By Fr. Albert Cutié

Fr. Albert Cutié

Fr. Albert Cutié

Pope Francis is inspiring! Since his first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter’s in the Vatican to the recent visit to Brazil, we have all been moved in countless ways by the new Bishop of Rome’s simplicity, directness and affable style. Almost every person or religious leader I have spoken with – from various faith traditions and denominations – shares these impressions. There is no doubt that the new Pope has won many hearts.

In a spiritual landscape filled with “Prosperity Gospel” preachers and theology, Pope Francis offers us an authentic Christian witness which is so needed today and echoes those popular prophetic words from the Hebrew Scriptures, “…to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). His demeanor and style very clearly proclaim that money and power are not gods.

In his welcoming statements in Brazil, this message of humility was reaffirmed when he said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but I bring with me the most precious gift: Jesus Christ!” It is apparent that his unassuming nature is not for public relations purposes and it is certainly not for show; it is the way he has always chosen to live as a follower of Jesus, a priest and bishop and now he has brought those personal attributes to the papacy. That is refreshing! Read More…

By Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty

Martin E. Marty

The names of Catholic theologian Hans Küng and Pope Francis are both in the news because Küng was sighted saying friendly things about the Pope and the Pope was apparently saying friendly things about God and atheists. Such stories demand or evoke in this “sighter’s” mind some historical recall which helps set the news in context.

Background: in June, 1966, one year after the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council, when there were still many Catholic priests in Canada, hundreds of them gathered in Montreal for four days at then Loyola, now part of Concordia University. On stage were Catholic Küng, Baptist Harvey Cox, Lutheran M.E.M., and host Father Elmer O’Brien, S.J. We guests were evidently competing for the Chutzpah-in-Theology Guinness record by agreeing to appear on stage for four hours with no texts, scripts, or notes. O’Brien and members of the audience made up of priests were free to ask questions or bring up topics of any kind. I ran through all the theology I knew, but learned much by listening. (Chutzpah? We were 38-years-old!).

While we two Protestants did not have anything personal at stake with respect to the papacy, Küng did. A star peritus (adviser) at the Council, he had dreamed dreams inspired by John XXIII and was seeing them dimmed by Paul VI, about whom he was ambivalent. Those dreams turned into nightmares for Küng as John Paul II and Benedict XVI — the latter, had earlier been a friend of Küng’s from Tűbingen, Germany — countered much that the Council had achieved. Or so, at least, it appeared to Küng. Read More…

by Leonardo Boff, translated by Rebel Girl

Leonardo Boff

Leonardo Boff

On the social networks, I had proclaimed that the future pope would be named Francis. And I was right. Why Francis? Because Saint Francis’s conversion began when he heard the Crucifix in Saint Damian’s Chapel say to him, “Francis, go and restore my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.” (St. Bonaventure,Legenda Maior II, 1).

Francis took these words literally and rebuilt the Porziuncola Chapel in Assisi which still exists inside a huge cathedral. Then he realized that restoring the “Church that Christ saved through his blood” (ibid) was a spiritual matter. It was then that he started his movement for renewal of the Church that was presided by the most powerful pope in history, Innocent III. He began to live with the lepers and arm in arm with one of them, he went along the way preaching the gospel in the vernacular and not in Latin.

It’s good to know that Francis was never a priest but just a layman, Only at the end of his life, when the popes forbade lay people to preach, did he agree to become a deacon, on the condition that he not receive any kind of remuneration for the post.

Why did Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio choose the name Francis? I think it’s because he realized the Church is in ruins because of demoralization due to the various scandals that have affected the most precious thing it had: morality and credibility. Read More…

By Nicole Winfield, Huffington Post

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis supports the Holy See’s crackdown on the largest umbrella group of U.S. nuns, dimming hopes that a Jesuit pope whose emphasis on the poor mirrored the nuns’ own social outreach would take a different approach than his predecessor.

The Vatican last year imposed an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious after determining the sisters took positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” Investigators praised the nuns’ humanitarian work, but accused them of ignoring critical issues, including fighting abortion. Read the full article at