Catholic News Roundup: March 25, 2014

This week’s Catholic News Roundup has a pretty wide-ranging selection of news stories and blogs.  The Catholic News section covers issue involving the sex abuse scandal and religious liberty being taken up by the Supreme Court.  Pope Francis gets his own section as he continues to grab headlines for a wide variety of issues.  Finally, I have included a few blogs that add some colorful insights on some of the latest burning issues.

Catholic News

Who’s the most powerful Catholic in America?

Despite his highly influential religious office, he makes time to sit with the people, comfort the sick, and help the poor. He often forgoes traditional fancy threads and maintains a quiet, humble disposition. He is, above all things, a pastoral man.

If you think we’re talking about Pope Francis, think again.


Pope Francis gets serious on sex abuse

From magazine covers to Twitter, Pope Francis has fashioned a disarming and popular image of himself and the Catholic Church he leads. Now he’s turning serious on sex abuse in the priesthood, a topic that disturbs him and Catholicism’s 1.1 billion believers.


Catholic Online and Common Good, Friends of the Court in Supporting Hobby Lobby at the Supreme Court

On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at the United States Supreme Court, one of the most important cases concerning the Fundamental Right to Religious Liberty will be argued. The case is styled Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Kathleen Sebelius.


Seib: The Elusive ‘Catholic Vote’

A meeting between an American president and the pope is always big news—and always an event that stirs up interest in the political world about how the event might affect “the Catholic vote.”

The Catholic vote is in quotation marks there because the phenomenon actually is pretty hard to pin down. Indeed, one can argue that there isn’t really an identifiable Catholic vote, because the millions of Catholics who vote have reliably tracked the national vote at large for decades now.


Pope Francis

Understanding Pope Francis Through Ignatius of Loyola

I believe that Pope Francis is the quintessential Ignatian Jesuit and that is the hermeneutical key to understanding him.
When Ignatius of Loyola was wounded in the Battle of Pamplona, he was taken to the hospital, where he received a copy of the lives of the saints.
After devouring the book, Ignatius said, “I want to be a saint like St. Francis.”
Well, we have a Pope who has embraced the vocation of being a follower of Ignatius who wanted to be a saint like St. Francis.


Reflection on Pope Francis’ Lenten Message

What is Lent?

The Season of Lent, which reminds us the forty days Jesus spent in the desert before taking up his Father’s mission, is celebrated by all Christian Churches as a period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The Season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, on which day the faithful are imposed ashes on their foreheads. This symbolic action of imposing ashes reminds us that we are mere mortals – “You are dust and unto dust you shall return” (cf. Gen 3:19) and that we are sinners in need of repentance – “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). Ash Wednesday, therefore, reminds us that we are mere mortal beings, that this world we live is not our permanent home, and that we are sinners in need of metanoia, conversion of mind, heart and vision.


Pope Francis institutes Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors

Pope Francis has instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. The body’s creation was announced in December following a meeting of the Council of Cardinals, the eight-member group that advises and assists in the Pope in the governance of the universal Church.


Pope Francis’ first year has challenged Hoosier Catholics to look at their faith anew

For Brad Bingham, a lifelong Catholic who regularly goes to confession, it was the new pope’s own confession — “I am a sinner.”

For Erin McHugh, a college student with a heart for the poor, it was the pope’s decision not to live in the Apostolic palace, but in a less opulent guest house in the Vatican.


Pope Francis: humility is the path to salvation

Our salvation is not just in observing the Commandments, but in the humility to always feel the need to be healed by God. This was the message voiced by Pope Francis during Mass on Monday morning at the Casa Santa Marta.


Pope Francis: stop to violence in South Sudan

Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for an end to violence in South Sudan, to ensure access to humanitarian aid and for the promotion of peace.

In a letter addressed to Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, read at Mass on Sunday morning by Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who is in South Sudan on a mission to pray with the people there, the Pope entreated all parties involved to “tirelessly seek peaceful solutions, enabling the common good to prevail over particular interests”.


Pope Francis ‘does not want Christians with sour faces’

Pope Francis “is a man who accepted the will of the Lord to become successor of St Peter when it was put to him, without any questioning or without any strategic planning sessions,” Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said this evening.


Catholic Blogs

Pope Francis Preaches An Inconvenient Truth

A few months ago someone said to me that the Holy Father reminds them of an old parish priest in the way he preaches. These pious old souls who had spent a lifetime labouring in the vineyard of the Lord, would get up on a Sunday or weekday and offer lovely little meditations on the Gospel, sometimes flavouring them with little stories, or spicing them up with a few denunciations.


Let’s give the pope’s abuse commission a chance

It’s not surprising that long-time victims’ advocates have been less than blown away by the naming of eight members to the new papal commission on sexual abuse in the church. Whatever progress has been made in resolving the biggest crisis in Catholicism since the Reformation, there remains much work to do.


Pope Francis AGAIN: “Who am I to judge?”

The Pope used again, on 17 March, the phrase “Who am I to judge?” in an informal, off-the-cuff context: his daily fervorino at his private Mass during which he says nothing that forms a part of his Ordinary Magisterium.

At we find an account of the fervorino. Alas, we never get the whole thing. The Holy See newsies cut it up and make a hash of it, so our ability to consider context is somewhat hobbled.


Why Catholics Love Evolution and the Big Bang

The title of this article is not meant to be facetious. Catholicism is in love with theories of evolution and the Big Bang. We have no reason to join the recent protests by our fellow Christians, made in the name of Biblical accounts of creation, against FOX’s new documentary series, “Cosmos.”

Those who would expect Catholics to join other Christians in condemning the show, hosted by the American Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, might well be wondering why we want to make our love for evolutionary and Big Bang theories plain.


Pope Francis’ hidden adviser

Pope Francis established a group of Eight Cardinals to advise him about a reform of the Curia and the government of the universal Church. He has several people he trusts working with him, like Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope’s vicar for the diocese of Rome. But the most influential adviser is in fact Pope Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI. Pope Francis holds Pope Benedict in such a high regard that he sent to him the first copy of the interview he granted to the Jesuit-run magazine “La Civiltà Cattolica”. And Benedict XVI, obedient and at the same time precise, responded with four pages of comments.


Does Pope Francis Really Want His Message For Clergy To Roll Down Past The Vatican Hills?

One of the things I’ve appreciated about Pope Francis is his insistence on conversion with in the ranks of the priesthood. The whole ‘taking on the smell’ of the sheep concept. The problem I have with this idea is I have no idea how he is going to see that this gets done in any kind of meaningful way outside of the Vatican walls.



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