All Things Catholic

Deep forces at work in Catholic-Jewish dialogue


Journalists are forever asserting that something "stands at a crossroads," and, truth to be told, often it's just a rhetorical device to lend drama to whatever follows. Chronic overuse of the image, however, doesn't mean there are no real crossroads, and today one can make a very good case that Jewish/Catholic relations are fast arriving at one.

Right and left join forces to oppose brave new world of biotechnology


For some time, the politics of bioethics in the West has fueled deep ideological polarization between a permissive left and a restrictive right. That was the dynamic when the front-burner issues were abortion and birth control, and it's still true of today's most agonizing debates, such as embryonic stem cell research and end-of-life questions such as those surrounding the Terry Schiavo case in Florida.

Religious opposition to homosexuality increasingly a question of law


A political decision in England this week marks a further step toward what can only be called the criminalization of religious opposition to homosexuality, a trend that poses deep challenges to the Catholic church -- not only in terms of legal exposure, but its capacity to articulate a positive message on sexuality and the family.

Abbe Pierre, French hero, dies at 94


I have no sociological data to back this up, but I'm convinced that there's a strong correlation between someone's implied ecclesiology and their overall attitude toward the Catholic church. More often than not, when people complain about "the church" -- no matter what their ideological or theological slant, whether they're inside the church or outside -- what they mean is the hierarchy. Sometimes it's actually just a handful of members of the hierarchy whom they find especially irritating.

In Poland, ëa feeling of a new beginning'


In most quarters, when something goes wrong with a bishop’s appointment, there’s a natural tendency to blame the pope. After all, since the 19th century, the appointment of bishops in the Western church has been the near-universal prerogative of the Roman pontiff, so the buck stops on his desk. (The fact that the pope did not directly appoint most bishops prior to the 19th century is, alas, a subject for another time).

Church opposition to execution 'practically' absolute


In 1998, Pope John Paul II issued a document titled Ad Tuendam Fidem, which generated no small amount of discussion by underlining a second category of infallible teachings, i.e., doctrines not formally revealed but regarded as necessary to safeguard and defend revelation. In an accompanying commentary, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger cited the ban on women priests and the invalidity of Anglican ordinations as examples.

The top five ëmissing mega-trends' shaping Catholicism


Last week, I presented a draft list of ten “mega-trends” which I believe are shaping the future of the Catholic church, and asked for reader reaction. I was stunned by the response. In addition to the public comments on the NCR site, I received scores of personal messages, most of them deeply thoughtful and well-informed. Though I can’t respond personally, please know that I am grateful, and I hope my forthcoming book is equal to the quality of your contributions.


Subscribe to All Things Catholic


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017