mutterings 04/20/14. "At a minimum, it's time to face up to the glaring fact that the Roman communion is being led by a heedless, imprudent exhibitionist. The chattiest possible, it seems."
  • Curia rumblings about a pope who won't be filtered, by John Thavis. 05/02/14:
    While in Rome this week, I’ve made some soundings inside the Roman Curia, and found concern among Vatican officials in two areas. First, they’re worried about the doctrinal and pastoral implications of the pope’s supposed remarks, and the risk of raising expectations for a change in church policy that may never occur.

    Second, and more broadly, they’re concerned that the Vatican is losing control over papal communication. In that sense, the phone call was a tipping point: an institution that has spoken for centuries in a formal, calibrated hierarchy of expression is now headed by a man who chats on the phone, delivers soundbites to reporters and improvises daily sermons.

  • The Joys and Sorrows of Francis's Magisterium, by Sandro Magister. Chiesa 04/15/14:
    Over the span of 36 hours, between Thursday the 10th and Friday the 11th of April, Pope Francis lashed out - and not for the first time - against the "dictatorship of uniform thought" that suppresses "the freedom of nations, the freedom of the people, freedom of conscience."

    He then forcefully defended "the right of children to grow up in a family with a dad and a mom, in relation to the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother, thus preparing affective maturity."

    He furthermore expressed the toughest of views on "the horrors of educational manipulation" that "with the pretense of modernity pushes children and young people to walk the dictatorial path of the single form of thought." And he added the testimony of a "great educator" who had told him a few days earlier, referring to concrete projects of education: "At times one cannot tell with these projects if one is sending a child to school or to a reeducation camp."

    And finally he reiterated his opposition to the killing of all "unborn life in the mother's womb," citing the summary judgment of Vatican Council II: "Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes."

    The references to events, to laws, to judicial decisions, to opinion campaigns attributable to "gender" ideology, in the news recently in Italy, France, and other countries, were transparent in the words of Pope Francis.

    But in the media in general his warnings had practically no impact. As if they were a pure abstraction, with no influence on reality and foreign to any judgment. Because the key to explaining everything - in the media's narration of Pope Francis - is by now the "who am I to judge?" spoken by the pope for the first time during the press conference on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro and a second time in the interview with "La Civiltà Cattolica," in reference to the homosexual who "is of good will and is in search of God."

  • Pope Francis, Obama allies in war on global inequality, by Paul B. Farrell. Marketwatch 03/31/14:
    Yes, Pope Francis and President Obama are now allies in a global war against inequality and capitalism. Also on the radar: GOP conservatives, Wall Street banks, Big Oil, corporate greed, corruption, trickle-down economics, so-called invisible hands, out-of-control competition, rampant consumerism, the world’s lost moral compass and more, all in Pope Francis’ 10-part strategic war plan.
  • "Pope Francis is a Father Who Cares for Persons as a Priest and Missionary" Zenit News Service. 03/17/14. Vatican Radio Interview with Father Guillermo Ortiz, SJ, on the First Anniversary of Jorge Mario Bergoglio's Election as Bishop of Rome.
  • Pope Francis: A Faithful Son of the Church Zenit News Service. 03/14/14. Sean Patrick Lovett, Vatican Radio's English Language Director reflects on the first anniversary of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's election.
  • Pope Francis, the Church and the Big Picture, by Father Roger Landry. National Catholic Register 03/12/14. "As we approach the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis on March 13, it’s a fitting time to step back from the whirlwind of papal activity to look at the big picture of what Pope Francis has been trying to do and what it heralds for the future."
  • Francis: Reader of Souls, by Ashley McKinless. America 03/12/14. "It must be disarming to meet Pope Francis in the confessional, as his insights into the sins and foibles of the people of our times are so penetrating. He cuts right to the quick without evasion, and he names often subtle ways in which we abuse the grace God gives us."
  • Francis: Far More than Show, by Ashley McKinless. America 03/10/14. "Here are four ways in which Pope Francis has shown he means business: 1) His choice of advisers; 2) institutional renewal and innovation; 3) decisiveness in his governing; and 4) setting the Gospel as priority over moral crusades."
  • Pope Francis' top 10 most quotable quotes of the year, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 02/28/14.
  • Pope Francis' constant refrain: 'Go forth,' evangelize, help the poor, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 02/27/14. (In Italian, the phrase is even snappier: "Avanti").
  • In Argentina, pope's impact has moved beyond spiritual realm, by David Agren. Catholic News Service. 03/10/14:
    Revolution may overstate the reality in Argentina, and the size and scope of any changes remain relative. The lasting impact also remains uncertain. But Argentines have embraced the election of Pope Francis -- to the point that parents began naming babies "Francisco" in large numbers, priests report increased parish attendance and the previously antagonistic president and her supporters act as if he were an ally.