How to Strengthen Catholic Community

As the Synod on the Family continues, a number of Catholic writers are questioning whether it’s really nice to exclude the divorced and remarried from Communion. The people on the margins of the church, the people oppressed by sin and circumstance are the ones who can least weather being pushed . . . . Continue Reading »

Letter Number Nineteen

The schedule for the remainder of Synod-2015 has been changed by the Synod general secretariat. On Tuesday evening, October 20, the reporters from the various language-based discussion groups met to review the modi, the proposed amendments/deletions/alterations, to Part III of the Synod’s working document, a task to be completed by noon on Wednesday.

A Blessed Loss

Written from Rome:During Synod-2015, I’ve been reading John Martin Robinson’s Cardinal Consalvi: 1757-1824, a biography of Pope Pius VII’s secretary of state, one of the most impressive churchmen of his day, or indeed any day. Ercole Consalvi, born into the Roman nobility as the winds of . . . . Continue Reading »

Letter Number Eighteen

Recent comments about the letter given to Pope Francis by thirteen members of the College of Cardinals on the first working day of Synod-2015 have, unfortunately, continued a controversy that should have been put to rest several days ago. Some reflections on the functions of cardinals in the Catholic Church, and the exercise of those functions in this case, are thus in order.

Letter Number Seventeen

Here is the calendar for the third week of Synod-2015: Monday, October 19: Discussion in the thirteen language-based circuli minores from 0900 to 1230, and then again from 1630 to 1900.  Tuesday, October 20: Discussion in the circuli minores from 0900 to 1230, followed by a general assembly (from 1630-1900), during which the Synod will hear reports from the discussion groups

Slick and Far From Truth

Given the low standards of mainstream reporting on religious issues, it’s hard to publish an article that is truly disappointing, but Slate’s recent piece “Sick and Far From Home” manages to achieve just that. The article, which a Slate press release trumpeted as “a stunning investigatory . . . . Continue Reading »

America's First Baptist President

Warren Gamaliel Harding was the first Baptist to serve as President of the United States and the only Baptist president—thus far—to be a Republican. Neither Baptists nor Republicans are particularly proud of that fact these days, as Harding is generally ranked dead last among the nation’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Frames of Mind

My attention span is waning. I’ve noted it for the past couple of years: no longer can I sit for hours with a single book before me—barely recognizable is my teenage self who marathoned through Harry Potter volumes the day they arrived at my door—and the convenient packaging of 25 minute episodes of my favorite TV-shows has so shaped me that even sitting through a two hour long movie is at times difficult. I’ve no doubt as to the cause of my attention shortage, though. The recurring itch to check phone, e-mail, and social media as I attempt to work through any text of depth or any movie of richness reminds me again and again that my ability to focus was exchanged over time for the instant gratifications of the alerts and messages my electronic devices have brought me. Continue Reading »