The Culture War Is Over

The culture war is over. That may be the most important message contained in Pope Francis’ remarkable interview with the Jesuit press last week. Yes, there will still be some skirmishing and some bumps and jostles along the way. But Pope Francis effectively challenged the central premise of the culture war — that modern secular culture is… Read more »

'Make a Mess!' Pope Francis at Six Months

John Allen has described Pope Francis at six months as a “force of nature.” He is certainly that. But what is it exactly that this force of nature wishes to accomplish? The lens through which to view these past six months just might be a statement the Pope made to Latin American youth during his trip to… Read more »

The Thrill Is Gone

It is fair to say that the on-going story of Syria has brought to the forefront a new truth about the United States in the early twenty-first century: We have lost our thrill for war. Let’s begin by reviewing events in Syria: Beginning in late December 2012, there were repeated reports of small-scale use of… Read more »

'War Begets War, Violence Begets Violence'

“War begets war, violence begets violence.” With these words, Pope Francis called upon Catholics the world over to follow his lead and devote Saturday, September 7 to prayer and fasting for peace in Syria. What can we do to bring about peace in the world, the Pope fervently asked. We must touch peoples’ hearts. And we… Read more »

Elysium: What Might Jesus Say?

Neill Blomkamp has emerged as a rare voice in cinema — a director who is commercially successful and still has something important to say about the human condition. His favored vehicle for social commentary is the science fiction movie. His film District 9, which was released in 2009, was a work of genius in the… Read more »

Poverty, Sex, and the Gospels

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, what troubled him most about what he saw? To listen to the religious right, you’d think it was loose sexual mores. But would this really be Jesus’ emphasis? For sure, no one can plausibly imagine the Jesus of the Gospels recommending casual sexual liaisons. That’s not Jesus. But what really moved… Read more »

John XXIII: A Saint for Social Justice

So good Pope John is being declared a saint. He is the first Pope that I remember. I was nine years old when he did and I still recall the day. It was a warm June afternoon on Milwaukee’s South Side. I had gone with a neighbor kid to the large church parking lot that… Read more »

The Married Apostles and What They Mean Today

Think of the Apostles and what images come to mind? Chances are it is of some gray-bearded men, advanced in years — in their fifties perhaps, or even substantially older. If it is St. Paul you are conjuring up, he probably looks intense, thin, wide-eyed. And if it is St. Peter you have in mind,… Read more »