Through the encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis is reminding the world truths which are self-evident -- that the world we share isn't ruled or owned by anyone and that our time on this planet is limited.
There is one very practical measure, immediately realizable and eminently feasible that is, as it were, staring the pope right in the face: The pope should not only end the Catholic Church's morally absurd and repugnant opposition to contraception, but should urge all families to engage in responsible family planning.
Our craving for dramatic arcs clouds the real, more complex, and more fascinating story leading up to this encyclical. The Catholic Church, which has been friendly to science since at least the 19th century, has developed a set of social teachings more aligned with social democracy.
Can Pope Francis and thousands of Catholic--and other--personnel recover, emerge, and get back to their vital work, regaining trust?
It is a line repeated with tiresome regularity in right-wing circles: Pope Francis has no business proposing solutions to the crisis of global climate change. He is not a scientist, they say. He should stick to morals and to matters of faith and doctrine.
The emphasis on pain capability is beneath the complexity of traditional moral theology, and specious for everyone else who isn't a strict utilitarian.
Efforts like those of EcoPeace come at a critical moment in human history. Environmental degradation and climate change have become the focus of concern for people of all faiths worldwide.
Ironically, Sister Pat taught me to have faith. Not in God, but in people. Because there are people out there who are just amazing through and through. Who do good everyday for all the right reasons. And for me, that's even more impressive than an all-powerful being.
There's a new term being bandied about, and it's high time we paid heed: integral ecology. Whenever the same notion arises synchronously in a number of different contexts -- in this case the Catholic Church, the Occupy movement, the climate movement, and the new-economy movement -- it's an idea whose time has arrived.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, a moderate on most issues, has described the Irish vote as a "reality check." It is certainly that.
Like so many, I am mourning the loss of actress, comedian and writer, Anne Meara. Partnered in every sense of the word with Jerry Stiller, her husband of 61 years, she brought smiles to all of us, but there was so much more to her career than many of us appreciated.
So predictable are the Pope's critics on the Right that we seldom engage in sighting them or commenting on them in Sightings. But never to notice them does a disservice to those who would like a full accounting of the Pope-in-public, the Pontiff-in-the media, etc.
As a Catholic, I am proud of my Church for finally recognizing this man of God who lived his faith. As a politician, I continue to be inspired by Romero's example -- his total commitment to the poor and his unwavering commitment to the dignity of every human being.
Poland has one of the stricter laws on abortion in Europe. Abortion is illegal except if the life of the mother is at risk, the fetus has a major defect or the pregnancy is the result of a confirmed rape.
I saw you enter the Sunday morning service recently at a Manhattan parish. You were a few moments late and sat down as the congregation began to sing the Gloria. I watched carefully and wondered if you were real. Had a married gay couple really come to worship at a Roman Catholic Church?