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.
Analysis: Pope Francis' longstanding identity as a Jesuit priest is an all-encompassing personal and professional definition that shapes almost everything he does.
NCR Today: Irish bishops decide not to publish results of synod survey; six priests defrocked in Puerto Rico; the secret Pope Francis haters
If the National Football League's smallest city can be home to the four-time Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, why can't it host a visit from Pope Francis?
That's the thinking of Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, who has sent a letter to Pope Francis inviting him to Green Bay in 2015.
Irish bishops have come in for sharp criticism after deciding they will not publish the results of the Vatican survey on the family.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Sunday that Pope Francis is asking the Catholic church to look at the possibility of recognizing civil unions for gay couples, although the archbishop of New York said he would be "uncomfortable" if the church embraced that position.
"His constant outreach to the alienated, his emphasis on mercy and his sheer humanity have served as an inspiration," the USCCB said.
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.
A team of religious, civic and business leaders will travel to Rome to plan for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year.