- R.R. Reno, "What Francis Said -- and Didn't Say -- To Congress" (First Things, September 24, 2015):
Francis gave no support to Catholics who have fought abortion, the redefinition of marriage, doctor-assisted suicide, and other cultural issues. He also made no mention of threats to religious liberty... The only specific issues Francis mentioned before Congress are associated with progressive politics: abolition of the death penalty, global warming, and arms control. This reinforces the trends of this papacy, at least in relation to the United States. Francis discourages conservative Catholics, more by silence than anything else. He encourages progressives, both by his silences and his affirmations. [emphasis added]
- Editorial Board, "Pope Francis' Challenge to America" (New York Times, September 24, 2015:
On the question of human life, Francis stressed the need to “protect and defend human life at every stage of its development” — a point that seemed to allude to abortion. But in the very next sentence, he used this theme to speak at greater length about need for the global abolition of the death penalty.
As attuned to political subtext as well as any in the audience, he did not speak explicitly about the same-sex marriage movement. But he did warn that “fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.” He added, “I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life,” a point that same-sex couples would certainly embrace.
- "What Does Success Look Like For Pope Francis?" (A Fivethirtyeight Chat, September 23, 2015):
Mark: That assumes Catholicism is about belief, which I think is debatable. I don’t think religion generally is about belief, and Catholicism is no exception.
- D.G. Hart, "You Know What Would Really Be Audacious?" (Old Life, September 23, 2015):
What I’m curious about is whether Pope Francis is a pastor who ministers the good news of Jesus Christ. Think about this. Yesterday in the Wall St. Journal William McGurn opined that the pope is mistaken in his understanding of poverty, that capitalism is far better for raising the prospects of the poor than other schemes.... Here’s the thing, Pope Francis actually has the remedy for the greed of executives and stockholders. He has at his disposal the truth of the gospel (as he understands it), a Petrine ministry, and a sacramental system that could actually change the hearts and minds of New York City financiers. Imagine if instead of visiting political figures, the pope went to Wall St. and preached.
- Fr. Dwight Longenecker, "A Papal Quibble" (Patheos, September 23, 2015):
I’m generally enthusiastic about Pope Francis, but I do wonder why does he keep going on and on to his bishops and clergy about the need to be kind and gentle and merciful? ... I’m all for being kind and gentle, and I agree with the pope’s emphasis on mercy, but I can’t remember him speaking equally about the need for repentance, penance, true contrition and the need to make reparation for our sins.
- John Blake, "The Obamification' of Pope Francis" (CNN, September 15, 2015).
- 5 new ways Pope Francis is sticking it to the Christian right (Salon)
- Pope Francis draws criticism from some conservative Catholics... (Newsday
- Eight times Pope Francis riled conservatives in the Catholic Church (Washington Post)
- The Republican Party's war with Pope Francis has finally started (The Week Magazine)
- Pope drawing criticism from US conservatives (San Angelo Standard Times)
- 5 Ways Pope Francis Has Shocked Conservative Christians (EcoWatch)
- Pope Francis agitates conservative U.S. Catholics (USA Today)
Friday, September 25, 2015
Pontificus Maximus roundup
Didn't you just love Pope Francis' winning smile, his gentle voice, and the way he greeted and hugged and kissed the babies and children brought up to him? That, I liked. As to message content, I found myself frequently wondering how it would have compared to that of, say, a Pius XII, XI, X, or a Leo XXIII, though, I wonder if that would be entirely fair. Still, if you read the reports broadly enough, there is clearly a spectrum of opinion beyond the usual suspects: