US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Special coverage: Pope Benedict XVI

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The most significant act of Benedict's papacy: resigning
Pope Benedict's resignation tells me that he knows his role, both his role as bishop of Rome, and his role as successor to Pope John Paul II. Joseph Ratzinger was elected as a short-term caretaker pope, and eight years (or nearly eight) is a sufficient amount of time to let the aura of Pope John Paul II's too-long papacy dissipate. [Read more.]


Berating Benedict? The surprising frankness of criticism
If anyone was worrying about Joseph Ratzinger's (Benedict XVI-emeritus) influence on the conclave and the church going forward, take a gander at the criticism (and damning with faint praise) arising from all quarters. Off the record, and sometimes on, the criticism of Benedict's nearly 8-year tenure is loud and clear, and it focuses on one big failure: governance. [Read more.]


A pope for peace and justice? Cardinal Turkson a popular, yet unlikely, papal candidate
This morning, on day three of the USCCB's Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, I was fortunate enough to sit at a breakfast table surrounded by a few bishops' conference staffers. And despite the many interesting topics of conversation going on at the gathering, everyone wanted to talk papal picks. [Read more.]


Note to the New York Times: Timothy Dolan does not have a snowball's chance of being pope
Now that handicapping the papal election is underway (Benedict who?), The New York Times is out of the gate with its short list, upon which, of course, they have put New York's own Cardinal Timothy Dolan, along with fellow North American Marc Ouellet of Quebec. [Read more.]


Why there is no need to worry about having an ex-pope and a new pope
News stories seem to be capturing some anxiety--including some from those who should know better--about the possibility of Pope Benedict XVI getting in the way of the new pope, whoever he is. [Read more.]


Spoiler alert! Pope Benedict chooses his own successor (says my crystal ball)
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle joined five others in receiving the red hat, but he is the only one likely to succeed Pope Benedict. [Read more.]


Sex abuse: Benedict succeeds where John Paul II failed
Many faulted Pope John Paul II, rightly I think, for a slow and insufficiently direct response to the U.S. sex abuse crisis. [Read more.]


Veiled to meet the pope?
With all the hoo-ha over the burqa in France, one Vatican tradition I wish they would discard is the requirement that women where mantillas (veils) and black when they meet the pope. [Read more.]


The pope, sexuality, and mainstream media
Pope Benedict XVI has spawned another media tempest related to homosexuality; or at least he threw a bone to a hungry media, who then spawned the tempest. [Read more.]


What the pope should learn from the sex abuse scandals in his home country
These scandals first came to light because German Jesuit officials actively pursued rumors and allegations of sexual abuse by members of their order in Jesuit-run boarding schools. [Read more.]

Pope Benedict five years on
I'd go as far as to say that in these five years the Ratzinger papacy has lurched from catastrophe to catastrophe, beginning with the Regensburg speech of 2006, continuing with the unconditional rehabilitation of the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, and culminating in the international sex abuse crisis, which is only going to get bigger. [Read more.]


Change we can believe in: The pope, condoms, and church teaching
Using the words “pope” and “condom” in the same sentence is bound to draw attention; when it’s the pope himself using the latter word in a sentence of his own, the world takes notice. [Read more.]


Holy Father in the 'hood: Should the pope ditch his palatial digs?
Imagine, for a moment, the following scenario and the powerful witness to Jesus Christ and his God this would proclaim. First, the pope sells the summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, liquidates half of the assets of the Vatican and gives it to the poor, retires the papal robes, donates the popemobile to charity, and abolishes the pomp and circumstance surrounding the papacy. [Read more.]


The pope's letter to Ireland: Two steps forward and one back?
Though its reception has been uneven--with some applauding and some shrugging--the pope's letter to the church of Ireland is definitely worthy of praise--with reservations. [Read more.]


The Pope and the Queen
As the world keeps wondering why Pope Benedict will not directly address the European sex abuse crisis, I find myself thinking back to the 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales and specifically to the response of Queen Elizabeth to it. [Read more.]


Pope playing victim
I can only express disappointment with Pope Benedict XVI's letter of explanation regarding the rehabilitation of the bishops of the SSPX. At best, it is a poor-me attempt to lay blame at the feet of others; at worst it's just whiny, with the pope claiming he's been attacked "with hostility." [Read more.]


Pope points the way on President Obama
Expect the pope in today's meeting with President Obama to take a different tack than the confrontational approach chosen by many U.S. bishops. [Read more.]


Pope on offensive in UK
Pope Benedict XVI took a swipe at the "atheistic extremism" and "aggressive secularism" of the UK (and modern Europe in general) in his first speech in Scotland. [Read more.]


Top Image by Oliver Bonjoch via Creative Commons

Right image by Caitlyn Schmid