Is the Papacy Obsolete?

A few weeks before the pope died a reporter on the death watch called me. Among her questions: Is the papacy obsolete? My immediate reply was, “Yes, and it always has been.” I later revised my wisecrack, at least in my own head: the older the papacy becomes, the more obsolete it appears, because the longer it goes on, the more it has to preserve. To outsiders, like the reporter, the papacy seems so far behind the times that she could...

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.