Church and Papacy

'The Great Amen' by Peter Bridgman
On 14 October, Pope Francis will declare Archbishop Oscar Romero a saint, along with Pope Paul VI and several other beati. Martin Maier SJ, who has a longstanding connection with El Salvador, traces Romero’s personal transformation up to the moment of his martyr’s death in the middle of a sermon. It has been a beatification and canonisation process dogged with obstacles and delays. In El Salvador, the vast majority of the population began venerating Archbishop Oscar Romero as a saint a...
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In October 2018, bishops of the Catholic Church will gather in the Vatican to discuss ‘Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment’. Fr Giacomo Costa SJ, Special Secretary for the Synod of Bishops, describes the unique preparation for this meeting and says that the renewal of solidarity between the generations must be a priority for the Church and the whole of society. The Church is preparing for another synod: the XVth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be held...
Pope Francis refused to answer reporters’ questions about a letter released on Sunday by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, instead urging reporters to draw their own conclusions about the former papal nuncio’s accusations. Austen Ivereigh explains that the roots of Francis’ response might be found in an article that Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote in 1990, in which he claims silence is sometimes the only way to let the spirits reveal themselves. ‘When it’s our turn to live through a difficult...
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In a letter ‘To the People of God’ this week, Pope Francis addressed the suffering caused by clerical abuse, expressing deep sorrow for the ‘heart-wrenching pain’ of victims and giving voice to the shame of the Church. James Hanvey SJ believes that, in trying to be attentive to the Spirit’s voice and presence, the pope’s letter marks a definitive moment from which there can be no turning back. Pope Francis’ letter ‘To the People of God’ marks a definitive moment in the Church’s life. When...
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The collective mind-set in Ireland as the country prepares for Pope Francis’ visit to the World Meeting of Families is a fragile one. The consequences of a momentous vote in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment are being worked out, and the recent revelations about abuse in the USA have caused much discontent. Irish Jesuit Gerry O’Hanlon surveys the religious and political landscape in Ireland, and wonders how recent events might shape the future of the Church. How lies Ireland in the...
Pope Francis
13 March 2013 was the date of the historic election of the first Jesuit pope. Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ took the name of Francis and in the five years since, he has captured headlines, imaginations and hearts worldwide. Nicholas Austin SJ looks at one of the foundation stones of Francis’ papacy and, indeed, his life as a Jesuit: discernment. What, according to Pope Francis, does it mean to be a discerning Christian? When Pope Francis was asked, in the famous interview published by Thinking...
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‘In today’s world, hunger, violence and poverty cannot be understood apart from the changes and degradation affecting the environment.’ Pope Francis’ recognition of this led him to introduce an eighth work of mercy in 2016: ‘care for our common home’. Anna Rowlands and Robert Czerny survey the long and living tradition in which this new work of mercy stands. In his message for the 2016 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Show Mercy to our Common Home, Pope Francis surprised many...
Pope Francis’ concern about the wording of the Lord’s Prayer has generated plenty of debate, and if that makes us more attentive to the working of the Spirit then we should embrace it. However, we ought not to be seeking a perfect translation, says Nicholas King SJ, with support from this Sunday’s second reading. ‘The function of the divine Word is to set us free, not enslave us.’ You have to be careful about words. There have been ruffled feathers in the past week because the pope...
Cover of 'The name of God is Mercy'
An anecdote about taking a cross from a dead priest is perhaps not one you would expect to hear from a pontiff, but The name of God is Mercy is full of such of disarming tales from Pope Francis. Most are encouraging stories, about people who have practised or understood mercy, but there is also the occasional warning about religious rigidity or arrogance. No story is wasted and, typically of Francis, each is used to make a deeper theological truth accessible. In the story of the...
Photo of Pope Francis
Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, published on 8 April 2016, transposes church teaching on marriage and the family from the key of law to that of virtue and should be celebrated, says Nicholas Austin SJ. This powerful new document offers ‘a Gospel-inspired vision of what family life can be, a word of encouragement for those who are not yet there, and above all another example of the discerning way of proceeding that the pope has modelled’. The topic of...

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