Tag Archive for Pope Francis

Mercy Is Not Accidental

Mercy as it is here contemplated is said to be a virtue influencing one’s will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune. It is the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that although mercy is as it were the spontaneous product of charity, yet it is to be reckoned a special virtue adequately distinguishable from this latter. … Its motive is the misery which one discerns in another, particularly in so far as this condition is deemed to be, in some sense at least, involuntary. Obviously the necessity which is to be succoured can be either of body

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Mercy Is Not Strained Part One

Pope Francis is now three years into his pontificate. He is a popular pope, but there are Catholics who believe his popularity has come at a cost. After many of his extemporaneous remarks as well as some of his more deliberate pronouncements, he has been roundly criticized for avoiding clarity and arguably even undermining Catholic doctrine, as though he views Catholic teachings as simply too much for people to accept and thinks that the nice thing to do is to blur or ignore some teachings and doctrines to make Catholicism more palatable for those he wants to win over. These

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Only One Way Out

I had at least four ideas for posts this week, but only energy enough for this one. We live in a country on a downward spiral. The two front-runners in our current presidential race are, I fear, bad people. Not bad like they have bad ideas or  I don’t agree with them — though both of those things are true. Bad as in not good. As a country, we have enough experience and history with the Clintons to guess the sort of people they are: power-hungry, elitist, vindictive, and predatory. And the Donald makes no attempt to hide what he is: opportunistic, unprincipled, selfish, and

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‘Miserando Atque Eligendo’:
What Is the Holy Father Trying to Say?

“Jesus therefore sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, ‘follow me.’” – Venerable Bede, commenting on the calling of St. Matthew the Apostle; the underlined text is the origin of Pope Francis’s motto, “Miserando atque eligendo.” It should come as no surprise to this group that I continue to be concerned about our Holy Father Pope Francis and the conflicting and conflicted coverage of his pontificate. For me, this is a practical preoccupation: on a regular basis, I encounter all sorts of people who want to draw nearer to

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The Son Who Stayed, Redux

This morning, in a motel room outside of Kansas City, I re-read Meddlesome’s post, “What Happened to the Son Who Stayed?” In many ways, that post and the discussion and posts that followed seem to have set the tone for the Junto’s approach to discussing Pope Francis—a tone that, I continue to worry, is at times not spiritually healthy for us. It’s not that I don’t share the Junto’s concerns about the confusion that has been caused around the Church’s teachings on marriage or find the Pope’s treatment of various cardinals baffling. (And I’ve ceased to try to make sense

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The Case of the Mysterious Meeting

A very hectic week has until now kept me from commenting on the Kim Davis affair, which if contained in a story by Erle Stanley Gardner might be named “The Case of the Mysterious Meeting.”  I realize by now the story has lost most of its legs and will likely disappear in the muddling noise of newer, sexier events.  However… Apparently Kim Davis, the clerk who spent a bit of time in jail for refusing to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples in her Kentucky county, did indeed “meet with” the Holy Father during his visit to the U.S.  Davis

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Quick Reflection: Papal Mass Good PR

This evening I got home from work in time to catch the last fifteen minutes of the Papal Mass celebrated at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, and I flipped between CNN and Fox News to compare their coverages.  In both cases, there was silence from the commentators, who seemed to understand the reverence due the occasion.  There turned out to be a bit of verbal description but they mostly let the video tell the story. As I watched Communion, with thousands of the faithful walking up to receive the Lord (many on the tongue, no less), I found myself

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Nature Rebounds!

Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, Laudato Si’, is sure to invoke all sorts of reactions from its readers.  Having just finished it, I would even dare to suggest that each reader may experience a range of responses, section by section and even sentence by sentence.  It is a combination of pastoral lecture and harsh rebuke, with a sizable dollop of climate science and sideways economics tossed in. As I wrestle with what I consider to be hyperbolic descriptions of the “immense pile of filth” and “constant schizophrenia” I have to admit the real dangers of a throwaway culture that relies on

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Charity Is Hard

“You don’t serve God by saying: the Church is ineffective, I’ll have none of it. Your pain at its lack of effectiveness is a sign of your nearness to God. We overcome this lack of effectiveness simply by suffering on account of it. To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness. Charity is hard and endures. I don’t want to discourage you from reading St. Thomas but don’t read him with the notion that he is going to clear anything up for you. That is done by

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Perón’s Pope?

Since his election and with each new utterance, many of us have been debating what labels apply to Pope Francis.  Perhaps one that we haven’t applied but may be most accurate after some study is the label “Perónist”. Juan Perón, leader of Argentina from the mid-40’s, drove government initiatives that were to be a “3rd option” to the assumed alternative extremes of capitalism or communism.  In the region, capitalism was linked to imperialism, therefore, Peron also drove a strong anti-imperialist agenda.  What we view now as something akin to a corporate socialist framework, Perón tried to find a fine balance

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