The Institutional Church
LIVING THE CATHOLIC FAITH IN THE 3RD MILLENIUM
A LAYMAN'S LOOK AT THE JOURNEY OF FAITH

The Institutional Church

A LISTENING CHURCH  
How does the center of institutional authority — in the Catholic Church, the papacy and the Vatican—allow dialogue within a global, decentralized, talk-back culture? The answer is: with great difficulty.
A LISTENING CHURCH AND AN EMPOWERED LAITY 
Pope Francis speaks of bishops as leaders who should sometimes go ahead of their flock, sometimes simply walk among them, and sometimes fall in at the rear and be led by those seeking new paths.
FLIRTING WITH SCHISM 
The people behind this attempt to force Francis to resign are a small minority of Catholics in the United States; they do not reflect Francis’s relationship with the whole U.S. church, much less the Catholic Church globally.
FRANCIS'S "UNPREDICTABILITY" CONFUSING TO THE AVERAGE CATHOLIC? 
We’re already a week into 2015, but even several days before consigning the old year to the annals of Vatican history Pope Francis indicated that the new year was likely to be full of surprises.
IT'S TIME FOR OUR BISHOPS TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX ABOUT EFFECTIVE PASTORAL LEADERSHIP 
True pastoral leadership notices, encourages and trusts the work of the Spirit in the heart of each believer for the building up of God's reign in our world.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? - PART I 
Making sense of two millennia of relatively untouchable and unassailable top-down power requires a short cut. Singling out those popes known as 'Great' will suffice.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? - PART II 
Jesus had founded a community of and for the poor, yet most of its top leaders were wallowing with the wealthy or in personal wealth.
WHERE ARE THE PRIESTS OF VATICAN II? 
40 years later -- concerned about a Vatican II vision of church and yearning for a community with the same hopes and dreams for justice and peace.
WHOSE ROME? 
The Catholic opposition to Pope Francis is headquartered in the United States. It is a minority within the U.S. Church, but it is well organized. Its main intellectual organ is First Things, its episcopal leader Archbishop Chaput.
WHY THE CHURCH CAN'T CHANGE - OR CAN IT? 
While church leaders themselves can sometimes talk favorably about a structure that is leaner, the question for all of us is what may be lost if there is no longer a distinctive Catholic identity.
SCHISM OR EVOLUTION? 
The concerted efforts to oust Pope Francis are deeply tied to the perverted crisis of abuse embedded in ecclesiastical power structures.
WHY DO SOME CATHOLICS FEAR CHANGE? 
There are striking parallels between the ultramontanist thinkers and authors of the 19th century - the century of Vatican I - and those that could be named the 'new ultramontanists' of today.
THE PILGRIM CHURCH REVIVED UNDER POPE FRANCIS 
A call for a renewed engagement in the world, not on the basis of suspicion and an endless, numbing critique of cultures, but on the basis of love and an evangelical zeal.
VATICAN REORGANIZATION WOULD BE 'DECISIVE SHIFT' 
Pope Francis' advisory Council of Cardinals has suggested that the pontiff reorganize the Vatican to make a 'decisive shift' toward putting the city-state at the service of local Catholic dioceses around the world.
CLERICALISM 
If clericalism looms large in today’s church, it has had centuries to grow strong. David Timbs traces the roots of clericalism back to the end of the Apostolic age, at the end of the first century.
I CAN'T GET THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH OUT OF MY SYSTEM 
For centuries, the official church, consciously or subconsciously, focused on the religious education of children and zeroed in on adults with little developed spiritual maturity.
LET'S TALK ABOUT AUTHORITY 
The relation of the papacy to the bishops, considered as a collective, has been a hot topic for Catholicism on and off since at least the fourteenth century.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S EUPHEMIZATION OF POWER 
Although, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed, the church comprises the whole People of God — the laity and the ordained — in practice, the church is structured by inequality that is sanctioned and consecrated by priestly ordination.
CONFRONTING A SINFUL CHURCH  
Talk of a holy Church without an accompanying “sinful” descriptor, especially in times like our own, can provoke profound cognitive dissonance among the faithful.
THE CHALLENGE AND DILEMMA FACING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S LEADERS 
"Salvation" is NOT some game of demonstrating how many laws, rules and dogmas we can recite; or how many cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die promises we make over our lifetimes...
CLERICAL IDENTITY CRISIS: FLOCK AND PASTURE CAN'T TELL SHEPHERD WHO HE IS 
Hierarchical culture is the gold carrot for those predisposed to its allurements. In its crassest forms it not only seems unbreakable but comes with a breathtaking lack of shame...
SIXTH YEAR MAY GO DOWN AS THE MOST DECISIVE IN FRANCIS' PAPACY 
The pope invites us to a different way of being a Christian church in which the new evangelization is no longer tied up with technological, still less managerial, questions, as too often happened here in the U.S. under John Paul II and Benedict XV.
BISHOPS MUST LOOK WITHIN THEIR OWN CULTURE 
Clergy culture or clerical culture are quickly becoming well-worn descriptions of an entity that previously went by the more reverential term "priesthood."
THE SHALLOW INTERPRETATION OF CLERICALISM 
With roots going back over a millennium and half, the ancient clerical system has been superimposed as an anti-evangelical institution upon the lay Catholic sacrament of Orders.
HOW VIEWS ON PRIESTLY CELIBACY CHANGED IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY 
For a long time the Catholic Church struggled with its interpretation of Scriptures on priestly celibacy. It wasn’t until the 12th century that priestly celibacy became mandatory.
GERMAN BISHOPS ANNOUNCE 'SYNODAL PROCESS' ON CELIBACY, SEXUAL MORALITY 
Cardinal Reinhard Marx has announced that the Church in Germany is embarking on a "binding synodal process" to tackle the three key issues arising from the clerical abuse crisis: priestly celibacy, the teaching on sexual morality, and a reduction of clerical power.
GERMAN BISHOPS GO IT ALONE ON REFORM PROCEDURE 
While the bishops deeply appreciated celibacy how far it was always necessary for the priesthood was something 'we will find out'
THE ROLE OF POWER, CLERICALISM IN THE SEX ABUSE CRISIS 
Pope Francis has described clericalism as an attitude embraced by priests and bishops in which they see themselves as special or superior to others.
TO SERVE THE PEOPLE OF GOD: A CONVERSATION ON PRIESTHOOD AND MINISTRY  
Report from the Boston College Seminar on Priesthood and Ministry for the Contemporary Church.
THE PROBLEMATIC RISE OF ARMCHAIR THEOLOGIANS 
Inaccurate or misrepresentative interpretations of church teaching have been weaponized and used to attack those with whom one disagrees.
DUELING POPES? MAYBE 
Dueling Views in a Divided Church? Definitely - What is happening is what many of us hoped would not happen
POPE PROPOSES RADICAL SHAKEUP OF THE ROMAN CURIA 
New constitution means all work of the curia comes under a mission to evangelise, clipping wings of the powerful CDF
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH WOMEN DEACONS? 
Nothing, says this scholar of women’s ordination in the early church.
‘IF EX-CATHOLIC WAS A RELIGION...’ - WHY INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC CHURCHES ARE FLOURISHING 
The clergy sex-abuse scandals, conversion to other faiths, and declining religiosity in general all play a role.
TO ADDRESS CLERGY SEX ABUSE, ADDRESS FORMATION FOR MINISTRY 
How the church forms ministers is crucial, says a new report on the clergy sex abuse crisis.
DESPITE MUCH-HYPED REFORM, NEW CURIA REMAINS A GOVERNING APPARATUS 
The Roman Curia is a power structure — a bureaucracy: making evangelization its goal will not make the Curia fit for ecclesial purpose; it will bureaucratize the Church’s missionary mandate.
POPE SAYS STUDY ON WOMEN DEACONS WAS INCONCLUSIVE 
No conclusion about whether deaconesses in the early church were "ordained" or formally "blessed..."
POWER, AND ITS APPEARANCE, IN VATICAN CURIAL REFORM 
Pope Francis is expected to approve a final draft of a new governing constitution for the Roman Curia.
THEOLOGIANS, CARDINALS DEFEND POPE’S THEOLOGY IN WAKE OF HERESY CHARGE 
Francis’s approach is elliptic, and gravitates around two permanent hearts, the heart of man and the heart of the Gospel.
WHY AMAZON SUMMIT ‘COULD CHANGE THE CHURCH FOR EVER’ 
Will the traditional link between celibacy and the priesthood be examined?
HIERARCHY AND THE NEED FOR A 'CULTURE OF VULNERABILITY' 
Vulnerability, properly understood, is precisely what members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy need to embrace as a strength.
ABOLISH THE PRIESTHOOD 
Opinion: to save the Church, Catholics must detach themselves from the clerical hierarchy — and take the faith back into their own hands.
IS POPE FRANCIS A SOCIALIST? 
Whenever Pope Francis discusses the economy, it sets off cries that the pope is a socialist or a communist. What is his vision for the economy?
IN THE VATICAN’S ‘GAME OF THRONES,’ CAN POPE FRANCIS ‘BREAK THE WHEEL’? 
Like Daenerys Targaryen, Francis has found breaking the wheel easier said than done.
AVERY DULLES ON WOMEN AND THE PRIESTHOOD (FROM 1996) 
The critics include theologians of acknowledged professional competence. Here are ten of the principal objections that are commonly raised.
CONSERVATIVES STILL RULE THE US BISHOPS' CONFERENCE 
Describing bishops is often more complicated than simply pigeonholing them as "right" or "left."
PROPOSED NEW APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION REORDERS VATICAN'S OFFICES 
Reorienting the mission of the Church's central command... officials must no longer consider themselves a "superior authority" but servants of the pope and the world's bishops.
THE HIERARCHICAL SPIRIT THAT WILL NOT DIE 
National Catholic Reporter publishes Part 2 of 2 of a posthumous essay on clerical culture from Eugene Kennedy.
BROKEN TRUST IN A BROKEN CLERICAL SYSTEM 
The current state of the priesthood and episcopacy seems to be in shambles.
DON’T ABOLISH THE PRIESTHOOD. REDEEM IT 
Another voice in the current conversation about the Roman Catholic priesthood. Very interesting comments at the end of the article, as well.
VATICAN GENDER DOCUMENT MAKES ONE THING CLEAR 
The church needs to further a dialogue about transgender individuals.
BEFORE I TAKE ON CLERICALISM, I WILL SAY: I LOVE BEING A PRIEST 
We need to change the whole culture of the priesthood and episcopacy.
THE PRIESTHOOD IS BEING CRUCIFIED ON THE CROSS OF CELIBACY 
We cannot bring about real reform of the Roman Catholic priesthood unless we do away with mandatory celibacy...
PARTISAN TWEETS, NAPA PARTIES & BISHOPS 
It’s more evidence of systemic problems at the higher levels of American Catholicism.
THE AMAZON SYNOD AND PRIESTLY CELIBACY 
Will history see the upcoming Synod as the opening step toward undermining priestly in the Western Church at large?
VILLANOVA HISTORIAN SAYS CHAPUT, CORDILEONE, AND STRICKLAND ARE ‘DEVOUT SCHISMATICS’ 
Dissent against this pope has become radicalized with schismatic instincts because this kind of political devotion is more about a partisan ideology than about the Church.
REFORM OR DISMANTLE? 
There is a danger that an indiscriminate skepticism toward institutions has blinded us to their necessity, and left them to be appropriated by people with no scruples about abusing institutional power to get their way.
MISSING THE BUS 
How the Catholic Church has failed to adapt since Vatican Council II
CARDINAL HITS BACK AT CRITICS OF PAN-AMAZON SYNOD  
Cardinal Pedro Barreto... emphasising that it will help the Church stand with exploited indigenous communities and become an effective evangelising presence.
WHEN PICKING NEW US BISHOPS, FRANCIS SHOULDN'T HESITATE TO RUFFLE FEATHERS 
Pope should fill diocese vacancies with pastors who are committed to him.
WOMEN IN THE CHURCH: WHAT HAS BEEN IS NOT WHAT NEED BE 
Can you say where in the Gospels Jesus institutes the presbyterate (priesthood) and the deaconate? Hint: nowhere.
THE PROBLEM OF CLERICALISM MAKES TRANSPARENCY IMPOSSIBLE 
It is the system in which only priest clerics judge clerics, only priest clerics wield authority, and only priest clerics promote clerics to higher offices.
DIASPORA AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 
How an essay by Karl Rahner 65 years ago predicted the state of today's Church and offers a path forward.
ARE YOU WEAK ENOUGH TO BE A PRIEST? 
A beautiful essay by Michael Buckley SJ, about the vocation to the priesthood that is widely used in priestly and diaconate formation around the U.S.
TACKLE CLERICALISM FIRST WHEN ATTEMPTING PRIESTHOOD REFORM 
Clericalism is so deeply engrained in our structures and way of thinking that we almost can't imagine how things could be otherwise.
SHOULD WE BE CALLING PRIESTS 'FATHER'? 
It is time for the dangers inherent in the use of ‘father’ as a form of address to be taken seriously.
CONFRONTING THE SYSTEMIC DYSFUNCTION OF CLERICALISM  
Produced by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests in collaboration with Voice of the Faithful and lay people and clergy across the nation...
POPE EXPLAINS AIM OF SYNOD, WARNS AGAINST NATIONALISM 
The upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Amazon is an "urgent" gathering, not of scientists and politicians, but for the church whose main focus in discussions will be evangelization.
SEVEN STEPS TOWARDS ENDING CLERICALISM 
A few steps that ought to be taken to make the ideal of the community of Christian communities concrete..
MARRIED PRIESTHOOD, CELIBACY, AND THE AMAZON SYNOD: AN EASTERN CATHOLIC PRIEST’S PERSPECTIVE 
The dichotomy is not between marriage and priesthood but between marriage and monasticism.
WHY PEOPLE HATE RELIGION 
The charlatans and phonies preen and punish, while those of real faith do Christ’s work among refugees.
POPE’S NEW CARDINALS REFLECT HIS VISION FOR A CHURCH OF DIALOGUE 
A priority for dialog with other religions, concern for migrants and a field hospital Church...
CATHOLIC GOVERNANCE: A CHALLENGE FOR IMPROVEMENT 
The governance of the Church is still locked into its monarchical past
WHEN PRIEST WEDS NUN 
Stories about the weddings of priests and nuns were usually presented as singular curiosities, but in hindsight...
REFORMING THE CHURCH WITH 'NO POSSIBILITY OF RETURN' 
How Pope Francis is initiating processes of Church reform that will be hard to undo.
WHY DO SOME CATHOLICS OPPOSE POPE FRANCIS? 
It is neither unusual nor surprising to encounter discord and opposition in the Catholic Church.
CONFRONTING CAUSES OF CLERICALISM: ORIGINAL SIN, INSTITUTIONAL DYNAMICS 
Clericalism is a real thing, not a myth or mirage. It is a sense of elitism and superiority among the clergy that sets them apart.
BEYOND THE US, THE TOP FIVE COUNTRIES FOR BEEFS WITH THE POPE 
Francis hardly is the first pope to generate controversy, so the mere fact of blowback is both inevitable and non-probative.
GOOD-NEWS, BAD-NEWS FOR AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS  
Results from the latest Pew Research survey on how much trust Americans have in those holding positions of power and responsibility.
HUMANIZED FRANCIS SPEAKS AS A LEADER WHOSE MOVEMENT IS FALLING APART 
Francis' blunt assertions about his opponents during his return to Rome from Africa suggest that he in particular is under worrisome stress.
WOMEN WALKING TOGETHER, AWAY FROM THE CHURCH 
The Vatican released the participants' list for the upcoming Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region the other day. All 185 synod votes belong to men.
POPE JOHN XXIII: A BREATH OF FRESH AIR 
Pope John opened the dialogue that led to a renewed church that could minister effectively in the 21st century.
THE DECOLONIAL AND INTERCULTURAL HOPES OF THE PAN-AMAZON SYNOD 
A disproportionate amount of attention has been given to proposals outlined in merely one paragraph (129) in a document that is 147 paragraphs long.
THE EMERGENCE OF SYNODALITY AND THE INADEQUACY OF CANON LAW 
Historically the Church has never been regulated exclusively by legal codes, says Massimo Faggioli
OPENING AMAZON SYNOD, FRANCIS WARNS AGAINST BEING 'SMOTHERED BY ASHES' DEFENDING STATUS QUO 
The pontiff said that while Catholic prelates are called to be prudent, they are also called to be open to the possibility of new things.
FRANCIS, CARDINALS URGE AMAZON SYNOD TO CONSIDER NEW IDEAS 
Openness to new ways of thinking emerged as the primary theme of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops for the Amazon region on its first day of business.
POSSIBILITY OF WOMEN DEACONS PROPOSED ON DAY THREE OF THE AMAZON SYNOD 
Most bishops who lead dioceses in the Amazon support the ordination of married men of proven virtue, or viri probati, as a way of addressing the lack of priests in the region.
POPE'S PATH TO ALLOW MARRIED PRIESTS FOR AMAZON STRAIGHTFORWARD 
The way forward is relatively easy, as celibacy is only a practice of the church and not a revealed dogma.
WHY THERE WON’T BE AN AMERICAN SCHISM 
Genuine schisms have been few and far between, and none is brewing in American Catholicism now.
THE REALITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE MARRIED PRIESTHOOD: AN EASTERN CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE 
Seven points of caution for those who support or hope for possible alterations to the requirement of clerical celibacy in the Latin Church.
JOHN XXIII AND THE AMAZON SYNOD 
The synod gathering in Rome is the latest fruit of the Good Pope's still-unfolding reform.
GERMAN BISHOP OPPOSES EVANGELIZATION AS A BATTLE CRY AGAINST REFORM 
Gulf between proclamation of the Gospel and the reality of people's daily lives has now become so wide that it's almost impossible to talk about the Christian faith.
SEMINARIES AND FORMATION: ONE PRIEST’S PERSPECTIVE AND SUGGESTION 
Carrying out the formation of priests in a monastic setting might seem counterintuitive. However, it is less so than it seems.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS BACK ORDINATION OF MARRIED MEN AS PRIESTS IN AMAZON REGION 
It was the first time a summit of bishops convened by a pope has endorsed such a historic change to the tradition of a celibate priesthood. The final decision will be up to the pope.
UPCOMING BISHOPS' MEETING REFLECTS CURRENT STATE OF U.S. CHURCH 
The meeting is traditional, but no one knows what to expect; it will largely be ignored by mainstream society, and it is difficult to feel much confidence in the current leadership.
THE U.S. BISHOPS TRAVEL TO ROME 
The bond between Rome and local churches around the world has always been crucial to the Catholic Church’s understanding of itself as universal.
AS SYNOD CLOSES WITH CALL FOR "CREATIVITY," THE POPE'S PLEDGE: "I WILL PICK UP THE GAUNTLET" 
The Pope slipped another stealth "bomb" into the talk, revealing his thought that the assembly's next edition might just focus on "synodality" itself.
WHAT THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS MEANS FOR VATICAN II... AND 'VATICAN III' 
Massimo Faggioli shows how the Synod under Francis is becoming an ecclesial event involving the whole Church
WHAT THE AMAZON SYNOD DECIDED & WHAT IT REVEALED 
Perhaps ecclesiologists will say it was the moment that the great unresolved issue of Vatican II—whether the local or the universal should take precedence—finally settled on a proper balance.
THE SYNOD FOR THE AMAZON: A FRESCO FOR OUR ‘COMMON HOME' 
A large fresco where tudo está interligado, everything is connected, as some members of the synod sometimes sang – and not just said – within the chamber.
POPE FRANCIS USING SYNODS TO ‘BUILD CONSENSUS’ IN CHURCH 
Sister Nathalie Becquart believes Pope Francis is using synods to gradually build consensus and preserve Church unity.
A SYNOD IS ALWAYS A MISSIONARY CROSSROAD FOR THE CHURCH 
An interview with the Pro-Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops on the value of synodality in Pope Francis’ Pontificate and his experience of the Amazonian Synod.
FROM SYNODALITY TO A CREATIVE PASTORAL APPROACH 
Journalists and commentators have been spilling a lot of ink over the recently ended "Amazon Synod." And, naturally, they are mostly focusing on these three items...
THE QUESTION BEHIND THE SYNOD: HOW CAN AND SHOULD CHANGE HAPPEN IN THE CHURCH? 
If you envision Christ in such a way that he always confirms your beliefs and never makes you squirm, you are on the wrong track and you need some spiritual guidance.
HOW US CHURCH TRIED AND FAILED TO GET ABUSE PLAN PAST ROME 
The attempt to carry out an ecclesiastical power play against the Pope... was a quick-fix solution attempting to shore up the US bishops’ reputations. Even more shocking was [the plan] to deliberately exclude Rome from the design of the proposal.
GENUINE DIALOGUE TAKES CHURCH INTO UNSCRIPTED TERRITORY 
The no-holds-barred conversation that Pope Francis has introduced in the synod process requires trust and, while stirring up opposition, also raises expectations.
CLEARER VATICAN II VISION 
The church exists for the sake of the Gospel, not itself - the ideas of development and change predominate the insights in a hefty new book by Australian theologian Ormond Rush.
USCCB FALL ASSEMBLY 2019 
From the National Catholic Reporter, all covearage detailing the 2019 Fall meeting of the U.S. Bishops, whose agenda reflects the current state of the Church in the U.S.
FRANCIS: THE POPE WE NEED 
The Radical Traditionalists and Francis Derangement Syndrome. Of all the things Pope Francis has done, this emphasis on mercy had most enraged his opposition.
ANALYSIS: THE USCCB ‘ABORTION DEBATE,’ AND WHAT CAME AFTER 
In the social media era, bishops can feed the polarization and nastiness of hot-take culture, even inadvertently.
WHAT INFLUENCE DOES RELIGION HAVE ON AMERICANS' LIVES? 
A new Pew Research Center survey issued Nov. 15 gauges the influence religion has on Americans' lives and the hold Catholicism and other Christian religions has on their adherents.
EVANGELIZATION IS FIRST PRIORITY FOR US BISHOP 
In an interview with Vatican News, the newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) talks about priorities for the Church in America...
THE PARADOX OF PLURALISM 
What do we mean by ‘religion’? What makes a 'religion' distinctive from a 'way of life," or from a collection of cultural practices?
THE SYNODAL CHURCH 
The reform of the Church requires we make a step forward in adopting a renewed synodal praxis that is able to engage everyone.
THE FAILED LEADERSHIP OF U.S. BISHOPS IS CLEAR 
It doesn't take an ecclesiologist to arrive at that conclusion about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after witnessing its dysfunction during the group's recent meeting in Baltimore.
ADRIFT & ALONE 
What’s a “synod”? The USCCB doesn’t seem to know, and doesn’t seem to care, writes Massimo Faggioli. The Bishops Meet, and Miss the Point
GERMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH DEBATES SEXUALITY, CELIBACY AND WOMEN’S ROLES 
The German church is one of the most powerful regions of the Catholic world, a player whose wealth and theological influence are now creating a challenge for the entire church.
THE CHURCH NEEDS A LUNG TRANSPLANT 
Perhaps, thanks to Pope Francis, the surgery has begun with the recent Amazon synod
IMPATIENT FOR REFORM OR WAITING OUT THE POPE? 
The majority of both his supporters and detractors can agree on one thing: it's been a sufficient amount a time – to do something positive or to wreck everything.
GOODBYE, CLIMBERS! WE NEED TO RESTORE SERVANT LEADERSHIP IN THE PRIESTHOOD 
Time for real reform. Francis says he wants a poorer church for the poor. Let's get started. One thing is clear, ambition for wealth and power are not part of that church.
GERMAN CATHOLICS COMPLETE FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR 'SYNODAL WAY' 
German Catholics insisted their national "synodal way" reform consultation will have an impact on the church worldwide, as final preparations were completed for the consultation's first plenary in January.
CARDINAL LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE: THE POPE'S MVP 
The 62-year-old Archbishop of Manila is soon to take charge of one the most important and powerful offices at the Vatican... and may be the most significant personnel move of Francis' pontificate.
FRANCIS IS DRAGGING THE CHURCH, KICKING AND SCREAMING, INTO… THE 20TH CENTURY 
The pope's reforms are seen as too modest by some, but too radical by others
COMMUNION IN THE AMERICAN CHURCH 'IS ALREADY FRACTURED' 
Pope Francis says he is not 'afraid of schisms' — Massimo Faggioli thinks the prospect of a crack is very real
2019: THE YEAR IN REVIEW WITH POPE FRANCIS 
As 2019 draws to a close, we look back at the events, encounters, discourses and journeys that have marked this year for Pope Francis.
FOR U.S. CHURCH, A YEAR OF ABUSE FALLOUT, NEW LEADERS, AND UNSUNG HEROES 
Leaders tried to turn a corner on one of the bleakest periods in modern American Church history while also acknowledging the pain and suffering caused by the Church’s failings.
DANGEROUS DISCONNECTS 
Priestly formation and academic theology are increasingly cut off from the real lives of Catholics. That poses a problem, one that theologians must address.
VULNERABILITY AS STRENGTH 
"Is the God we worship vulnerable?" If that is the case, and Jesuit Fr. James Keenan believes so, then he asks: "Why couldn't we develop an ecclesiology based on the risk-taking vulnerability of God?"
POPE FRANCIS BEGINS THE MOST CRUCIAL YEAR OF HIS PONTIFICATE 
When the history of Pope Francis' time as Bishop of Rome is finally written, there is a good chance that 2020 will be recorded as the most important...
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BEGINS ITS OWN ROARING TWENTIES 
The increasing influence of social media in crafting narratives about the Catholic Church is part of the depersonalization of the religious identity.
BENEDICT OPENLY DEFENDS CLERICAL CELIBACY AS FRANCIS CONSIDERS MARRIED PRIESTS 
Never before in the history of the Church: a retired pope openly weighing in on something currently under consideration by his successor, the reigning pontiff.
BENEDICT REMOVES NAME FROM BOOK ON CELIBACY AFTER DISPUTE OVER HIS INVOLVEMENT 
The saga over the book on celibacy "shows that the cardinals themselves are still learning how to work with the office of the 'pope emeritus.'
THE MYTH OF THE SELF-REGULATING INSTITUTION OF 'POPE EMERITUS' 
The issue, objectively, is the freedom of the bishop of Rome in his ministry, a ministry of unity of the church, free from undue interference external or internal.
THE UNCONTROLLABLE CONSEQUENCES OF A BROKEN PROMISE 
How Benedict XVI found himself embroiled in controversy over a book on celibacy
YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE. REALLY? 
It's hard to find certainty when our social climate is like living in a political fun house, says Sr. Joan Chittister 011920_truth.jpg
WHY THE EMERITUS PAPACY MUST BE REFORMED 
The way Benedict’s entourage has at times used him and his writings to undermine Francis is a scandal and a disgrace.
GERMAN SYNODAL ASSEMBLY COULD REBUILD CHURCH CREDIBILITY 
The synodal path will be judged by the extent to which divergent views will be allowed to be heard.
UNDERSTANDING THE DEBATE ABOUT CELIBACY 
The Church's long-standing discipline of celibacy, it is useful to remember, is the priestly commitment not to marry, following the practice of Jesus and mandated for at least a thousand years in the Western Church.
WHEN ROME FALLS... 
More signs that there's no stopping the Catholic Church's long, slow implosion
BENEDICT’S ESTRANGEMENT FROM RATZINGER  
The truly unfortunate thing about all of this is that Ratzinger was one of the most important theologians of Vatican II. Massimo Faggioli on how Benedict has estranged himself from his own legacy.
THEOLOGICAL DRIFT 
Despite the pivotal role he played in Vatican II, Benedict XVI has spent the rest of his career, particularly his emeritus papacy, distancing himself from it.
POPE FRANCIS REMAKES THE AMERICAN HIERARCHY, ONE BISHOP AT A TIME 
Fr. Tom Reese analyzes the direction such appointments are taking the church.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PAPAL DIPLOMACY 
The Holy See seems to be one of the few global actors that remembers the dark lessons of the last century’s nationalist and authoritarian catastrophes.
A WAY OUT OF THE US BISHOPS' TIGHT IDEOLOGICAL AND PARTISAN CORNER 
If the Catholic hierarchy is ever to regain authority within the community, it will have to begin communicating as Bishop Robert McElroy and Cardinal Blase Cupich have...
POPE FRANCIS REJECTS PROPOSAL TO ALLOW MARRIED PRIESTS IN REMOTE AREAS 
The decision is a victory for conservative forces who had warned that the change would be a slippery slope to the thrashing of church traditions.
POPE FRANCIS DISCERNS 'THIRD WAY' FOR THE AMAZON 
For the Pope, the key challenge was to open up to new thinking in order to implement the vision of Laudato Si’.
WITH A BIG ‘NO’ TO MARRIED PRIESTS, POPE FRANCIS SHOWS THAT, YES, HE’S STILL CATHOLIC 
Now many are wondering if his choice to close the door firmly was simply in the interest of keeping the church together...
"QUERIDA AMAZONIA": COMMENTARY ON POPE FRANCIS' APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION 
Splendor, drama, mystery: with these three words Francis offers to the people of God and all persons of goodwill his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia.
POPE’S TOP AIDES SAY DOOR STILL OPEN ON MARRIED PRIESTS, WOMEN DEACONS 
Pope Francis appears to leave the question of married priests open-ended, giving neither a clear yes or no.
FATHER JOSH: A MARRIED CATHOLIC PRIEST IN A CELIBATE WORLD 
In a Catholic world where debates over clerical celibacy have flared from Brazil to the Vatican, Joshua Whitfield is that rarest of things: A married Catholic priest.
PIUS XII FACES MOMENT OF TRUTH AS OPENING OF VATICAN ARCHIVES NEARS 
For years controversy surrounding the figure of Pope Pius XII has been a sore point for the Holy See, but the Vatican will be seeking to set the record straight...
REFORMERS' IDEAS GAIN MOMENTUM IN GERMAN SYNODAL WAY 
Amid a shrinking Catholic Church in Germany, participants in the first session of synodal way meetings brought up questions about sexual morality, the ordination of women, and compulsory celibacy.
'NOTHING' BISHOP GETS FRANK ON MARRIED PRIESTS, VATICAN UNDER FRANCIS 
Bishop John Michael Botean, who leads the Eparchy of St. George's, RCD Canton, Ohio, the Romanian Greek Catholic Church's only diocese abroad, spoke with unusual candor in a Feb. 18 interview.
'QUERIDA AMAZONIA' HAS FLAWS OF OMISSION BUT GIVES US PLENTY TO ACT ON 
Compared to what went before, though, we prefer the new pathway that Pope Francis has opened.
POPE TO US BISHOPS: NO, ‘SYNODALITY’ DOESN’T MEAN ‘DEMOCRACY’ 
The problem with “synodality” as a focus for discussion, however, is that it seems to mean widely differing things to different people.
A MODEST PROPOSAL: SPREAD THE PRIESTHOOD BY ELIMINATING CLERGY 
Years ago, Andrew Greeley proposed a solution to the priest shortage: the "Priest Corps." It could be initiated immediately, and it could lead to a permanent change in church leadership.
HOW POPE FRANCIS OUTFLANKS HIS FOES 
What we see is Francis moving to enact something more profound than a shift in understanding doctrine: a transformation of the Church’s power dynamics.
LEADERSHIP ROUNDTABLE BRINGS A DOSE OF REALITY TO THE CHURCH 
No one, not even the papal representative, voiced a public objection to the prevailing motivation for the gathering: the church is in crisis and needs help.
A REVIEW ON THE VISION OF POPE FRANCIS 
The pontificate of Pope Francis has its heart in the discernment. Many people believe that the Pope has all the clear, distinct ideas, and they wonder where he wants to take the Church.
POPE CHOOSES 'SYNODALITY' AS THEME FOR 2022 SYNOD  
"Synodality," which literally means "walking together," has become a key topic of Francis' pontificate, but one which has raised questions and even confusion.
FRANCIS CREATES NEW WOMEN DEACONS COMMISSION, NAMING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MEMBERSHIP 
The question of the ordination of women as deacons has emerged as something of an ideological battleground for the Catholic Church in recent years.
CLERICALISM AND THE PANDEMIC 
It is always God who acts in and through sacramental encounter, the ordained serving as instruments to gather the Church together for the purpose of encountering God’s activity. Anything else serves only to limit our vital experience of God’s forgiveness, mercy, and love.
PAPACIES IN LOCKDOWN 
Crises like these tend to have an effect on popes as human beings, and on the papacy as institution. We can already see it beginning to happen.
IS THE FRANCIS PONTIFICATE IN CRISIS? 
Michael Sean Winters responds to Massimo Faggioli's two-part critique of Pope Francis at La Croix.
THE END OF CLERICALISM 
As the human race joins the rest of the planet in a struggle for survival, the church is also trying to find its footing. Why? Clericalism.
THE US CHURCH IS GOING BROKE. HERE’S WHY, AND WHAT IT COULD MEAN 
While some acute effects of the pandemic will shape the Church in the months to come, the collapsing global economy will have a far more enduring and dramatic impact on parishes, chanceries, and other Catholic ministries.
SOONER OR LATER, POPE FRANCIS WILL HAVE TO FACE THE PERPLEXITIES OF REFORM 
Francis was elected on a reform mandate, and from his own rhetoric it’s clear how much he abhors corruption. Right now, however, many observers would say the ...curve doesn’t appear to be flattening.
PASCAL & THE MAGISTERIUM 
Paul Griffiths on how Pascal's tussle with the magisterium in his day can teach us how to be a critical Catholic today.
‘DON’T UNDER-ESTIMATE OPPOSITION TO FRANCIS’ 
Thanks to their power and influence the opponents have created an impression that many agree with their stance. But the truth is that [most Catholics] are with Francis. Those opposing Francis have influence in Rome, and what is going on is “a struggle for the soul of Catholicism.”
COULD PRE-EXISTING DIVISIONS HAMPER CATHOLIC RECOVERY FROM PANDEMIC? 
After two months of being told that physical attendance at Mass isn’t strictly necessary, will people go back to Church?
A TELLING SPELL OF CATHOLIC 'LEADERSHIP' 
Crisis reveals and clarifies. At a time when Catholic bishops, public intellectuals, and editors need to speak and act with moral clarity more than ever, the past month has seen such leaders doing the opposite.
SYNODS AS HABITATS OF HOPE 
The pandemic has deeply interrupted all our lives and the life of the Church. And it has made clear how ruthless the mechanisms of social disintegration can be for the weakest members of our communities.
CARDINAL CUPICH: HOW VATICAN II CAN HELP US NAVIGATE THE POLITICS OF A PANDEMIC  
The penetrating vision of the Second Vatican Council... provides an unparalleled orientation, identifying a clear pathway of public engagement, conscience formation and authentic witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
PARISHES FACE NEW CHALLENGES AS MILLENNIALS AVOID MARRIAGE, FAMILY LIFE  
As millennials are approaching age 40, their family life radically differs from past generations, a reality that Catholic leaders and scholars say present particular challenges for passing on the faith and for building Catholic community.
IMAGINING THE CHURCH OF TOMORROW 
In a rapidly changing world, the Church needs to leave the beaten path. Pope Francis invites us to do this by calling for a Church that "goes out of itself". The future of Catholicism depends on synod-like dialogue between clergy and laity.
PRIESTS, PARISHES SHARE VIGANÒ'S LETTER TO TRUMP  
Catholic observers worry about a normalizing effect when parish priests promote radicalized individuals such as Viganò to everyday Catholics in the pews who are unattuned to inside church baseball.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE IS FIDELITY IN NEWNESS  
Certain critiques of the current pontificate challenge the Second Vatican Council and end up forgetting the Magisterium of Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
SAY WHAT YOU WILL ABOUT THE VATICAN, THERE’S NO DENYING ITS SENSE OF DRAMA  
If we’re going to moan about the Vatican we also need to acknowledge its strengths, and high on that list has to be its remarkable sense of drama.
COVID-19 & THE CLERICAL CHURCH 
For all the supposed fragility of the Church’s institutional system, its persistence is undiminished. It remains, and likely will remain, highly clerical. . Our experience with the ecclesial system over the last few months has shown us the difference between dreams and reality.
WE NEED BISHOPS WHO WILL CHALLENGE THE RICH AND POWERFUL 
The reasons for the alliance between church leaders and the rich and influential may vary, but one stands out: The bishops need the money and political influence of these wealthy and powerful individuals because of the way the institutional church is structured.
VATICAN COUNCIL II: A SEED THAT CONTINUES TO GROW 
This year December 8 will mark the 55th anniversary of the end of the Second Vatican Council. It is an important moment in this period since a new debate has been provoked in the ecclesial community...
THE PROBLEMS WITH PAPAL POLITICKING  
The church's next conclave is not this November's presidential election - a look at the politicking within Cardinal Timothy Dolan's apparent meddling in the process of selecting a papal successor.
AT THE HALFWAY POINT OF 2020, IS THE YEAR ALREADY OVER FOR THE VATICAN? 
Until further notice there will be few tourists, cancelled meetings and no papal travel. After so many months of lockdown, and then piecemeal re-opening, there is a feeling of weariness and fatigue at the Vatican. And there's a sense of uncertainty about the future.
OUR INSIDE-OUT BISHOPS NEED TO LOOK OUTWARD AGAIN 
The immediate past has been characterized by an inward focus in which the concerns of the sacristan have trumped the demands of the Gospel. The successors of the apostles, the bishops, should follow the pope's lead and begin to look outward again.
IT'S TIME TO END MALE SUPREMACY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 
In recent years we have witnessed the Vatican engage in disingenuous attempts to find an acceptable "role" for women in the church, believing that a few cosmetic changes might convince women to stop agitating for equality.
MAINSTREAMING WOMEN'S MINISTRIES 
A Survey of Young Catholic Women in Formation and Ministry in the United States - The results of a new survey of Catholic women ages 21-40 who have earned or are pursuing a higher degree in ministry or related studies.
THE PASTORAL CONVERSION OF THE PARISH COMMUNITY - ABOUT THE EVANGELIZING MISSION OF THE CHURCH 
Given that the Church is mandated by Christ to be missionary, evangelizing and outward looking, a reform of her structures is continuously required in order to respond to the challenges of the day.
WHEN ROME FALLS… MORE SIGNS THAT THERE'S NO STOPPING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S LONG, SLOW IMPLOSION  
Francis does not seem at all alarmed by this collapse. He knows it must happen so that the Church can be re-born. It must walk the journey of dying and rising.
TODAY’S LESSON FROM ROME IS ABOUT PERSPECTIVE AND PATIENCE 
People who today seem enemies may later become friends; disputes that now seem intractable may dissolve; and ideas that seem anathema may come to be not only acceptable but eminently “orthodox.”
WAS VATICAN II REALLY THE “SEED OF ERROR”? OR WAS IT “A TRUTH ONLY HALF RECEIVED?” 
Is the ‘seed’ in question rather the lopsided choice of theologians to develop one strand of conciliar teaching at the expense of occluding others?”
POPE FRANCIS’ CRITICS ARE DIVIDING THE CHURCH AND FAMILIES  
Certainly, there are difficult disagreements to resolve, and not every division will be healed on this side of heaven. But we cannot lose sight of who we are as Catholic Christians.
THE MINDSET THAT SEPARATES "THE PEOPLE" FROM "THE CLERGY" 
We desperately need a different paradigm and a different code of law based on that paradigm to help the church become, at all levels, what is clearly the call of the present situation to become "missionary disciples" in the world today.
GERMAN-SPEAKING BISHOPS CRITICISE VATICAN PARISH INSTRUCTION 
Critics note that women are giving up parish work, seminaries are empty and there is now a deep rift between the German Church and Rome.
CATHOLICS AND CANCEL CULTURE 
A truly ecclesial culture must also allow room for mistakes, incorrect answers & a gradual growth in understanding – by all sides. This means practicing of the fundamental virtues of forgiveness, mercy and charity.
TIME TO BURY THE CLERGY-CENTERED CHURCH 
What's the greatest threat to the Roman Catholic Church today – a schism? Or the rise in power of fundamentalist clericalists? José María Castillo, himself a priest, believes it's the latter.
LET'S USE THE TITLE 'CO-WORKER' FOR LAYPEOPLE IN PARISH LEADERSHIP 
Instead of reinforcing the male-celibate-priest-centric approach as the document did, the church should take a cue from St. Paul.
THE HERESY OF OVERSIMPLIFIED CHRISTIANITY 
The problem is that too many people refashion Christianity — its doctrinal teachings and moral guidance — into an idol of their own making in order to grasp a misguidedly simple and falsely clear message.
AFTER COVID-19  
The way we've done things is not the way we will revive them. We just have to start again. The register of Church life needs to resume as interactive and conversational rather than as the didactic and directive.
A SYNOD ON SYNODALITY 
When the Synod of Bishops meets again in ordinary session in 2022 it will discuss an issue that is key to Pope Francis' vision for the Church.
YVES CONGAR AND THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH IN ITS PAST 
The Church is responsible for relaying Christ by making him present to men and women of all times. To carry out this mandate efficiently, it must indeed remain faithful to what it was but also to what it needs to be for the people of today and tomorrow.
POPE FRANCIS WARNS AGAINST 'SICK', CLOSED-IN CHURCH 
“The Church must be like God: always outgoing; and when the Church is not going out, she falls ill with so many evils that we have in the Church. And why these diseases in the Church? Because it is not out.”
WHAT THEY DON'T TEACH YOU IN CATHOLIC COLLEGE: WOMEN IN THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE MIND OF CHRIST 
If the Catholic Church continues to ignore insights from Scripture, reason and experience in favor of tradition, John Wijngaards argues, it perpetuates a cultural prejudice that has held back millions of women.
CATHOLIC CHURCH MUST REJECT ITS ANTI-BLACK MISOGYNY 
There is an abyss in our church, and it is because the bishops, collectively, and other leaders in the church are not listening to the true needs and desires of marginalized communities.
CLERGY SHORTAGE GROWS TO MORE THAN 3K CATHOLICS FOR EVERY PRIEST, VATICAN DATA SHOWS  
The reasons for the steady hemorrhage of Catholic clergy worldwide are varied, from secularization to the church's ongoing sexual and financial scandals. And the COVID-19 pandemic has brought its own challenges.
POPE FRANCIS NAMES WASHINGTON ARCHBISHOP WILTON GREGORY FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN CARDINAL 
Gregory, 72, is one of 13 cardinals in the new class announced by Francis on Sunday, a promotion that comes as he is trying to rebuild trust in an archdiocese rocked by sexual abuse cases.
DEFENDING MARRIAGE IS NOT ENOUGH  
What matters is that Francis has said what he thinks on the issue, which is the fruit of a longstanding discernment. As usual, it is hard for many to swallow. Austen Ivereigh: On civil unions, Pope Francis is calling on Catholics to ask the uncomfortable questions.
COUNTING CARDINALS: CONGREGATIONS, CONTINENTS REPRESENTED INCREASE  
Those who will receive their red hats come from eight countries, including Brunei and Rwanda, which have never had cardinals before. They will bring the total number of cardinals to 231 from 91 countries.
CORRUPTION IN THE CHURCH MUST BE STAMPED OUT CONTINUALLY, POPE SAYS 
While it is uncertain whether his efforts to weed out corruption and lead the church will bear fruit, Pope Francis said that he knows he must do it and that "I have been called to do it."
GERMAN BISHOPS INVITED TO ROME WITHOUT LAITY  
When The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of Evangelisation was released in July, it was harshly criticised by a number of leading German bishops and theologians.
COULD FRANCIS, BIDEN FIND EACH OTHER LIKE JOHN PAUL II AND REAGAN? 
As the dust begins to settle from the tumultuous 2020 presidential election in America, it’s possible that outside of Joe Biden’s campaign team, no group will emerge as bigger fans of the mail-in ballot than Pope Francis and his allies in the Vatican.
'EITHER THE CHURCH IS GOING TO CHANGE, OR IT'S GOING TO DIE' 
After the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis, female theologians are calling for changes to leadership. The lack of women in leadership roles is a point of contention for many theologians — not just for equity reasons.
POPE FRANCIS’ STRENGTH IS IN SURPRISES 
We have a pope who is hard to pin down. We should be prepared to be surprised. That is, though, a constant teaching of the church that can be traced to its very beginning.
USCCB PLENARY FOCUSES ON COVID-19, RACISM, AND CLERICAL ABUSE 
The US Bishops’ Fall Meeting centred on pastoral responses to Covid-19 and racism, as well as sexual abuse by clergy.
OUR FEUDAL CHURCH MUST REFORM 
The immense good done in the name of the Gospel by many in the Church is being systematically undermined by clericalism, ideological division, unelected leadership, bad management, and a willingness to turn a blind eye to vice.
A RESET WITH ROME, BUT NOT AT HOME 
Massimo Faggioli compares the Vatican’s reaction to a Biden presidency to that of the U.S. bishops. The Vatican may welcome the normalcy of a Biden presidency, but the reaction of U.S. bishops highlights the partisan divide in the Catholic Church.
POPE TELLS 13 NEW CARDINALS THAT RED HAT IS NOT A CAREER ADVANCEMENT 
Pope Francis created 13 new cardinals Saturday, including nine cardinals eligible to vote for the next pope and the first African-American cardinal in the history of the United States, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C.
THE IMPLOSION OF CLERICALISM DRAMATIZED IN LEONARD BERNSTEIN'S 'MASS' 
Perhaps the deepest learning from clerical implosion is that God's love is bigger than any sin we can commit, any sin our church leaders can commit, and yes, even bigger than the evil entrenched in our church's hierarchical system.
CLERICALISM — VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE 
Many Catholics are not simply shocked at the affront given by those who appear not to recognize their own responsibility. They are also bewildered that men who are supposedly dedicated to the Gospel cannot see that their behavior is undermining the credibility of the whole Church.
SORTING THE CHURCH INTO ‘RIGHT VS. LEFT, PROGRESSIVE VS. TRADITIONALIST’ BETRAYS ITS TRUE NATURE  
Blaming one another for the fragility of the Catholic Church and the errors of its members increases conflict, which diminishes the church's ability to share the Gospel and increases opportunities for the devil to work, Pope Francis told members of the Roman Curia.
VATICAN REFORM: BIG WINGS HAVE BEEN CLIPPED, BUT WILL THEY GROW BACK? 
For Pope Francis to achieve the synodality he has spent his pontificate promoting, he will need to let go of some of the power centred at the Vatican, and splitting the Secretary of State would be a good start.
POPE TO BIDEN: FOSTER PEACE AND RECONCILIATION IN THE US AND THE WORLD  
Pope Francis sends a message to President Joe Biden, urging him to be a bringer of peace and reconciliation to the United States and to the whole world.
IN RARE REBUKE, CARDINAL CUPICH CRITICIZES USCCB PRESIDENT’S LETTER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN 
Cardinal Cupich joined with an unnamed senior Vatican official in taking issue with a stinging statement released earlier from the president of the bishops’ conference aimed at President Joe Biden’s views on abortion.
BISHOPS THROW COLD WATER ON THE MOST CATHOLIC INAUGURATION IN HISTORY 
President Joe Biden's inaugural address was a better articulation of Catholic ideas about governance than any recent document from the U.S. Bishops' Conference.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS SPLIT ON HOW TO DEAL WITH BIDEN 
A large number of American bishops want to chew gum and walk at the same time. They prefer to support the administration on issues where they agree and oppose it where they disagree.
“BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF AMERICA” 
The tensions between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the president, and between the US bishops’ conference and the papacy of Francis have risen to unprecedented levels in the first two weeks of the Biden presidency...
U.S. BISHOPS COULD LEARN A LOT FROM ST. ÓSCAR ROMERO 
Perhaps if more bishops were like Romero ...and more connected to the people entrusted to their pastoral care, they too might be "prophetic bishops that speak to their people." Instead, at least collectively, their relevance continues to decline.
ADRIFT & ALONE - THE BISHOPS MEET, AND MISS THE POINT 
In spite of occasionally sincere, sometimes ritualistic, expressions of communion with Rome, the effort to neuter Pope Francis’s message in the United States continues.
AMERICA’S COMING SCHISM? 
Can the bishops unite a Church that is increasingly addicted to its own polarisation, when they themselves are responsible for the bitter divisions between American Catholics?
SISTER NATALIE BECQUART AND THE PRIMACY OF SYNODALITY 
The appointment of Sister Nathalie Becquart to Rome’s synod of bishops office, the first woman to hold this post, is another sign of Pope Francis’ push for a more synodal Church.
PRIESTHOOD AND REVOLUTION 
The Church is not first of all a community; it is first of all a movement within the community of mankind. (Reprinted from Commonweal Magazine, September 1, 1968)
ANONYMOUS BISHOPS TAKE POTSHOTS AT POPE  
Journalists who cover the Catholic Church face a hurdle in that most of the important decisions are made in secret. A journalist's job is to find ways to peek behind the curtain and explain what is going on and why.
SEEING POPE FRANCIS IN THE ARGENTINE PRIEST MADE A CARDINAL 20 YEARS AGO 
Anyone even remotely familiar with Francis’ pro-life vision should be able to see the foundation here, particularly as it appeared in his triumphant encyclical, Laudato Si’.
ENEDICT XVI SHUTS DOWN ‘FANATICS,’ SAYING FRANCIS IS THE ONLY POPE 
Dismissing conspiratorial rumors about his resignation, Benedict admitted that while 'it was a difficult decision,' he still believes it to have been the right thing.
THE REMAINS OF VATICAN II 
It’s true that opposition to Pope Francis is rooted in opposition to Vatican II. It’s also true that the range of positions regarding Francis and Vatican II in the U.S. helps us understand how the council’s documents may not be able to serve the Church today.
POPE FRANCIS MAKES HISTORY BY MEETING AYATOLLAH AL-SISTANI, SPIRITUAL LEADER OF IRAQI SHIA MUSLIMS 
Pope Francis makes history by meeting Ayatollah al-Sistani, spiritual leader of Iraqi Shia Muslims
FRANCIS TELLS IRAQI FAITH LEADERS: VIOLENCE IN NAME OF RELIGION 'GREATEST BLASPHEMY'  
Invoking the shared origins of Christians, Muslims and Jews, Pope Francis March 6 called on Iraq's religious leaders to help the country heal and rebuild following decades of violence.
FRANCIS IN IRAQ ARGUABLY THE MOST EMBLEMATIC PAPAL TRIP OF ALL TIME 
No matter how much longer he remains in office, and despite... whatever is yet to come, there will be no better synthesis of who Francis is and what he’s about as pope.
COMMITTING TO THE POPE'S MESSAGE OF FRATERNITY AND PEACE IN IRAQ  
As Pope Francis brings his message of solidarity and fraternity to Iraq, several organizations working in the country have taken up his call, committing themselves to working to promote peace and rebirth in the nation.
WITH IRAQI CHRISTIANS, POPE EXTOLS WOMEN BRUTALIZED BY ISIS 
Surrounded by the relics of violence, war and terrorism, Pope Francis Sunday told the Christian community of Iraq that they’re proof in flesh and blood of the victory of life over death.
THE SYMBOLIC POWER OF THE PAPAL VISIT TO IRAQ  
The religious, cultural and ethnic diversity that has been a hallmark of Iraqi society for millennia is a precious resource on which to draw, not an obstacle to be eliminated.
HOW CATHOLICISM BECAME A BREEDING GROUND FOR CONSPIRACY THEORIES 
A perfect storm of institutional crises, the polarization of perceived winners and losers and an influx of evangelicals has made Catholicism fertile ground for conspiracy theories.
THE POPE HAS LEFT IRAQ. IS THAT IT? 
Now that it's over, did it mean anything? What promises did he make? What impact, if any, will this papal visit have on the suffering Church in Iraq going forward?
POPE FRANCIS IS THE GUARDIAN ANGEL OF THE FAITHFUL'S AMBIVALENCE 
Pope Francis is a creative presence who responds to people with mixed loyalties, with priorities that don't quite fit together, and can project support for all those needing to see their ambivalence and accept it.
'HIJACKING' RELIGION 
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, head of the Vatican's evangelisation congregation, has expressed concern over the “hijacking” of religion by populist leaders who sow division and exploit the anger of those who feel excluded.
EIGHT YEARS WITH POPE FRANCIS: THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL FOR THE WHOLE WORLD 
On the 8th anniversary of his election to the papacy, Vatican News reviews the many initiatives and reforms to engage all Christians in a new missionary impetus, bringing the love of Jesus to all humanity.
AT HIS EIGHT-YEAR MARK, WILL FRANCIS TRY TURNING DOWN THE TEMPERATURE?  
Seemingly reinvigorated by the Coronavirus crisis, Francis still has an ambitious agenda for the Church and the world, but is negative polarization getting in his way?
IRISH BISHOPS ANNOUNCE ‘SYNODAL PATHWAY’ DURING ‘PIVOTAL TIME’ 
Ireland’s Catholic bishops have announced they will embark on a “synodal pathway” for the Church and hold a National Synodal Assembly within the next five years.
THE CHURCH'S DEMAGOGUES: CAN SYNODALITY REBALANCE THE CHARISMATIC CELEBRITIES? 
Pope Francis' push for synodality inside the Church coincides chronologically with the rise of populist leaders and the crisis of democracy on the outside.
THE PERSPICUITY OF TRADITION 
Francis’s papacy has sparked a fierce debate about the ability of the Magisterium to authoritatively interpret Tradition. Sadly, arguments about this matter typically end in a deadlock with the papal critics.
POLL: U.S. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP FALLS BELOW 50% FOR THE FIRST TIME 
Ask Americans if they believe in God and most will say yes. But a growing number have lost faith in organized religion.
TOO MANY CATHOLICS DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT SOME CHURCH TEACHINGS CAN ACTUALLY CHANGE  
Three days after the preacher of the papal household called on Catholics to repent for the ways they are dividing the church, the Vatican secretary of state said the divisions are real and they are harmful.
THE COLOUR OF MONEY: CAN POPE FRANCIS CURTAIL THE WEALTH OF THE CARDINALS? 
oday’s cardinals may find a way around the pope’s cost-cutting measures, just as earlier cardinals did for Francis’s predecessors.
BAPTISM AND VOCATIONS: VATICAN TO HOLD SYMPOSIUM ON THEOLOGY OF PRIESTHOOD  
The Holy See announces a Symposium on the theology of priesthood, which will seek to explore the relationship between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of all the baptized.
WEALTHY CONSERVATIVE CATHOLICS ARE THE NEW US MAGISTERIUM 
A wealthy network that puts forth a peculiarly American version of Catholicism has far more influence than U.S. bishops have in shaping the image of the church in the wider culture.
CAN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AGREE TO CHANGE ANYTHING? 
Change or no change? The "no-change" folks have a lot of clerical support. Some "change" folks continue to speak, but many simply walk away.
THE FAILINGS AND THE SURPRISING VIRTUES OF THE VATICAN II PRIESTS 
In the era of Pope Francis, many conservative Catholics have long thought they would one day restore a more orthodox Catholicism the older generation had given away.
LET’S FACE IT: THE MODERN PAPACY IS AN IMPOSSIBLE GIG 
We live in a time of instant opinion, in which perspective is generally the first casualty of war. Nevertheless, here’s a bit of perspective anyone who follows Vatican news and the Catholic scene ought to try to keep in mind...
WHY SO MANY CATHOLICS MIGHT NOT PRAY FOR VOCATIONS ANY MORE 
WHY SO MANY CATHOLICS MIGHT NOT PRAY FOR VOCATIONS ANY MORE - There are two types of Catholic, says Fr Rob Esdaile: the select few who enthusiastically pray for Vocations – with a capital V – and everyone else, who at best pay lip-service to the intention.
SYNODS WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE 
Over the years, we have begun to discover some differences between Jesus and the church: Jesus has credibility. The reputation of the church, on the other hand, teeters.
U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS MAY PRESS BIDEN TO STOP TAKING COMMUNION 
At issue is a document coming from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Doctrine clarifying the church’s stance on an issue that has repeatedly vexed the bishops
QUESTIONS REGARDING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TODAY AND THE NEXT POPE 
Synodality is the biggest wager Pope Francis has made for the Church. But if it is to be a key aspect of Catholicism, we need to keep in mind that at some point, there will be another pope.
CARDINAL TOBIN: SYNODALITY IS POPE FRANCIS' VEHICLE FOR CHANGING THE CHURCH  
The election of Francis opened up the rest of the world to the rich theological foment of the church in Latin America, with its strong sense of mission, encounter, the peripheries and mercy."
OUR VERY HUMAN AND EVANGELICAL POPE 
Perfection is not something one should expect from a pope. Francis has been a compelling example and source of encouragement for somany. He's shown us how we can really live the joy of the Gospel.
POLITICIZING BIDEN’S FAITH IS PASTORAL MALPRACTICE 
Deploying Communion as a bludgeon to selectively sanction elected officials on a single issue is not the answer.
BIDEN HAS BEEN PRO CHOICE FOR DECADES. WHY EXCOMMUNICATE HIM NOW?  
Biden has been out-front and publicly pro choice for decades. In all that time, the American Catholic bishops have never excommunicated him. Now that he is president, they are...
COMPLACENT OR COMPLICIT? 
We have to wonder what remains of Vatican II’s impact on Church-state relations, religious liberty, and political participation.
VATICAN CAUTIONS BISHOPS ON DENYING COMMUNION TO POLITICIANS WHO BACK ABORTION 
It is 'misleading' to suggest abortion and euthanasia are 'the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics.'
CARDINAL LADARIA CAUTIONS US BISHOPS ON POLITICIANS AND COMMUNION 
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has urged the U.S. bishops to proceed with caution in their discussions about formulating a national policy...
VATICAN THROWS WET BLANKET ON U.S. BISHOPS WHO WANT TO DENY BIDEN COMMUNION 
The Vatican doctrinal chief gave a tutorial in what it means to be a bishop, a lesson that is sadly as necessary as it is embarrassing for the U.S. bishops.
FROM PRINCES TO MANAGERS: UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC EPISCOPATE 
For centuries, from Augustine to Vatican II, the official profiles of bishops and cardinals constituted something of a literary genre unto itself: the so-called speculum episcopi...
WHAT'S BEHIND THE VATICAN CHALLENGE TO IDEOLOGUE BISHOPS 
The matter of whether Biden should stop presenting himself for Communion is between him and his bishop. A US bishops’ policy risks politicising the Eucharist.
BISHOP ROBERT BARRON'S 'BEIGE' VERSION OF VATICAN II 
The theological interpretation offered here is made possible only by the silences on other aspects of Vatican II: This makes it impossible to know not just Vatican II, but also the post-Vatican II church.
BISHOPS’ ATTEMPT TO DENY COMMUNION TO BIDEN WILL BACKFIRE EVEN MORE SPECTACULARLY THAN OPPOSITION TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE 
For the bishops to pronounce who among the laity is worthy to receive communion is absurd.
AMAZON BISHOPS 'DISAPPOINTED' BY SYNOD OUTCOME 
"We found very little understanding for the problems and issues of the Amazon Region which we here experience day by day.”
U.S. BISHOPS IN 'DANGEROUS' PLACE OVER REFUSING COMMUNION  
While this was focused on the issue of abortion directly, it was more generally indicative that the Catholic Church in the U.S. has become a two-party church along political lines.
AFTER VATICAN WARNING, U.S. BISHOPS HAVE LIMITED OPTIONS FOR PLANNED TEXT ABOUT BIDEN  
The U.S. bishops have been planning to vote on a document about pro-choice Catholic politicians and their ability to receive Communion at their upcoming June 16-18 meeting.
POPE FRANCIS'S NEW VISION FOR CATECHISTS  
Companionship is closely related to “accompaniment,” a watchword in Francis’s pontificate. A catechist must not only proclaim and teach but walk alongside the catechized.
VATICAN II: A FAILED COUNCIL? 
History shows that resistance against councils and prophets is what hinders their success. The choice is ours. Shall the Council fail or succeed? May God give us the grace to make it a success.
CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES FOR GLOBAL CATHOLICISM 
While the Second Vatican Council did much to renew and revitalize the Church, today it faces many challenges, in addition to declining membership.
FRANCIS, U.S. BISHOPS AND DEFENDING COMMUNION FROM POLITICAL MANIPULATION 
Just as the true meaning of the Eucharist needs to be defended from those who would use it for publicity, it needs to be defended from those who would use it to divide the worthy from the unworthy.
FRANCIS WIDENS SCOPE OF NEXT SYNOD: DIOCESAN, CONTINENTAL PHASES BEFORE VATICAN EVENT 
The pontiff had chosen to take the move so that the next Synod of Bishops would better involve "listening to all of the baptized."
POPE FRANCIS PLANS SYNODAL SHAKE-UP  
The next synod of bishops gathering in Rome has been postponed until 2023 so that an unprecedented consultation of Catholics can take place in advance.
FOUR REASONS BEHIND THE VATICAN’S ACTION ON COMMUNION FOR PRO-CHOICE POLITICIANS 
What is going on here? If the pope is against abortion, why is the Vatican intervening in the action of the U.S. bishops?
CAN THE U.S. CHURCH MANAGE THE SYNODAL PATH? 
In recent years, the U.S. bishops have lost much of their ability to work together; indeed they do not seem to like each other very much; how they will manage to engage in the synodal process.
COVID 'LIFTED VEIL' ON REALITY OF CHURCH IN IRELAND 
The Primate of All Ireland has said the Covid pandemic “lifted the veil” on the reality of the position of the Church in Ireland, observing that it ranked low on the public’s list of priorities
IF THIS IS VATICAN REFORM, SOME ARE WONDERING WHAT’S REALLY CHANGED 
There’s still time for the real fruits of the reform to blossom. For now, however, some can’t help wondering if there was ever any real intention to grow a new crop.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ‘INCLUSIVE’ CHURCH 
There’s a battle going on in the church right now, and it’s one of those good battles which in centuries to come the church will look back on as defining anew what it means to be a child of God.
THE LONG GAME: POPE FRANCIS’S VISION OF SYNODALITY 
The longer and further we journey together, the more we encounter together, the clearer things become.
KEEPING IT TOGETHER  
Neither progressive Catholics nor traditionalists have been able to renew and revitalize the Church. Perhaps they could try something new: work toward unity and avoid fragmentation.
BLACK CATHOLICS ARE LEAVING THE CHURCH. WHY?  
The Black exodus from the Church is due to the fundamental disconnect between what the vast majority of Black Catholics see as essential and the concerns being addressed in white congregations.
EDITORIAL: WHY WE SUPPORT THE BISHOPS' PLAN TO DENY COMMUNION TO BIDEN 
If the bishops are not going to act like true followers of Jesus and leaders of his church, then they might as well pick that fight. At least then, it will be clear what they're really about.
VATICAN CURIA, SEMPER REFORMANDA 
Attempts to reform the Curia have been going on since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, each announced with great fanfare, but the effects were only incremental. There is no reason to expect anything better this time.
'WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT A VOICE FOR THE LAITY' 
By the time the message gets heard at the top, there's a great chance that it will be a reactive response with the inevitable result of creating an ‘us’ and ‘them’.
IS THE VATICAN FINALLY READY TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT WOMEN IN THE CHURCH? 
Observers are waiting to see whether the Curia reform will change the Church’s approach to an issue that the decades of tumult, controversy, liberation, and reaction have left little altered...
PRIESTHOOD ALWAYS INVOLVES CLOSENESS WITH THE FAITHFUL 
The priesthood cannot be understood without its essential connection to the people of God. The ministerial priesthood is a consequence of the baptismal priesthood of the holy faithful people of God.
WE DON’T UNDERSTAND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. COVID-19 PROVED IT 
Religious freedom has been a hot topic in the United States for decades. But the pandemic offered a crash course on the topic.
WHY POPE FRANCIS IS CONCERNED ABOUT PRIESTLY FORMATION 
What is necessary is a model of ministry rooted in service, where pastors authentically represent the figure of Jesus who bent down to wash the feet of the disciples.
THE REMAINS OF VATICAN II - WHY IS THE RECEPTION OF THE COUNCIL STILL AN ISSUE? 
Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council, and if you do not follow the Council or you interpret it in your own way you are not with the Church.
A DEFENSE OF THE CULTURE WARRIOR BISHOPS — SORT OF  
Moral indignation is understandable, even appropriate, but it is not a theology or a political strategy. By thinking it is, the "no Communion for Biden" bishops mimic the moral compass of the Twitterverse.
CATHOLICS ARE ASKING FOR BREAD. THEIR BISHOPS ARE GIVING STONES 
A push to deny Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians is symbolic of denial of care in other forms.
GERMAN CARDINAL’S RESIGNATION, REFUSED BY POPE, REINVIGORATES CHURCH REFORM 
For lay organizers of the controversial Synodal Path in Germany, Cardinal Marx’s resignation strengthened their efforts.
THE SCANDAL OF ABUSE AND THE REFORM OF THE CHURCH 
The valuable indications contained in the letter in which Pope Francis rejected the resignation offered by Cardinal Marx.
SYNODALITY? WHAT’S SYNODALITY? 
Synodality is essential for recovering the legitimacy of ecclesial spaces. But the U.S. bishops don’t seem to want to consider it.
WILL THE CHURCH GET WOMEN DEACONS? 
Clergy who obsess about the dangers of clericalism in women are projecting their own sins and selling short women’s capacity for virtue.
USCCB SPRING ASSEMBLY 2021 
Following months of open discord among the bishops, Pope Francis' representative encouraged unity and dialogue. Keep up-to-date with all of NCR's coverage of the U.S. bishops' conference meeting, June 16-18, 2021.
5 THINGS TO WATCH FOR AS CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE DEBATES COMMUNION BAN 
A primer as America’s Catholic bishops gather to discuss, among other things, Catholic politicians and life issues.
TAKING FREEDOM TOO FAR 
The USCCB has cast aside vulnerable gay persons, undermined the coherence of Catholic moral theology, and put forward a counterfeit version of religious liberty.
IN DEFIANCE OF VATICAN, US BISHOPS VOTE TO ADVANCE COMMUNION DOCUMENT 
In a vote that was both expected and defying the Vatican, the U.S. Catholic bishops advanced on June 18 plans to draft a document addressing Communion for pro-choice Catholic politicians.
IN RIFT WITH BIDEN, A DRAMATIC SHOW OF FORCE BY A CONSERVATIVE CATHOLIC MOVEMENT  
A vote by the U.S. bishops was the most dramatic example of the conservative Catholic movement’s reach since Joseph R. Biden was elected.
THE BIDEN COMMUNION DEBATE SHOWS THE EXHAUSTION OF THE U.S. CHURCH 
The U.S. church does not have the vibrancy to sustain its own culture, its own mission and its own sense of solidarity - it is particularly susceptible to those influences that would divert it from its mission.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ BRAWL OVER DENYING JOE BIDEN COMMUNION 
The U.S. bishops’ immediate motive is clear: they want to send a message that to be a Catholic is to oppose legal abortion. The battle, though, is about much more.
THOMAS MERTON'S WISDOM FOR A CHURCH IN CRISIS 
"It is no secret that the Church finds herself in crisis, and the awareness of such a fact is 'pessimism' only in the eyes of those for whom all change is necessarily a tragedy."
CATHOLIC BISHOPS PUBLISH Q AND A CLARIFYING CONTROVERSIAL COMMUNION DOCUMENT 
A new message from the U.S. Catholic bishops says that the debate at their spring meeting answered the Vatican’s wish for more dialogue on the topic.
CATHOLICS ARE TALKING PAST EACH OTHER IN THE BIDEN-COMMUNION DEBATE  
Catholics on both sides of this debate should be more willing to admit each other’s good will and readier to acknowledge how their own position could be a source of scandal for others.
BISHOPS' CONFERENCE WALKS BACK MIXED MESSAGING ON COMMUNION AND CATHOLIC POLITICIANS 
The U.S. bishops' conference is seeking to clear up its own mixed messaging and is insisting the eventual document will no longer target Catholic politicians.
A POLITICAL DOCUMENT ON THE EUCHARIST WILL PUSH YOUNG PEOPLE EVEN FURTHER FROM THE CHURCH 
We are dealing with a challenging optic when many leaders in the U.S. church were not as vocal or proactive in the face of racism, sexism, xenophobia, migrant and refugee crises, children in cages, gun violence and environmental degradation...
WHAT LIES AT HEART OF THE BATTLE OVER COMMUNION 
Following the interventions from the Vatican, the document will now focus on a broader theology of the Eucharist, rather than simply on Communion and erring politicians.
U.S. BISHOPS' LATEST DISPLAY OF DESPERATION HAS ROOTS IN YEARS OF DYSFUNCTION 
Largely disregarded in the wider community, the only recourse left the bishops was to publicly humiliate one of their own, the most observant Catholic president in the country's history.
DON'T PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE BISHOPS' CONFERENCE 
The bishops are stuck in the culture war. And, sadly, yes, this will likely send even more Catholics to the exits — precisely at a time when the church should be welcoming back its flock after the pandemic.
PASTORS, NOT PROPHETS 
The bishops have collectively lost the moral standing that prophets need through their mishandling of the sex-abuse crisis, their silence on the features of contemporary Amercian life conspicuously at odds with the Gospel, and their unseemly pursuit of a narrow set of policy goals.
HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE CLERICALISM? 
There have been times in the Church’s history where the relationship between the clergy and the laity has become totally unbalanced. We need to recognize that the Church’s problems – abuse and other scandals – are a consequence of that imbalance...
RELIGION, RUDDER OF AMERICA’S DEMOCRACY 
The Archbishop of Chicago shines the light on the role of religion in America’s political system. His reflections come in a review of the 19th century book “Democracy in America” by Alexis De Tocqueville.
THE WOMEN WHO WANT TO BE PRIESTS 
They feel drawn by God to the calling — and won’t let the Vatican stop them. But the Vatican [does not] see that story, or stories of Christ’s openness to women, as justification for allowing them into the priesthood.
GERMANY TAKES THE SYNODAL PATH 
The German synod has become for conservative Catholics (including those in the United States) Exhibit A in their contention that Francis’s openings are rupturing the Church’s unity and may very well lead to schism.
BISHOPS’ MEETINGS WON’T HEAL THE U.S. CHURCH 
Given all the challenges facing the Catholic Church in our country, we are far overdue for a moment in which the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of our country can discern together how to be the people of God in our time and place.
THE CHURCH IS SYNODAL BECAUSE IT IS A COMMUNION 
Interview with the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops: “Synodality is the form that realizes the participation of all the people of God in mission.”
SAINT JOHN PAUL II AND THE PROPHECY ABOUT THE JESUIT POPE 
[John Paul II] prepared the profile of the man who today guides the Church, the boat of Peter, to cross the troubled waters of the 'epochal change'.
REMEMBERING WHY I BECAME A PRIEST 
Because parishioners see priests doing holy things and saying holy words, it's easy, then, to conclude that we must be holy. Doing holy things, however, doesn't make one holy.
DO POPE FRANCIS AND POPE BENEDICT DISAGREE ABOUT VATICAN II AND THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS? 
Devotees of the traditional Latin Mass were misled during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI... Some believed that the liturgical and other reforms of Vatican II could be modified or even rolled back.
THE BISHOPS MUST HEAR THE LAITY IF THE SYNODAL PROCESS IS TO SUCCEED  
It is important to present the synodal process as a kairos moment- a time for change with a commitment of resource, capacity and energy.
LAY CATHOLICS CONDEMN BISHOPS' SYNODAL PROCESS 
Lay Catholics have condemned the outline by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for the synodal process for the national Church, warning that it will stifle discussion, participation and freedom for everyone except the hierarchy.
WE MUST ADDRESS THE STRUCTURAL ISSUES THAT PLAGUE THE CHURCH 
The Church in the West must undergo a metanoia. Evangelii Gaudium is a charter calling the Church to a life of renewal and missionary discipleship.
THE CHURCH IN THE WEST IS IN DECLINE — AND NATIONALISM WON’T SAVE IT 
To be a truly relevant and transformative force, the Church of the 21st century needs to be willing to relinquish political power and meet the suffering and marginalized...
WOMEN DEACONS’ COMMISSION TO HOLD FIRST MEETING 
Any opening to female deacons will be fiercely resisted by some in Rome, with the curia Cardinals believed to have been among those who opposed to any opening for the female diaconate at the Amazon synod.
A CLOSER LOOK AT SYNODALITY AND ITS PROMISE FOR A MORE INCLUSIVE CHURCH 
Synodality invites us to create and institutionalize ecclesial processes that involve the largest possible number of baptized people and seeks to change mentalities.
THE FLIGHT OF THE DOCTRINAL BUTTERFLY 
Neither Pope Francis’s Magisterium, nor the Second Vatican Council’s documents, can be interpreted through a proper hermeneutic of continuity if one does not understand the concept of “doctrinal development.”
THE NEW DONATISM 
The bishops might consider that, in a Church that understands itself to be the one body of Christ, many Catholics will see the bishops’ judgment on Biden to be a judgment on them.
SEPARATE CHALLENGES 
The American bishops have two teaching challenges. One is about the Eucharist. The other is about abortion. They are distinct topics, even if at one narrow point they overlap.
A RADICAL SHIFT AWAY FROM A CHURCH WITH INFLEXIBLE LAWS 
Rather than maintaining the laity in a state of spiritual and moral infancy, the text will advocate a church that educates and assists all the people of God to grow in spiritual maturity, following the example of Christ.
NEW WOMEN DEACONS COMMISSION TO MEET WITH UNCLEAR AGENDA  
Centuries ago, Pope Gelasius I was scandalized that women — presumably women deacons —were ministering at the altar. The synodal church seems to be moving in the direction of allowing women back there.
ARE WOMEN DEACONS IN THE CHURCH’S FUTURE?  
The deacon’s is a ministry of service: proclaiming and preaching the Word, witnessing marriages, serving as the minister of Baptism, catechizing and teaching... In some places, such as the Amazon, women are already doing all these things.
POPE FRANCIS IS PREPARING A RADICAL REFORM OF THE CHURCH’S POWER STRUCTURES 
Francis is set to inaugurate a three-year synodal preparation process that has the potential to revolutionize the way decisions are made in the Catholic Church and promote a more decentralized structure of authority.
SYNOD 2021-2023 FOR A SYNODAL CHURCH 
... A decisive theme for the life and mission of the Church. This site will accompany the two-year journey (2021-2023) of reflection and sharing of the whole Church.
VATICAN PREPARES TO LAUNCH TWO-YEAR SYONDAL PROCESS ON ‘SYNODALITY’ 
Synodality will grant Catholics the “the ability to imagine a different future for the Church and her institutions, in keeping with the mission she has received.”
CATHOLIC CHURCH MUST OVERHAUL POWER STRUCTURES 
The hope is that the forthcoming “synod on synodality” will offer a roadmap for the church's future by asking each diocese to hold a synod – something which has never happened before.
CLERICALISM: PROBLEMS PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE 
...while elitism is not peculiar to the church, when it infects the priesthood there are unique consequences that injure the life of the ecclesial community, given how it undermines the very core of the Gospel and the meaning of baptism.
WHAT AMERICA SHOULD UNDERSTAND ABOUT GERMANY'S SYNODAL PATH 
It strikes fear in the hearts of some conservative Catholics: Germany's Synodal Path reform project. Will it cause a schism in the Catholic Church? Is Germany abolishing celibacy against the will of the Vatican?
HOPE & HESITANCY 
A national synod could lead to a movement that would benefit the Church and Italy both, even if it might not be as big a unifying event as beating England on penalty kicks.
POPE TO ROME'S FAITHFUL: SYNODALITY EXPRESSES THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH 
Pope Francis described the upcoming Synod — with the theme "For a synodal Church: communion, participation, mission" — as a journey in which the whole Church is engaged.
CHURCH MUST 'STEP OUT OF THE PAST' 
The Church is changing now, and the priest-led Church of the past will need to embrace a partnership approach with people into the future - a Church of “co-responsibility” between laity and clergy.
POPE FRANCIS WANTS EVERY CATHOLIC TO HAVE A SAY. WHY HAVEN'T US CATHOLICS HEARD ABOUT IT? 
As the U.S. bishops fulminate over which Catholic politician can receive Communion, they've done little to plan for the worldwide discussion on the needs of the church.
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