By this author
One prominent Catholic commentator has lauded the new House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for his “statesman’s commitment to the principles of Catholic social doctrine.” It’s a debatable assertion, to say the least, much of it resting on Ryan’s strong anti-abortion convictions while ignoring the congressman’s more cramped views on issues of social justice and economic fairness.
JUST A VENIAL SIN
At least one letter writer in the last issue cheered on Donald Cozzens’s analysis in “Sins, Mortal & Otherwise," yet this seems to be forgetting the theological points that make the entire idea of mortal sin still relevant.
In October 2015, cardinals, bishops, and lay auditors met in Vatican City for the second session of the Synod on the Family, to focus on making programmatic changes based on the dialogue from the 2014 session. From the outset, Francis made dialogue the goal of the synod—about the church’s teachings on family life, and the pastoral challenges that arise from differing interpretations and changes in family formation and sexuality.
Like all acts of terrorism, the attacks in Paris on November 13, which killed 129 people and wounded hundreds of others, came as a horrible shock. Yet they were not exactly a surprise. ISIS, which immediately claimed responsibility for the slaughter, had long threatened to strike in Europe, and several of its earlier attempts had been thwarted.
THE WAGES OF WALKER
No knowledgeable observer expected the Synod on the Family to alter church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage or homosexuality. The synod’s final report, a consensus document replete with the requisite ambiguities, opens a path for divorced and remarried Catholics who have not received an annulment to be welcomed back into the church. Whether they may receive Communion, the synod suggested, is a decision that in certain circumstances could be made in consultation with their pastors.
HELP A BROTHER OUT
Pope Francis’s clandestine meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk whose refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has made her a hero to many on the right, will soon become a footnote in the history of the pope’s visit to the United States. Or so one hopes. What Francis had to say to Congress about the responsibility of legislators to find common ground and to the UN about the ecological crisis should be of more lasting consequence.