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Prurient History

From the March 2020 Print Edition

Sex sells, all the more if one throws in Vatican secrets and conspiracy. Long before Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican, the Church had problems with sexual indiscretions, not least in the era of Pope Pius IX (1846–1878). Hubert Wolf, the self-appointed dean of German church . . . . Continue Reading »

Why Louisiana Can’t Break the Confessional’s Seal

From Web Exclusives

In January of this year, the U.S. Supreme court declined to intervene in a case in which the prosecutor wants to force Fr. Jeff Bayhi, a priest of the diocese of Baton Rouge, to testify about a confession in court. He allegedly told a fourteen year-old in 2008 to forget about the sexual abuse she had suffered from a family member. If Fr. Bayhi indeed did this, he will have to take responsibility for this despicable and unpastoral act at a higher, heavenly court—but he cannot be expected to discuss the contents of a confession in a U.S. court of law. Continue Reading »

A Fourth Francis

From Web Exclusives

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope in March 2013 many wrote about the significance of the choice of his papal name, Francis. Commentators insisted that this symbolized his indebtedness to the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis Xavier, the famous Jesuit missionary. He himself explained his choice of name with his profound veneration of St Francis of Assisi. But there may be an overlooked “third” Francis: St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), the great master of spirituality, Doctor of the Church and bishop of Geneva. What do I mean? For both Pope Francis and St. Francis de Sales, Continue Reading »