A Genocide Remembered and Denied

On the night of April 24, 1915, as Constantinople’s Armenian community was deep in slumber following Easter celebrations, Turkish gendarmes, following the orders of the Committee for Union and Progress (CUP), made their way through the ancient Byzantine capital to the homes of 250 Armenian cultural leaders. As Peter Balakian wrote in The Burning Tigris, Constantinople’s Armenian community had been “the center of Armenian cultural and intellectual life” since the nineteenth century. The Armenians were a minority community that excelled in the arts, academia, and the professional classes; successful, intelligent, and very much “the other” in a Turkey whose young rulers were influenced by the racialist ideologies then prominent in Europe. Continue Reading »

Pope Francis and Zero Tolerance

The outcry against Francis’s appointment of Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, who was long associated with a child abusing priest-to the Diocese of Osorno, has placed the pope’s “zero tolerance” policy against sexual abuse into question.As Pope, Francis has taken many decisive actions against sexual abuse. He created a special Vatican Commission to combat it, in all its forms, and soon thereafter met with a group of victims, expressing his pain over their suffering: Continue Reading »

The Indomitable and Effective Cardinal Pell

Shortly after George Pell was named Archbishop of Melbourne, he instituted several reforms at the archdiocesan seminary, including daily Mass and the daily celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, both of which had fallen by the wayside in the preceding years. The seminary faculty, enthusiastic proponents of Catholic Lite, thought to call the archbishop’s bluff and informed him that, were he to persist in such draconian measures, they would resign en masse.The archbishop thanked them for the courtesy of giving him a heads-up, accepted their resignations on the spot, and got on with the reform of the Melbourne seminary—and the rest of the archdiocese. Continue Reading »

While We’re At It

• Richard J. Mouw has written a wonderful book, Called to the Life of the Mind: Some Advice for Evangelical Scholars (Eerdmans, 2014). A bright young student raised in a tradition of conservative Evangelical pietism, Mouw recalls that his pastors “often viewed the intellectual life . . . . Continue Reading »

A Fourth Francis

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 »

Nonsense on “Sixty Minutes”

Sixty Minutes,” the CBS News “magazine” that helped redefine television journalism, prides itself on challenging conventional wisdom, discomfiting the comfortable, kicking shibboleths in the shins, and opening new arguments. No such challenge, alas, was evident in the program’s recent segment on Pope Francis, which aired last Dec. 28. Continue Reading »

Merrie Melodies and Magisterial Authority

For reasons I cannot fathom, Michael Winters of the National Catholic Reporter seems determined to cast himself as the Wile E. Coyote of contemporary liberal Catholicism. His elaborate efforts to capture his prey—his roadrunners are those “culture warrior” bishops (such as Charles Chaput of Philadelphia) and Catholic intellectuals who are too zealous for his taste in defending the Church’s teachings on life, marriage, and sexual morality—inevitably backfire, usually comically and sometimes humiliatingly. But he intrepidly keeps at it, hoping against hope, I suppose, that his next effort will finally bring success. Continue Reading »