New Stories on the Website

Although our print publishing schedule might slow down a little over the summer, we’re featuring three new stories in the website you’ll want to check out.

First, Robert Mickens reports in his Letter from Rome on Pope Francis’s address that provoked some uproar by suggesting that “great majority of sacramental marriages are null.” Mickens sets these remarks in their context within the address, including the pope’s emphasis that he was speaking “as a pastor.” Mickens emphasizes, “Not as a theologian or philosopher. Not as a university professor or an enforcer of correct doctrine or pure ideals.” The pope, in his own words, is an evangelical realist.

“Evangelical realism dirties its hands because it knows that ‘wheat and weeds’ grow together. And the best wheat—in this life—will always be mixed with some weeds,” he continued.

“Jesus dirtied his hands more than anyone. He wasn’t one of ‘the clean,’ but went to the people and among the people and took them as they were, not as they ought to be,” the pope said.

Then he rephrased the prayer of the self-righteous Pharisee, saying: “I thank you, Lord, because I belong to Catholic Action, or to this association, or to Caritas, or this or that group… and I am not like those in my neighborhood who are thieves and delinquents.”

Such an attitude, he concluded, “does not help our pastoral work!”

Read the whole Letter from Rome here (behind the paywall).


Next, Piotr H. Kosicki writes about the concerning rise of nativism within Polish politics and the Polish Church’s response to it. One Polish cleric is calling for a renewed “Great Catholic Poland”—by which he means a nationalist, anti-liberal, anti-pluralist Poland—and while he’s “not a powerful figure in Poland,” he represents a growing sentiment while the country's bishops conference sends mixed messages.

"The Polish bishops’ conference has unfortunately contributed to a disconnect between Polish youth and their pontiff’s message of solidarity and tolerance. The episcopate’s deputy head, in one of his first acts as archbishop of Łódź, liquidated the archdiocese’s flagship ecumenical initiative. In homilies, he has criticized lay Catholics who spread the teachings of Vatican II. And he has welcomed into Łódź’s main cathedral nationalists carrying banners with messages like “Death to Enemies of the Fatherland.”

Hopefully World Youth Day, which will be held next month in Kraków, will offer an opportunity for disenfranchised youth—the targets for the extreme nationalist movement—to create solidarity “with each other on terms other than illiberal or nationalist anger.” Read the whole article here.


Next, in their editorial on the massacre in Orlando, the editors write that though one would-be leader seeks to stoke resentments, most Americans understand the tragedy for what it is.

“Fortunately, the response of the Orlando community, and indeed most of the nation, has been one of outrage and of concern for the victims, most poignantly manifested in the hundreds of people who lined up to give blood for the wounded. Donald Trump’s fear-mongering and odious attempts to exploit the killings for political advantage have so far failed. Still, the brutality and magnitude of the crime can only leave us shaken. . .

In the disorienting aftermath of events like Orlando, it often seems as though ‘the God of Jacob does not perceive,’ and it is no impiety to say so. Even Christ asked if God had forsaken him.”

Read the whole editorial here.

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