Saturday, November 19, 2016

Did Pope Benedict Abandon His Post? Last Testament Explains Why He Resigned

First appeared in The Stream on November 16, 2016

When he resigned, Benedict XVI profoundly changed the modern papacy. Everyone believed that popes just didn’t resign. Why did he do it? Was it cowardice, as some of his critics said, or maybe depression, as some of his supporters suggested? Did he flee his duties? Should he have stayed through illness and decline the way St. John Paul II had?

...continue reading in The Stream

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Chieti Agreement Encourages Catholic-Orthodox Unity

First appeared in Crisis Magazine on October 25, 2016

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The 2016 Chieti agreement determines two important points of convergence between the Catholics and Orthodox. The foundation of synodality or conciliarity in the Church, which is understood as the gathering of bishops under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, reflects on the Trinitarian mystery and that the Holy Trinity is at its foundation. This means that the three persons of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are at one and the same level of importance. Another fundamental agreement according to the Chieti document is how synodality and primacy are interconnected and interdependent. Primacy according to the document refers to first, protos or primus of the oikoumene—the whole inhabited earth—which embraces all local Churches. Most importantly, according to the agreement Rome is acknowledged as having universal primacy, but understood in the context of synodality as it was applied in the first Christian millennium, when Catholics and Orthodox were united.

What does the Chieti agreement say about the role of the bishop of Rome, his specific function as the bishop of the “first see,” and how this role was lived in the first millennium?

...continue reading in Crisis Magazine 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Cardinal from the Albanian Communist Persecution

First appeared in The Catholic Thing on October 15, 2016

At the end of the Angelus and Mass for the Marian Jubilee, Pope Francis made a surprise announcement: a new consistory on November 19, the eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King and the closing of the Jubilee of Mercy. He simultaneously named seventeen new cardinals. The focus on mercy and “periphery” is evident in those choices.

...continue reading in The Catholic Thing

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Pope in the Middle: What Benedict Thinks About John Paul II and Francis

First appeared in The Stream on October 11, 2016

In his new book The Last Testament, we see Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a deeply humble, reserved, contemplative and theologically brilliant man, small and fragile in stature compared to both his dynamic and brilliantly energetic predecessor and successor. What does he think about the two, St. John Paul II and Pope Francis?

...continue reading in The Stream

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Three Things to Know about Francis’ Visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan

First appeared in Salt and Light Media on September 28, 2016

“Pax vobis - peace to you,” taken from chapter twenty of John's Gospel, is the motto of Pope Francis’s apostolic visit (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) to Georgia and “You are all brothers” chapter 23 of Matthew’s Gospel is the motto for his visit in Azerbaijan. This trip represents the second phase of Francis’s trip to Caucasus, which began on June 24, 2016 with a visit to Armenia. Pope Francis will be the second pope to visit Georgia and Azerbaijan after John Paul II, who visited Georgia in 1999 and Azerbaijan in 2002. The visits are part of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy; and of the promotion of peace and bridge building in the Caucasian region.

But before he goes, here are three things to keep in mind: Francis’s theology of the periphery; the extension of Assisi inter-religious, ecumenical dialogue in Caucasus; and peace building.

...continue reading Salt and Light Media 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Padre Pio and Mother Teresa: Jubilee Patrons

First appeared in The Catholic Thing on September 23, 2016

In February 2016, as part of the Jubilee of Mercy celebrations and by special request of Pope Francis, the remains of St. Padre Pio were moved from San Giovanni Rotondo in Puglia, Southern Italy, to Rome for a weeklong exposition. It was the first time in 100 years that Padre Pio’s body left the convent, which he entered in 1916. He died exactly forty-eight years ago today, September 23, 1968.

According to Pio biographer Fr. Luciano Lotti, Cardinal Bergoglio (the future Pope Francis) has long had a great devotion to Padre Pio. For the Great Jubilee Year of the Third Millennium in 2000, Bergoglio asked, and some relics of Pio’s arrived in Buenos Aires.

Papa Bergoglio canonized Mother Teresa a few weeks ago, just two months before the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Francis’s choice of St. Pio and St. Teresa of Kolkata as jubilee’s patron saints is significant. St. Pio is an example for the missionaries of mercy and Mother Teresa is an example of mercy in action.

... continue reading in The Catholic Thing

The Spiritual Bond between two Francises: Pope Francis and Padre Pio

First published in Salt and Light Media on September 21, 2016

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston announced on September 2 that the heart of St. Pio will be in the Boston area from September 21 through his feast day, September 23. Boston will be the only stop the relic will make during this trip. This is the first time any major relic of Padre Pio will be traveling internationally outside Italy.

But there is another first: In February 2016, as part of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy celebrations and upon special request by Pope Francis, the remains of St. Padre Pio were moved from San Giovanni Rotondo in Puglia, Southern Italy, to Rome for a week-long exposition. For the first time in one hundred years Padre Pio left the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo. Padre Pio is one of the patron saints for Francis’s Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy together with St. Mother Teresa, who was canonized on September 4. 

What bonds the two Francises (Padre Pio’s name before ordination was Francesco Forgone)?

... continue reading in Salt and Light Media