We’ve posted three new pieces to the website.

First is Robert Mickens’s latest Letter from Rome, in which he offers possible interpretations of Pope Francis’s comments on children at this week’s general audience: “ ‘You don’t mess with children!’ [Francis] said to loud applause. At least that’s one way to translate his actual words he used in Italian (con i bambini non si scherza). Francis went on to denounce a long list of situations and ways that children undergo their own ‘passion’ (suffering), which he said was almost always caused by the ‘errors of adults’ and the ‘system that we adults have created.’” Was any of this meant as a veiled reference to the sexual-abuse scandals? Read the full Letter from Rome here.

Next is Paul Horwitz on the nature of the debate over Indiana’s RFRA legislation:

That the debate is playing out so publicly and with such fervor is understandable, even commendable. It speaks to how far our society has come in a short time on the question of the equal dignity of gays and lesbians. For those who have long yearned for such recognition, questioning the quality of this debate may seem like mere carping—like caviling over the proper placement of commas in the Declaration of Independence.

But the quality of this discussion matters. Nothing, I think, will—or should—stop the basic recognition of gay rights, and the heat of the current debate in part reflects this inevitability. But the details are still in flux, especially regarding same-sex marriage, and the current debate will surely affect some of the particular details of our new social settlement. Moreover, this debate raises questions about our very capacity to engage in the kind of thoughtful, careful public discussion that serious issues like this demand.

By that standard, there is good reason to be dispirited.

Read all of “Overheated” here.

Finally, E. J. Dionne Jr. looks back on the career of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “who managed to live on both sides of the ideological divide and still kept his own thinking coherent,” and whose approach to complicated issues is worth remembering in today’s political climate. Read all of “The Unpolarized Moynihan” here.

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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