Faith and Justice: Deacons do good work for the church, but the truth is that a layperson can do everything that a deacon can do.
NCR Today: People come to church to celebrate the Eucharist, not to watch a show or pray their private prayers. They come to pray together.
Commentary: Is the concept of female permanent deacons a viable idea?
"Jesus loved us, Jesus loves us, but without any limits, always, all the way to the end," Pope Francis said during the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper.
Pope Francis on Friday warned the Vatican's top marriage judges that they should not "lock the salvation of persons within the straits of legalism" and indicated he wants the church to no longer charge for the sometimes onerous and expensive annulment process.
"This is a point I want to emphasize: the sacraments are free," Francis told jurists of the Roman Rota, the church's final court of appeals for annulments.
"The sacraments give us grace," he said. "And a marriage proceeding" -- like an annulment -- "touches on the sacrament of marriage."
The majority of German bishops find the present guidelines regarding pastoral work with remarried divorcees "fraught with problems."
A pastoral approach that doesn't renounce the indissolubility of the sacrament, yet doesn't automatically exclude the faithful is needed, a canon lawyer said.
Most people associate the sacrament of anointing of the sick with a priest visiting a dying person in a hospital bed.
But the sacrament goes beyond this typical concept. According to the Catholic church's 1983 instruction on the sacrament, the optimal place to receive the rite is during Mass itself, when church members can participate. There is also room for interpretation as to who can and should receive the sacrament.
Catholic leaders have avoided blocking gay couples from having their children baptized, but a move by a Wisconsin bishop could force church leaders to establish clearer rules.
Reflection: On Sunday, my son and his fellow Scouts will receive the Ad Altare Dei award, a symbol of service and the values of Catholicism.