FROM Thomas Rausch
Pope Francis and the Soul of the Church During a recent summit of Roman Catholic leaders, one conservative bishop accused liberal colleagues of "doing the devil's work." It was all about Pope Francis and his "outreach" to people the Church has scorned: those who divorce and re-marry as well as gays and lesbians. After the "Synod," the angriest public infighting since the 1960's, 270 cardinals and bishops produced a "consensus" that observers call a conservative, victory. But Francis will have the last word. Is he a liberal reformer? Has he created expectations he can't fulfill? 1.2 billion Catholics are waiting for answers.
LA's New Catholic Leader and Immigration Reform Pope Francis is in Rio de Janeiro tonight, his first return to South America since taking charge of the Holy See. But his symbolic first visit outside of Rome was last week to the tiny Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, the destination of thousands of African immigrants. This year alone, 40 have died in the effort to find better lives in Europe. The Pope prayed for them and denounced what he called, the "globalization of indifference." Yesterday, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Archbishop José Gomez celebrated mass on behalf of all immigrants, and asked Catholics to contact members of Congress on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform. He's written a book on the subject, Immigration and the Next America : Renewing the Soul of Our Nation, dedicated to Pope Francis, and KCRW's Saul Gonzalez talked to him about it. Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez and Pope Francis
Pope Francis and the Church of Rome Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is now the 266th leader of the Church of Rome. He is known for simple living and care for the poor. The first Jesuit pope and the first born outside of Europe in more than a thousand years, on this first day, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with the cardinals who elected him in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. A doctrinaire conservative -- no fan of women's empowerment -- from an increasingly secular country, he's apologized for failing to better protect the faithful when Argentina's military dictatorship abused and killed many thousands of people. His challenges include priestly sex-abuse, Vatican corruption and declining membership. Will he be the breath of fresh air some Catholics say they've been waiting for, or another apostle of the status quo?
Should Cardinal Mahony Stay Home (or Go to Rome)? Cardinal Roger Mahony has been removed from all public duties by LA's Archbishop José Gomez because of the child sex-abuse scandal. Mahony will be questioned about that in court, under oath, this coming Saturday. Then he's scheduled to board a plane for Rome to help elect the next Pope. Nobody can prevent that, but there's a grassroots movement to persuade him to stay home. The national advocacy group Catholics United has organized a petition . When Famiglia Cristiana, one of Italy's most widely-read Catholic affairs magazines, asked readers if Mahony should participate in the papal election, the overwhelming majority of 350 respondents said, "No."
Sex Abuse, Celibacy and Politics in the Roman Catholic Church The US Conference of Catholic Bishops supports universal healthcare, but took a stand against the Senate bill on the grounds that it might allow federal money to subsidize abortions. It turned out that many pro-life members of Congress were listening to other voices. Some 59,000 Catholic nuns, 600 Catholic hospitals and 1400 Catholic nursing homes all endorsed the bill that President Obama signed into law today.
Sex Abuse, Celibacy and Politics in the Roman Catholic Church Sexual abuse by priests has cost the Roman Catholic Church both members and money in the US. An avalanche of cases in Europe could cost even more. The Church blames the secularization of western culture, but even the Cardinal of Vienna has questioned the issue of priestly celibacy . Pope Benedict XVI's apology to the faithful in Ireland has left many frustrated and angry. Is the Vatican out of touch with the needs of women and children? American nuns defied the Conference of Catholic Bishops to support healthcare reform. Is there a crisis of confidence in a hierarchy run solely by men?
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.