Simply Spirit: The Vatican's former hard-line freeze on discussing women's roles may at last be thawing out.
Real love is constant, concrete and communicates -- it is action over words and it obeys the Beatitudes, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.
True love is not "soap-opera love," or "a whim" or something that "makes our heart beat a little faster," and then nothing more, the pope said Thursday during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Love is found "in concrete actions," he said, which is why Jesus told his disciples that only those who do the Father's will would enter into the kingdom of heaven, not those who just call out, "Lord, Lord."
Commentary: In the era of Pope Francis, the whole event has the taste of rotten eggs that should have been thrown out long ago.
A group of Catholic sisters, brothers and priests are spending five days focusing specifically on Francis' call to go to the peripheries and serve those most in need.
Wake up and take action; Pope Francis makes this call in "The Joy of the Gospel," but it seems people "are still sleeping, caught up in a million secondary things," Archbishop Victor Fernandez said.
In his short guide on how to apply the pope's apostolic exhortation -- Evangelii Gaudium in Latin -- the Argentine archbishop said if the teachings in the document were taken seriously, church communities would see significant changes, renewal, life and new energy.
Although he already has said he will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra in Washington in September, Pope Francis formally approved a sentence by members of the Congregation for Saints' Causes recommending the move.
The sentence was presented to the pope during a meeting Tuesday with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, the Vatican announced the next day. During the same meeting, the pope signed decrees relating to the sainthood causes of another 12 men and women.
Grace on the Margins: As we head toward the next synod, it would be wise to note how strongly the pope privileges heterosexual marriage.
The Holy Year of Mercy will be an opportunity to encourage Christians to meet people's "real needs" with concrete assistance, to experience a "true pilgrimage" on foot, and to send "missionaries of mercy" throughout the world to forgive even the most serious of sins, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella.
People seem to enjoy finding the shortcomings of candidates for sainthood like Blessed Junipero Serra, but they should ask themselves if they would have his generosity and courage to leave everything behind to care for the poor and bring them the Gospel, Pope Francis said.
Visiting the Pontifical North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome, Pope Francis said Serra fits into a host of saints who shaped the history and culture of the Americas, particularly by spreading Christianity, caring for the poor and defending the oppressed.
Ross Douthat has written an outstanding piece about Pope Francis in The Atlantic. It provides a worthwhile read into an understanding of the forces that have shaped our current pope.