While the attacks on the satirical Charlie Hebdo weekly magazine and a Jewish supermarket brought a show of solidarity from around the world, they also raised urgent questions.
Analysis: When you consider the list of the 17 people who died in Paris, you realize it reflects French diversity. But that appears to be the point.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Tuesday denounced the Paris terror attacks by Islamic extremists as "an abomination" and "a nauseating perversion of religion," and he stressed that no matter what cartoons were published by the satirical weekly targeted by the killers, they did not justify violence.
In finding no justification for the deaths on the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff, Dolan seemed to part ways with another prominent New York Catholic, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who essentially said the newspaper editors had brought on their own slaughter.
Just Catholic: Who feels better about deriding someone's religious belief? Who wins when the comments get ugly? Who laughs at attacks on what others hold sacred?
France's collective mourning this past week over the slain staffers of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French weekly, rode on deep currents of religious solemnity: massive popular demonstrations, collective solemn silence, flickering candlelight and the tolling of bells. Some details, like the bells of Notre Dame and the dimmed lights of the Eiffel Tower, required official cooperation, but for the most part, the expressions of collective grief were natural outpourings of popular emotion.
The morning after 12 people were shot to death and 11 others injured at the Paris office of a satirical weekly newspaper, Pope Francis dedicated his early morning Mass to the victims and their families.
At the beginning of the Mass on Thursday, he told the small congregation that the attack Wednesday in Paris was a reminder of "the cruelty man is capable of. Let us pray at this Mass for the victims of this cruelty -- there are so many! And, we pray also for the perpetrators of such cruelty that the Lord will change their hearts."
NCR Today: Vatican releases second synod questionnaire; a realistic portrait of St. Nicholas; France bans nativity scenes; retirement care for religious
"The great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions."
When Francis arrives at the European Parliament, he'll be entering a place where the hopes and fears of a whole continent are played out.
Essay: Now that I’ve seen the killing fields and the burial plots of Normandy, I wonder if "Operation Overlord" might not be code for the Higher Power.