No favourites, only justice, compassion

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 24 (Isaiah 22:15, 19-23; Psalm 138; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20) 

No one has an absolute right to a position of trust and authority. Along with authority there is responsibility and accountability, and however slowly the wheels of justice turn they grind exceedingly fine. Shebna discovered this to his chagrin when he was fired by one against whom there is no appeal — God. The people of Israel believed God raised up individuals to govern the nation, but they were also positive God could and would dismiss anyone who abused that trust. 

In South Korea, Pope Francis calls for peace, democracy and social justice

SEOUL, South Korea - Starting his first visit to Asia, Pope Francis urged South Korean political and civic leaders to seek peace on their divided peninsula and strengthen their nation's commitment to democracy and social justice.

Pope Francis to U.N.: Act to end the tragedy in Iraq

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis formally asked U.N. agencies and the entire international community "to take action to end the humanitarian tragedy now underway" in northeastern Iraq.

Vatican seeks Muslim leaders' condemnation of ISIS

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican called on Muslim leaders to condemn the "barbarity" and "unspeakable criminal acts" of Islamic State militants in Iraq, saying a failure to do so would jeopardize the future of interreligious dialogue.

Pope Francis heads East, pointing to a new future for his Western Church

Pope Francis departs Aug. 14 on a five-day trip to South Korea, his first to Asia and the start of an important new papal focus on the region: In January, Francis will return to visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines, and a trip to Japan — where the Pope wanted to go as a young priest — is reportedly under consideration.

We don’t own God

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 17 (Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Psalm 67; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28)

There has always been a battle of wills between God and human beings. Something in our wounded human nature prods us to do our best to possess God for ourselves and the group with whom we identify. This “possession” of God is great for inflating the collective ego and enhancing a sense of superiority towards outsiders. It is also a key contributing factor to religious hatred and violence. Additionally, it prevents us from honest self-examination and robs us of the wisdom and riches of other cultures and belief systems. God is on the other end of the tug-of-war and has very different ideas. God’s intent is always to the greater and the more universal and inclusive.

Pope Francis' finance chief talks Vatican reform

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis wants a "poor Church for the poor," but that "doesn't necessarily mean a Church with empty coffers," said Cardinal George Pell, "and it certainly doesn't mean a Church that is sloppy or inefficient or open to being robbed."

With no Pope in residence, Vatican opens gardens of papal villa

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - The aisle is paved with stone from an ancient Roman road; the apse is made of carefully trimmed evergreen bushes; the columns are tall, thin cypress trees; and the nave is a lily pond, complete with gold fish.

Pope Francis' Korea trip a chance for Catholics to renew faith

NORTHVILLE, Mich. - When St. John Paul II canonized 103 Korean martyrs in 1984 in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Alexius Hong was there to attend the canonization Mass.

Pope Benedict XVI OK’d abusive priest in Paraguay, local bishop says

A showdown between Pope Francis and a conservative bishop in Paraguay is heating up as the bishop rejected charges that he sheltered a priest accused of sexual misconduct, and claimed that Pope Benedict XVI himself vouched for the suspect cleric just days before his election as pope in 2005.

Vatican urges priests to clamp down on excessive emotions during the sign of peace

VATICAN CITY - In an effort to insure a more sober ritual, the Vatican has urged bishops to clamp down on singing, moving around and other casual expressions of affection when the sign of peace is exchanged during Mass.