Pope Francis, the Common Good and Global Climate Change

This post appeared originally in my Huffington Post column on June 13, 2015. It is a line repeated with tiresome regularity in right-wing circles: Pope Francis has no business proposing solutions to the crisis of global climate change. He is not a scientist, they say. He should stick to morals and to matters of faith and doctrine. Pope Francis’ defenders… Read more »

The Irish Referendum and the Future of Catholicism

This post appeared originally at my Huffington Post column on May 27, 2015. Ireland is a Catholic country. The Church has filled a leading role in society not only in modern times, but ever since the early middle ages. One need only think of St. Patrick and St. Bridget, the great monasteries, and the beautiful works of art and… Read more »

What Genesis Says About Marriage: It’s Not What You Think

This post appeared originally in my Huffington Post column on April 19, 2015. There are many Christians, especially fundamentalists, who remain convinced that the Book of Genesis establishes life-long monogamous marriage between one man and one woman as the sole biblically-approved form of marital union. This is a viewpoint shared by popular writers and even… Read more »

The Modern Papacy and War

This post appeared originally at my Huffington Post column on April 13, 2015. It did not receive nearly the attention it should have. In the last five weeks, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who is the Holy See’s chief diplomatic representative to the United Nations, has issued calls for organized military responses against Boko Haram and against… Read more »

The Culture War and the Self-Destruction of Catholic Schools

Let’s begin with a basic premise: The culture war is bad for the life of the mind. And let us consider why: If education is the life of the mind, then the food upon which the mind feasts is the asking of questions. “Why?” That single word is the most important question in the universe…. Read more »

Catholics and Religious Progressivism

Our Twitter Pope, Pope Francis, tweeted a message a week or so ago that seems to summarize so much about his papacy: “Inequality,” he taught his tens of thousands of followers, “is the root of social evil.” And this was merely the opening act. He followed this message up with an urgent call for the “legitimate redistribution” of wealth… Read more »

Unsteady Halo: The Canonization of Pope John Paul II

Santo subito! — “Sainthood now!” That was the urgent plea of the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square in April, 2005, as Pope John Paul II lay dying. If the crowd had had its way, he would have been proclaimed a saint the very moment he died. And in truth, the canonization process has been… Read more »

A Joyous Welcome: The Baptism of Umma Azul

Welcoming — the sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic Church is the sacrament of welcoming. The child is presented to the Church, the community of believers, usually by the parents. The priest calls upon the parents, the godparents, and the entire congregation, to assume the solemn obligation of raising the child in the faith. And… Read more »

Pope Francis: A Year in the Life

It has been a year since the white smoke poured forth from the chimney erected atop the Sistine Chapel signaling the election of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis. His election has ushered in significant developments in the way the Papacy does business and how that influences the Church and the world. Let’s review a few:… Read more »