A Family of Saints

If there was one serene moment amidst all the ecclesiastical discord at the recent Synod in Rome, it was when Pope Francis canonized Therese of Lisieux’s parents, commending them to the faithful:The holy spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin practiced Christian service in the family, . . . . Continue Reading »

Junípero Serra

On September 23, at a mass in Washington, DC, Pope Francis is scheduled to canonize Blessed Junípero Serra (1713-84), the Franciscan founder of the Spanish missions in California.Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988. Vatican representatives have pointed out that his sainthood will emphasize the diverse contributions to American identity of Hispanics and will recognize our Pacific as well as our Atlantic heritage. This point would seem to be politically significant at a moment when Republican Party leaders of Hispanic origin, like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and with Hispanic family relations—e.g. Jeb Bush—are vying for their party’s presidential nomination. Continue Reading »

The Making of a Misleading Metaphor

The sturdiest storyline in the coverage of the canonization of two popes last Sunday was a narrative that claimed that Pope Francis yoked the two in a single ceremony because he wanted to unite the conservative and progressing wings of the Catholic Church—as represented by John XXIII (favored by progressives) and John Paul II (ditto by conservatives). That was the narrative in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and among several Catholic pundits who really should have known better. . . . Continue Reading»

John Paul II’s American Legacy

If ever there was a pope of global stature it was St. John Paul II. He took the message of the Gospel to every corner of the earth, travelling to over one hundred countries during his twenty-six year pontificate, combining modern means of communication with a strong personal charisma. When he visited America, he had a memorable impact, inspiring Catholics who became “the John Paul II generation.” Continue Reading »

John XXIII and John Paul II

Pope Francis’s bold decisions to canonize Blessed John XXIII without the normal post-beatification miracle, and to link Good Pope John’s canonization ceremony to that of Blessed John Paul II, just may help reorient Catholic thinking about modern Catholic history. For what Francis is suggesting, I think, is that John XXIII and John Paul II are the twin bookends of the Second Vatican Council—and thus should be canonized together. Continue Reading »