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dotCommonweal, as seen on TV

If you're sitting at home thinking, "Gosh, what I'd really love for Christmas is to see some video footage of my favorite dotCommonweal contributors discussing Pope Francis," I bring you glad tidings of great joy. Our own Michael Peppard appeared on MSNBC on December 21 to talk Francis with Joy Reid and some other panelists. You can see the results here (talking about Francis's new approach to the papacy), here (on his economic teachings, and right-wing freakouts over same), and here (on Francis's concern for the environment).

Meanwhile, yours truly had a long chat with Michael Brendan Dougherty for Bloggingheads, about our reactions to Francis, our hopes for his pontificate, and the likelihood of his mending (or reinforcing) the entrenched culture-war divisions in the American Church. You can watch, or download an audio file for your listening pleasure, here. (I must apologize for the poor lighting on my end. I was broadcasting from the only room in my house where you can't hear the kids.)

About the Author

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an editor at large and columnist at Commonweal.



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So inspiring to see Francis going about and mixing with the people. What one wants to see not just in a pastor but in any Christian. Doce nos!  On point is the response of the panel when they point out how the "preferential option for the poor" has always been part of Catholic thought. It seems inescapable. But so many officials in the church have tried to explain it away. Augustine and Jerome  worked on convincing people to give the money to the church who would give it to the poor. Perhaps not a good idea. Too much of that money goes for other things. 

As far as Francis goes we have not discussed a noteworthy answer he gave on women becoming priests.  His answer on the famous plane interview was this: "If someone has a vagina and she searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"Startling.

Even more significant was his response on the same subject on perhaps another occasion: "Anyone who insists on women's ordination is into clericalism." Wow. Makes sense to me. The clergy as such are a dying breed in the church. The church means people and in its most essential it is the Body of Christ. It is that gathering that makes up the church. Sure the church needs leaders. But it does not need magicians which leads to such silly hypothesis as "if a priest says the words of consecration over a bakery......"

Maybe the pope can't say it. But I will. The community needs to be restored to its importance The Empire must go. In that community "there is neither male nor female....but all one in Christ Jesus."

One more entry: excerpts from my CNN interview were shown with the broadcast of the Pope's Christmas Mass.

The Bloggingheads exchange between Molly and Michael is tonic to those of us 'lost in the middle,' the noncombatants in the interminable Catholic culture wars. Communicating face to face matters. Incorporation of videos into comboxes would be a welcome development.

Molly and Michael were attentive and congenial conversation partners. Their exchange was pleasant and substantive. The tone was respectful. Distinct alliances were evident but differences were not stark, not nearly as salient as the commonalities they uncovered. 


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