Pope John Paul II
Despite Evangelical Catholicism’s hectoring tone and the particular set of political judgments into which it straitjackets John Paul II, readers ultimately can’t afford to ignore George Weigel.
In winning election as Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio defied the papal pundits, even though they should have seen him coming. His rise marks the decisive shift within Roman Catholicism toward Latin America and the developing world.
What can the next pope learn from Benedict, and what should we seek from him? Our special series concludes with new stories from William L. Portier and Richard R. Gaillardetz.
The humility of Benedict's decision to give up power will affect future papacies, all to the good.
John Thavis presents many stories that will make you laugh. Others may make you cry.
Why the reluctance among conservative opponents of gun control to criticize America’s gun culture, with its vocal enthusiasm for weapons designed specifically to kill people as efficiently as possible?
Evaluations of Benedict's tenure have balanced the pros and cons of his deeds according to the lights of the balancer. What is untallied, except for his failure to unmistakably demand accountability in regard to clerical sexual abuse, is what has remained undone. Underlying conditions like the limitations of the clergy or the eroding credibility of church teachings on sexuality are no better than when he took office.
Even Benedict's most ardent supporters concede that his papacy has been marred by too many scandals and too many gaffes. And the courtly secrecy surrounding the deliberations to elect the next pope provides a reminder of the lack of transparency and accountability in the operations of the entire hierarchy.
Now It's Rome's Turn
This is the long-term historical context of the papacy Benedict XVI will resign: one that became more monarchical in the nineteenth century (as a reaction against the democratization of modern political systems), and that is now more centralized than ever before—despite Vatican II.
At a moment when prominent American politicians are promoting a vision in which society is little more than a collection of individualists in competition with one another, John Paul II's image of life as a common banquet seems particularly apt.
In October 1963, Bishop Luigi Bettazzi addressed the Second Vatican Council on the need for collegiality. He was the newest bishop participant and, at thirty-nine, one of the youngest. Now eighty-nine, Bettazzi is the most active of the five surviving Italian participants, keeping faith with the council by writing and lecturing about it tirelessly.
Revisiting ‘Economic Justice for All’
The Catholic Right’s False Nostalgia
A Partisan Abuse of the Church’s Moral Teachings
There are currently several different, sometimes contending ways of being Catholic. To some degree that has always been so. The notion of the church as a rigorously disciplined and monolithic enterprise is largely myth, and modern myth to boot. What is not myth is the dramatic change in the self-understanding of Catholics brought about by the Second Vatican Council.
In the days after Vatican II, confession slipped its old juridical moorings, with its distinctive laws, regulations, judgment, and penance. At the moment it is searching for new moorings. What will confession look like once it finds them?
The small-government movement has created resistance to the reasonable proposals in the recent Vatican statement on financial reform. Yet, separate from the many strengths of the statement and the many problems in the way it’s been received in this country, there remains a significant hole in official Catholic social teaching on the economy.
Robert Barron's 'Catholicism'
In the second part of the interview, Cardinal Francis George discusses the recent study of the "causes and context" of the sexual-abuse crisis, the bishops' role in assessing the Catholic identity of institutions, and retirement.
The trouble with the new Roman Missal
The liturgical wars heat up
It's time for St. John XXIII
If George Weigel had lived in nineteenth-century France, he would have been termed an ultramontane—one who looked beyond the Alps to Rome. Instead, he looks from Washington to Rome.
The legacy of Avery Dulles
The Canadian cardinal, subject of this 2010 web exclusive, is regularly mentioned as a successor to Benedict. He is scholarly and spiritual and he knows how the Vatican operates. But what about the world outside of Rome?
In 1922, the Vatican issued norms for handling the canonical crime of the sexual abuse of minors by priests. The document was revised in 1962, and remained in force until 2001. Why did so few bishops know about it?
A pope who can and cannot change
A selection of articles from Commonweal on Benedict XVI.
A profile of the ethicist Gilbert Meilaender
No, this “Year of the Priest” has not been the best for priests or for any Catholics. Just when some of us thought we might be turning the corner, moving on, re-establishing some level of trust, it turns out the wounds are far deeper and much more widespread than we thought.
Stanley Hauerwas & the Christian Difference
Beware those authorities who criticize the independent Catholic press on the ground that pluralism equals relativism. What they really favor is monopoly. They want a single joint blast on the trumpet, or an orchestra in full flow. What they do not like are the discordant notes.
If the priest is going to face east during Mass, so should everyone else.
John Paul’s last book raises but does not answer the question of God. Bernard G. Prusak reviews.
The death of John Paul II, and the outpouring of affection and admiration it has brought forth from every corner of the globe, has reminded all of us what a remarkable individual he was and what a singular institution the papacy is. We asked six commentators, representing four faith traditions, including Rev. Richard P. McBrien and Stanley Hauerwas, to make a preliminary assessment of the significance of the late pope’s life, thought, and ministry.
What does the church need in the next pope? Someone who will carry out Vatican II’s teaching that the word of God be addressed to the whole people of God, argues theologian Richard Gaillardetz. Gaillardetz wants a pope who “recognizes that we do not so much possess divine truth as it possesses us.” The first of a series of articles on the challenges facing the next pope. Later today: Margaret O’Brien Steinfels.
Pope John Paul II was a force of nature, a man of iron will and passionate spirituality, who was also blessed with a quick wit, a magnetic personality, and a fearless moral temperament.
In the October 10, 2003 Commonweal, the editors took stock of John Paul II on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his papacy.
John Paul II, like Superman, tried to do everything. And in doing so, he may have harmed the church. Luke Timothy Johnson on JPII’s legacy.
The pope’s recent address on patients in a persistent vegetative state has left a lot of people scratching their heads. How might we read it if it were a thesis proposal submitted to an committee for review at a Catholic university? Rev. John Tuohey imagines the scenario.
What does the pope have to learn from ’Buffy the Vampire Slayer’? A lot, it turns out—especially about "the new feminism." Cathleen Kaveny reports.