"Super Bowl or 'Downton'?" I asked my neighbor as she walked her dog last night. "We switched back and forth," she replied. Me? The game was so lopsided by the time "Downton Abbey" came on, I abandoned the 21st century for the Roaring '20s for the entire hour and, apparently, I did not miss much.
Is it not refreshing to hear bishops criticize these draconian laws being passed criminalizing homosexuality in some African countries? The bishops of South Africa, in their newspaper, editorialized against such criminalization. Quick culture war question: How many U.S. bishops think the Supreme Court got it wrong in Lawrence v. Texas?
Pope Francis addressed the members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The report at Vatican Radio speaks for itself. The next time you hear a priest or bishop reduce a complex situation to a Thomistic syllogism, ask them if they have seen Pope Francis' talk to the CDF.
No meme is more constant in these pages than the difference between those Church leaders who adopt a culture warrior mode and those who speak and act as pastors. So, when I saw a recent article entitled "Catholic Principles and American Renewal," I was worried that the article would be a rightwing rant about the decline of American culture and how a particular variety of Catholic expression could heal all that ails.
Pope Francis' tough side came out Thursday. The mailed, hierarchic fist finally emerged from the velvet, pastoral glove. The pope received Fr. John Jenkins and the board of trustees of the University of Notre Dame, and he gave them a tongue-lashing. He criticized Notre Dame for failing to abide by the norms for Catholic identity set forth in Ex Corde Ecclesiae. The pope told the university leaders they had "prostituted" their Catholic identity by inviting President Barack Obama to give a graduation speech.
The next time you think you are depressed, consider the situation of Congressman Michael Grimm who had to read a headline at Politico today reading "Anthony Weiner gives Michael Grimm media advice." Grim, indeed, to be needing advice from Carlos Danger. Grimm brought this on himself with a tantrum worthy of a sandbox, the kind of outburst that would get most people fired.
Pope Francis channeled the late, great Henri de Lubac today, saying at his morning Mass, "It's absurd to claim that we love Christ without the Church." DeLubac famously asked, "What would I know of Him but for Her?" We are not Christians because we happen to have been born in a place where there were Bibles laying about. And, our baptism invites friendship with Jesus by means of incorporating us into the Body of Christ, the Church.
At the close of the Mass at which he was ordained a bishop Wednesday, Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, spoke to the congregation. After the thank yous, he said something very profound: "Jesus wants followers, not admirers." (Full disclosure: Bishop Olson was a Basselin Scholar at Theological College when I was an inmate there as well.)
The President of the USCCB, Archbishop Kurtz, explains in this blogpost why he is going to the Philippines. More evidence that this good man understands the priorities of the faith at this moment in our history.