Francis, Filtered

About a year ago, I suggested to one of the top editors of a major American newspaper that his journal’s coverage of things papal left something to be desired, as it seemed based on the assumption that Pope Francis was some kind of radical wild-man, eager to toss into the garbage bin of history all those aspects of Catholic faith and practice that mainstream western culture finds distasteful. My friend replied, in so many words, look, you know how these media narratives are: they’re like bamboo. Once they get started, there’s no stopping them. They just keep growing. Continue Reading »

A Pastoral Failure

I was recently accused of (actually, praised for, but it seemed to me an accusation) supporting “marriage equality”—a slogan that indicates whoever uses it fails to understand either of the terms it combines. The occasion for this slander was, rather ironically, a piece I had written rejecting calls for gay marriage. The piece was misread, I think, because I had positive things to say about gay people and about the love present in countless gay relationships. Apparently this fact was significant enough that there was no need to attend to my actual conclusion. Continue Reading »

Wanted: A Synod of Affirmation

Pope Francis has called a special session of the Synod of Bishops, which will meet from October 5–19 and prepare the agenda for the ordinary session of the Synod that is scheduled for the fall of 2015; both sessions will focus on the family. In my view, the Synod should focus on two related themes: Marriage culture is in crisis throughout the world; the answer to that crisis is the Christian view of marriage as a covenant between man and woman in a communion of love, fidelity and fruitfulness. Continue Reading »

?Pope Francis and Weddings

The New York Times titled its article, “In Weddings, Pope Looks Past Tradition.” The Wall Street Journal announced that the pope’s presiding over twenty weddings at St. Peter’s on Sunday indicates his desire for a more “open and inclusive church.” CBS News called the mass ceremony “progressive.” 
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On Memory and Reconciliation

The pope’s apology to Pentecostals during his visit to the church pastored by Giovanni Traettino speaks to the importance of memory. As Augustine recounts in his Confessions, the memory is a vast storehouse of many chambers filled with countless images. Continue Reading »