British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's infant son has been baptized Catholic. The Archdiocese of Westminster has confirmed that the baptism of Wilfred Johnson took place in London's Westminster Cathedral on September 12. That private ceremony was attended by both parents and a limited number of guests.
On Ash Wednesdays, Joe Biden’s forehead carries a tell-tale smudge. If he wins in November, he will be the second Catholic President of the United States, after John F. Kennedy. Yet his pro-choice position aggravates those who see abortion as the pre-eminent issue in public life.
The Bible begins with the garden planted by God in Eden (cf. Gen 2:8). It ends with the evocation of a garden-city, the heavenly Jerusalem: “In the middle of the city square and on either side of the river, there is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Rev 22:2).
The excusable doesn’t need to be excused and the inexcusable cannot be excused. Michael Buckley wrote those words and they contain an important challenge. We’re forever trying to make excuses for things we need not make excuses for and are forever trying to excuse the inexcusable. Neither is necessary. Or helpful.
Saying ‘yes’ to God means giving up one’s own thoughts and accepting his. He does not look for the satiated, but those who are hungry to fill them with his possessions (Lk 1:53). He does not appreciate the powerful who sit on thrones but lowers himself to raise the lowly (Lk 1:52). He does not reward the righteous for their own merits, but makes himself the companion of the weak and introduces the tax collectors and prostitutes first in the kingdom.
The vitality of the Church and, above all, the faith that animates her pastors and her faithful cannot be measured by numbers and statistics. Only God knows the mysterious and unique relationship that unites him to people who profess themselves Catholic. This is what constitutes the essence of the faith.
About 5000 books survive from English monasteries, and I’m the proud owner of two of them. Don’t get too excited. They’re not luscious manuscripts with glorious illuminations but humble paper printed books. But they’re treasures nonetheless, especially as both volumes provide priceless insights into the last phase of English medieval monasticism before Henry VIII brought it to an abrupt end.
If you want to understand Pope Francis, it helps to know tango, soccer lingo, and colloquial Argentinian Spanish. Making sense of Francis, I propose, also requires an ability to think in hyperlinks. In other words, what he says opens paths to multiple references that further enrich and expand possibilities for interpretation. Francis plays with language and space.
Beijing wants the Vatican to derecognize the Republic of China but the way forward for Rome is fraught with dange. As talks progress between the Vatican and Beijing on a new deal on bishop appointments, or extension of the existing deal signed in September 2018, the Vatican is facing an increasingly thorny problem with Taiwan: its diplomatic derecognition of the effectively independent nation is something that Beijing craves.