On March 5, 2014, Pope Francis sat for an interview with Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s major newspapers.  Once again, it was an interview that proved highly newsworthy for two reasons. First, where gay couples are concerned, the Pope endorsed the possibility of civil unions.  He recognized that such relationships may be necessary in order… Read more »

The Son of God: Safe and Comfortable Middle Class Jesus

The beauty of the Gospels lies in the way they force us to interpret the life of Jesus. The stories look straightforward enough. A deity is born to humble parents. He gradually reveals himself through miracles. He attracts followers. He is unable to convince the appointed authorities of his godhood, his powers fail him at… Read more »

What We Mean When We Speak of Tradition in the Church

Tradition is of great significance to Catholics. The Catholic Catechism distinguishes among several types of tradition, all of which must be taken seriously. The first and most important kind is Sacred Tradition. It is the awareness and transmission of the Word of God from generation to generation. It was the means by which knowledge of Jesus was… Read more »

The Catholic Church and Same-Sex Marriage: How Might Doctrine Develop?

I was in New York City the first week of February, where I was hosted by David Blankenhorn of the Institute for American Values. David, who was a prominent opponent of same-sex unions for several years, had a change of heart on the subject in 2012, writing in The New York Times “that the time for denigrating or… Read more »

Pope Francis on Marriage, Annulments, and the Good Judge

It is a speech that typically goes unnoticed by the news media, and this year has been no different. Annually, however, it is one of the more significant speeches any pope delivers. And that is his address to the Roman Rota. The Roman Rota is one of two Vatican “supreme courts,” and it is the… Read more »

The End of the Papal Monarchy?

  The Papacy is a monarchy. It is recognized as such at international law. Like monarchies of all places and times, the papacy has depended on mystification to keep its reign intact. Monarchies require distance between ruler and ruled. They demand an elaborate etiquette, pomp, circumstance, ritual and respect. The person of the monarch stands… Read more »

Shadow Over Springfield: The Failures of a Warrior Bishop

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., has recently been much in the news for his staging of a public exorcism on Nov. 20, 2013, the day Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law a bill recognizing marriage equality in Illinois. Bishop Paprocki’s actions raise a few questions: What is the state of his diocese? Is it… Read more »

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 »

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 »