Intolerance and Evangelization

Cardinal Robert Sarah is one of the adornments of the Catholic Church, although it’s very unlikely that this man of faith, humor, intelligence, and profound humility would appreciate my putting it that way. His 2015 book, God or Nothing, is selling all over the world, currently available in twelve . . . . Continue Reading »

Things That Can’t Change

When the Second Vatican Council was putting the finishing touches on one of its key documents, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), Pope Paul VI proposed that it include a statement that the pope is “accountable to the Lord alone.” The suggestion was referred to the . . . . Continue Reading »

John Paul II's “Beloved Krakow”

Several years ago, Father Raymond de Souza, one of my fellow faculty members at an annual Kraków-based summer seminar on Catholic social doctrine, made a trenchant observation about the city John Paul II used to call “my beloved Kraków.” Kraków, Father de Souza observed, was the city where . . . . Continue Reading »

We've Been Warned

After a papal visit that provided a welcome rest from the cynicism of our hyper-political culture, coverage of the Pope has devolved into the familiar stories of spin and political speculation. It’s a let-down, all this anxious squabbling over whom the Pope truly represents, but it probably gives . . . . Continue Reading »

Popes in These United States

The history of popes in these United States is full of surprises. And one of them, to begin at the beginning, includes the little-known fact that Blessed Paul VI was not the first pontiff to set foot on American territory, when he landed at newly-renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport on . . . . Continue Reading »

Remembering the Smiling Pope

He was Vicar of Christ for only thirty-three days—heading the tenth shortest pontificate in history—but Pope John Paul I’s impact on the Church has far outlived his time as its leader.Born Albino Luciani in 1912, he grew up in Forno di Canale, a poor region in northern Italy, but one rich in . . . . Continue Reading »

Pope v. Paganism

The pagan temptation,” as the philosopher Thomas Molnar described it, is hardly new—the Church has been fighting paganism since the time of Christ—but what is new is its aggressive resurgence, its seduction of so many Christians, and the warnings Pope Francis has issued against it.The Pope’s scorching words against paganism have not been well-received by many, but Francis has gone right on assailing it, particularly in areas that pagans care about most: the environment and sex.Francis has been a bold and eloquent defender of the environment, and understands that protecting the environment is not a recent fad, but a long-standing Catholic principle, highlighted by many of Francis’s predecessors. Continue Reading »