Pope Francis’s Opening Remarks at Synod (Full Text)

Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellences, Brothers and Sisters, I give you my cordial welcome to this meeting and my heartfelt thanks for you solicitous and qualified presence and attendance. In your name, I would like to express my earnest and profound gratitude to all the persons who worked for long months, with dedication, patience and competence, reading, […]

Burke, The Media, and the Development of Theology

It is difficult to discern which public-relations spin is correct when it comes to the public and well-publicized disagreements among the college of cardinals about the nature, scope, hopes, and fears of the upcoming Synod on the Family. Some commentators have suggested that this is an example of infighting and ecclesiastical politics playing out, while […]

Thomas Aquinas: Patron Saint of (so-called) Heretics

Today is usually a pretty big deal for students of theology. When I was doing some philosophy studies as a Franciscan postulant, the seminary where my classes were held was closed on this feast day. Thomas Aquinas, who today is remembered for his genius, theological acumen, and universal orthodoxy, wasn’t always received with such illustrious […]

Latest America Magazine Column: Against Clericalism

It has been really interesting to see the immediate and personal response from a whole spectrum of people to my latest America magazine column: “Lead Us Not Into Clericalism.” There have been a handful of comments on the America website itself, but there have also been a huge number of responses online — especially in the world […]

Liberation Theology, Pope Francis, and Good News for the Church

This is something you don’t see everyday: Good news coming from the sitting Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). According to a Religion News Service report this is exactly what we’re getting these days! Francis, who has called for “a poor church for the poor,” will meet in the next few days with […]

The Church and ‘Historical Amnesia’

This morning I woke up to find an article posted on the Commonweal magazine website titled, “Historical Amnesia: When Catholic Leaders Misread the Past,” by Nicholas Clifford, the emeritus historian from Middlebury College. In my opinion, it is a very interesting and well-written piece that creatively highlights a number of ways that church leaders have — […]

Preliminary Comments about DOMA Ruling

I have been thinking and praying about what and when to say something about this week’s decisions from the US Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Civil Rights in this country were ostensibly thrown back fifty years into a very unsettling and precarious place in certain parts of the country with well-known and documented histories of racism […]

10 Ways to Misunderstand Vatican II

The current issue of America magazine includes an article by the eminent church historian John O’Malley, SJ, a professor at Georgetown University and author of many important books. O’Malley’s piece, simply titled “Misdirections,” is a commentary on ten ways he understands people to commonly misinterpret the Second Vatican Council, its mission, its documents, and its historical […]

Merton to Pope John XXIII: A Prelude to the Church in the World

About two weeks after Pope John XXIII’s election to the papacy, Thomas Merton wrote to the pope to express his congratulations, share his reflections on the modern vocation of a monk, and to discuss his idea for a new apostolate that focused on dialogue and engagement with all types of people. There is much about […]