• What the Pope can do for Middle East Christians

    • Oct 4, 2014

    ROME — In his latest expression of concern for Christians and other minority groups in the Middle East, Pope Francis this week summoned all his ambassadors in the region to a special meeting in Rome to discuss “initiatives and actions at all levels.” The gathering builds on earlier gestures by

  • Australian cardinal faces the Vatican’s law of the jungle

    Australian cardinal faces the Vatican’s law of the jungle

    • Sep 27, 2014

    In bureaucracies everywhere, when someone’s interests are threatened by a cycle of reform, one time-honored resistance strategy is to dig up dirt on the reformers. For maximum effectiveness, the dirt should be related to a brewing crisis in which people are tempted to shoot first and ask questions later. Whatever

  • Are we looking at the American Pope Francis in Chicago?

    • Sep 20, 2014

    In American Catholic terms, Chicago always has been a land of giants. There have been nine Catholic archbishops in the Windy City, and for better or worse, they’ve all been larger-than-life figures. In the early 20th century, Cardinal George Mundelein was an FDR enthusiast who mobilized the resources of the

  • A Church with verve is at risk in Ukraine

    • Sep 13, 2014

    No one should need persuading that what’s happening in Ukraine right now is alarming. A fragile cease-fire between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces could unravel at any moment, and even more lives may be at risk this winter as the country scrambles to make up for lost Russian gas. Most

  • Will tragedy derail Pope Francis on Christian unity?

    • Jul 27, 2014

    History sometimes turns on tragedies, leaving people to ponder what might have been. A new Catholic focus for that question is a random motorcycle accident last Sunday in England, and whether it may change the arc of Pope Francis’ papacy on ecumenism, meaning the push for unity among Christians. Christians,

  • ‘FOBs’ driving the train under Pope Francis

    • Jul 19, 2014

    During the Clinton administration, American politics developed a new bit of argot: “FOB,” meaning “friend of Bill,” an intimate of the president who enjoyed access to the corridors of power and perhaps helped shape his agenda. Today Catholicism has its own emerging “FOB” class, in this case standing for “friend