One of Pope Francis’ first acts was to go to the Church of St. Anne, the parish church for Vatican employees, and say Mass there. At the end of the Mass, he stood outside the vestibule, greeting the parishioners at the door. The pastor at my church here in DC grabbed me as I walked into church later that morning. “Did you see him?” he asked excitedly. “He could have been any parish priest, greeting the people as they leave Mass.” One of the most foundational changes in this pontificate is that Pope Francis is re-fashioning the job description: He is the world’s parish priest.
At an immigration discussion in Illinois, Archbishop Blase Cupich challenged Republicans on the issue, reminding them that the best way to get around President Obama's executive order would be to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The GOP congressmen dodged a bit, but the truth is that they could have signed a discharge petition to force a floor vote.
Tomorrow will be the second anniversary of the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis. If, on the 12th of March 2013 you had told me the cardinals were set to elect a man who would revolutionize the Church in two years, I would have scoffed. Not anymore.
Let's call the next round of campaign finance measures McCain-Feingold-Bergoglio: Pope Francis calls for elections that are not funded by private sources. He just keps trying to endear himself to American conservatives in advance of his visit.
Distinctly Catholic: It's shocking to see Sen. Tom Cotton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and city employees of Ferguson fail to realize the significance of communication.
More joint editorials? So asks Peter Wolfgang at Crisis magazine and suggests that NCR, the Register, American and Our Sunday Visitor follow up on our joint editorial last week against t he death penalty with another opposing physician assisted suicide. I have written about that issue multiple times. I do not how it would bring "balance" to the practice of issuing joint editorials as I suspect most NCR readers also oppose it. Also, why not a joint editorial against poverty?
Yesterday brought some good news and some bad news.
Let’s start with the good news. In a front page story in the Washington Post, Liz Sly analyzed signs that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is apparently suffering from some internal divisions and is now having recruiting problems.
The Holy Father's letter to Cardinal Poli on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Catholic University of Argentina should be mandatory reading for all the cranks at the misnamed Cardinal Newman Society, and other rightwing critics of Catholic higher education who conflate Catholic identity with conservative political and theological stances. The money quote:
There is nothing quite like the race for the presidency, for the most powerful office in the world, to guarantee one the giggles. Yes, the 2016 presidential nominating process has begun and it guarantees to be just as entertaining as 2012.
The rightwing fringe is getting noisier and even more aggressive. First, Pewsitter does not like the appointment of Bishop Bob McElroy to San Deigo and aks if he is really Catholic? Rorate Caeli is similarly upset. To which I say: Congratulations Bishop McElroy. This is the crowd that attacked Cardinal O'Malley for presiding at the funeral of Sen.