Church and Papacy

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...
The readings from Isaiah that we heard at the Easter Vigil put Karen Eliasen in mind of a song which can help us make sense of Pope Francis’ call for the Church to be a ‘convincing herald of mercy’. The prophet is just such a convincing herald because he reminds us that ‘God is a God of mercy and justice, and his business with us is ongoing in its love and pain’ – how does he do this? A few years ago the BBC and PBS ran a television crime series, Case...
Photo by Juliana Muncinelli at flickr.com
‘The cross of Christ is a sign of God’s willingness to forgive us’, writes Russell Pollitt SJ as he concludes our series on the Spiritual Works of Mercy in Laudato si’.  As we contemplate our own sinfulness and the ultimate example of forgiveness in these days of Holy Week, we follow Pope Francis in viewing the ecological crisis ‘as a summons to profound interior conversion’, and recognise that true conversion involves sharing God’s mercy with...
Photograph of finger pointing at camera
Laudato si’ is a model of an Ignatian approach to sinfulness, an approach that is at the heart of Francis’ papacy, says Edel McClean as she reflects on how the encyclical helps us to think about our next Spiritual Work of Mercy: to admonish the sinner. Ignatius and Pope Francis ‘encourage us to look our personal sin in the eye, but we only take this step when we have a deep understanding of God’s creative and transformative love for us.’ Speaking to the...
Photograph of hands cradling a candle
‘The great parable of God’s mercy is the best place to start’ if we want to think about why praying for the living and the dead is merciful, says Richard Leonard SJ. In the latest article in our series on the Spiritual Works of Mercy in Laudato si’, we see how the encyclical calls us to realise that the moments and choices of our everyday lives matter, to us and to God. The seventh spiritual work of mercy is to pray for the living and the dead. Not long ago...
‘The gravity of the ecological crisis demands that we all look to the common good, embarking on a path of dialogue which demands patience, self-discipline and generosity’, writes Pope Francis in Laudato si’. When we struggle to show this patience, particularly in the face of what we perceive to be wrongdoing, we should look to the resilience of the natural world for encouragement and instruction in this particular work of mercy, says Henry Longbottom SJ. The Marsh...
Photo by Joshua Earle via Unsplash
In St Augustine’s description of his ministry, he said that: ‘The turbulent have to be corrected, the faint-hearted cheered up, the weak supported; the Gospel's opponents need to be refuted, its insidious enemies guarded against; the unlearned need to be taught, the indolent stirred up, the argumentative checked; the proud must be put in their place, the desperate set on their feet, those engaged in quarrels reconciled; the needy have to be helped, the oppressed to be liberated...
To instruct the ignorant
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has called for Lent to be ‘lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy.’[1] Thinking Faith will respond to this invitation by offering a series of reflections on the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy in the context of Laudato si’. We begin by asking what it means to ‘instruct the ignorant’. ‘Ignorant’ is not a word with which most of us would like to be...
Still from Spotlight
Director: Tom McCarthyStarring: Mark Ruffalo, Michale Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Brian D’arcy JamesCertificate: 15Running time: 128 minsUK release date: 29 January 2016 Spotlight is a film about pervasive, everyday evil. More precisely, it tells of how a particular instance of evil came to be identified and resisted. The evil is, of course, the clerical Child Sexual Abuse scandal, which came to light in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002;...
Photo of Pope Francis by European Parliament at flickr.com
How many conspiracy theories about Pope Francis have you heard? It’s likely that you have come across at least one, and if your natural reaction was to dismiss it out of hand, perhaps you’ve missed a trick.  The author of a new book on the Pope’s ‘not-so-cultured despisers’ argues that such narratives have a sociological significance and require our attention if we are to understand the phenomenon of Pope Francis. Surely nobody following Church...

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