This date in history: March 13, 2013. The College of Cardinals elects Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the next pope. Bergoglio takes the name Francis, thus beginning a historic year for the papacy.
One out of four Catholics increased their giving last year, and 77 percent of these donors say that they were inspired to give more by Pope Francis. More than two in five (44%) Catholics say that Pope Francis’ message of hope, love, and charity will inspire them to give more to Catholic efforts or organizations in the future.
NCR Today: A U.S.-based group that operates a clergy sex abuse database has accused Pope Francis of remaining silent on clergy sex abuse during his time in Argentina.
Sixty years ago, the kind of lively Gospel Christianity Pope Francis talks about today was flourishing in the U.S. and 25 other countries. It was achieved through the so-called "movements" -- the Young Christian Workers (YCW), the Young Christian Students (YCS) and the Christian Family Movement (CFM). Small groups from parishes or schools were gathering regularly to examine various problems of life in their own areas, like poverty, politics, racism or culture. They would then discuss how a particular issue relates to Gospel values.
NCR Today: Irish bishops decide not to publish results of synod survey; six priests defrocked in Puerto Rico; the secret Pope Francis haters
NCR's admirable reporting startlingly concludes that roughly two-thirds of U.S. bishops haven't broadly sought opinions from lay Catholics on family-related issues prior to the Synod on that subject later this year. The Vatican had promoted the idea by preparing a survey for that purpose, but, as NCR found, most didn't follow through.
Why not if it had Rome's endorsement?
Reasons vary, of course, but the question might as well be, why should they?
It was inevitable, and the time has come. I need to write my first critical blog post on Pope Francis. It turns out that the Vatican guesthouse, Domus Sanctae Marthae, does not appear to be far enough away from the apostolic palace. Francis is unfortunately starting to sound too much like a pope. The powers that be may be getting to him even at his current residence.
When Pope Francis encourages compassion for those judged and excluded by the church, I can't really include myself among those alienated masses. I'm not gay. I'm not a woman. I'm not divorced.
But he speaks to me as a lifelong Catholic estranged from a hierarchy too often in conflict with what seem to me to be basic Christian values.
True, Francis has not changed the policies that perpetuate the discrimination I find so objectionable.
NCR Today: Seminar encourages gays not to act on feelings; Orthodox patriarchs urge peace in Ukraine; what does it mean to be Catholic now?
Editor's note: When I read Michael O'Loughlin story on how the U.S. bishops responded to the Vatican's synod questionnaire, I wasn't too surprised.