Letter from Rome

What Pope Francis is doing during his first trip to Africa, despite security threats; who among the cardinals thinks the pope is "wobbly" on church teaching, again.

Catching Up & Passing On

Current students are taught by lay people. Our teachers were Benedictine monks, and teaching only begins to describe the role those virtuous men played in our lives.

Still a Church of Surprises

So this, I realized as I watched, was still a church of surprises. Vatican II lived on. A weight accumulated over thirty-five years dropped from from my shoulders.

Unforced Errors?

Process, papacy, and accompaniment: It may not be too early to wonder how Pope Francis's handling of the Synod on the Family fared on these three considerations.

Let's Talk About Authority

Francis has introduced the possibility that the spotlight of moral judgment can can be shone back on those who make the judgments, and on their very act of judging.

Conspiracy of the Faithful

John Henry Newman once said of the laity that the church would look foolish without them, and from the beginning the synod did indeed look foolish without us.

'Just a Revelation'

Aside from restatements of the teaching on sexual morality, there were glimpses of how a spirituality of discernment could infuse the church in its mission of mercy.

Walking Together

Engagement rather than denunciation marked the synod’s formal pronouncements, a pastoral style deeply rooted in Vatican II, and embodied in everything Francis does.


As a result of a recent vogue for feeling culturally embattled, the word “Christian” now is seen less as identifying an ethic, and more as identifying a demographic.

Keeping the Books

In bed, before falling asleep, I say goodnight to Dad as I mark my place in my book. He is everywhere I am, as long as I’m reading.

Last Word: Kids in the Kingdom

My liturgical tastes used to tend toward the simple, but they’ve recently turned toward the chaotic.

The Synod on the Family

Selected articles, interviews, and video from our coverage of the Synod on the Family—and the continuing dialogue about sex, marriage, and Catholic family life.
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