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 »

Christians Must Confront Scientific Illiteracy

Where science is concerned, responsible Christians are caught in the vice grip of two extremes. On the one hand, there is the defiant and willful ignorance of persons like Congressman Paul Broun (R-Ga.), who famously declared during last fall’s election cycle that “evolution and the big bang theory are lies straight from the pit of hell.” And… Read more »

May supporters of marriage equality receive communion?

I encourage you to read my blogs at the Huffington Post, particularly the latest on whether  a Catholic who upholds marriage equality receive Holy Communion. I’ve included an excerpt below and a link to the entire post for your convenience.

Pope Francis and Museum-Piece Catholicism

Jaroslav Pelikan once called tradition the living faith of the dead and traditionalism the dead faith of the living. I am reminded of this pithy observation as I watch right-wing Catholics react to Pope Francis’ warm-spirited evangelization. The comments on Rorate Caeli (in Latin, “let the heavens fall like the dew”), were frightening in their intensity. Speaking… Read more »

White smoke

Pope Francis, 76, appeared on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica just over an hour after white smoke poured from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel to signal he had been chosen to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Black smoke

Tonight we received the first signal from the conclave — black smoke.  We must wait at least another day for a new Pope. It was not unexpected that the first day’s ballot should end inconclusively.  There has not been a time, in recent centuries, where a papal election was resolved on the first ballot. 


There is an old saying, a fat pope follows a thin pope.  What is meant by this saying is that papal styles of governance change.  A pope dedicated to enforcing doctrinal orthodoxy is succeeded by a pope concerned about speaking to the world.  A Vatican leader preoccupied with the great affairs of state is succeeded… Read more »

Anxiety in the College of Cardinals?

When Keith Cardinal O’Brien was forced to resign at the end of February because of sexual misconduct involving the Cardinal’s unwanted advances towards the priests of his Archdiocese, the anxiety level among the cardinals must have risen a notch or two.  Cardinal O’Brien was not an obscure back-bencher.  He had in fact gained some prominence… Read more »

Staggering toward a conclave

Ugly scandals, mistrust and bad press are putting a dark cloud over the coming conclave. In my latest blog on the Huffington Post I outline the steps the Church must take to face its current situation.