Strains in the academy and the pew

There has always been an innate and healthy tension between theology and catechesis, between what’s happening in theology departments in universities and the church pew. Theologians and bishops are often not each other’s favourite people. And that’s understandable. Why?

    Pope's embrace was heavenly, says man with disfiguring disease

    VATICAN CITY - For someone who has frequently been shunned and humiliated because of a disease that has severely disfigured his entire body, receiving the pope's loving embrace was like being in paradise.

      Pope Francis' first apostolic exhortation to be published Nov. 26

      VATICAN CITY - The Vatican will publish Pope Francis' first apostolic exhortation Nov. 26, two days after he formally delivers it to the church at a Mass concluding the 2012-13 Year of Faith.

        In the Lord, there is always healing

        This past weekend I re-read A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis’s personal account of dealing with the death of his wife from cancer. I searched the book for some words of comfort to help deal with my own pain at the loss of a family member.

          Jesus’ power is love, sacrifice

          Christ the King (Year C) Nov. 24 (2 Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 122; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:-35-43)

          The historian Lord Acton observed that “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” A thorough study of history or a perusal of the newspaper offers convincing proof. When human beings are in a position to exercise absolute power over others without accountability disaster usually follows. No one should have too much power or be untouchable.

            Keep your mind, heart always in good order

            33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Nov. 17 (Malachi 4:1-2; Psalm 98; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19)

            The world is not always noted for its justice or life for its fairness. Often it appears that the righteous suffer or lose out while the wicked thrive and get ahead. Hopelessness, frustration and disillusionment can make even compassionate and non-judgmental individuals at times console themselves with thoughts of cosmic justice and retribution. It would be nice to see the nasty and wicked of our world get their comeuppance. Of course there is always the assumption that we are not on that list!

              Francis’ words speak for themselves

              Many of us, I suspect, have heard snippets of an interview that Pope Francis did for a series of Jesuit publications, including America, where, among other things, he suggested that we might be wise to not always emphasize the moral issues around abortion, gay marriage and contraception in our conversations. That’s, of course, the phrase that most caught the attention of the media, but the whole interview is remarkable for its candor and includes a whole range of thoughts that help give us a sense of how Francis intends to colour his papacy. Here are a few of his thoughts, in his own words:

                Electric electronic communication

                Recently I received an e-mail from a person who died many months ago.

                  Women religious ask pope for world day of prayer against trafficking

                  VATICAN CITY - After Pope Francis entrusted two Vatican academies to study the problem of human trafficking, a group of women religious asked the pope to raise greater awareness in the church about the issue by establishing a worldwide day of prayer and fasting.

                    Getting to meet, understand the other: the path to peace

                    Interfaith dialogue doesn’t start with an exchange of creeds or comparison of theologies. It begins with friendship.

                      Saints aren't superheroes, they just never strayed from God, pope says

                      VATICAN CITY - Saints aren't superheroes, they are regular people who just never left God's side after encountering Him and His love, Pope Francis said on the feast of All Saints.