Regardless of record-breaking attendance, that the first Latin American pope made his maiden international trip to Brazil, home to the largest, but rapidly declining Catholic population on earth, is in itself of monumental significance.
In his visit to the favela, speaking to the poor, the pope also used some words dear to me--"social justice," "solidarity," "inequalities"--that I believe are at the heart of what we need to be thinking about as Christians in the modern world.
During Jesus' earthly ministry, what troubled him most about what he saw? To listen to the religious right, you'd think it was loose sexual mores. But would this really be Jesus' emphasis?
It is inconceivable to me that we as a church are unwilling to connect the dots between the church's teaching on homosexuality and the way it's being implemented by members of the hierarchy and the harm it is causing to our LGBT youth.
It's been four years since The Cove -- and 20 years since Free Willy. And yet, as the upsetting new documentary, Blackfish, shows, man's inhumanity to mammals continues unabated -- as commercialized and heartless as ever, even when it includes collateral damage.
Classical artworks washed out all traces of Judaism in the personae of Jesus, his family, and followers -- despite the fact that they were all dedicated practicing Jews throughout their lives.
The increase in rates on federal student loans will not only impact students -- members of the Catholic Church fear this will also affect faith. Graduates with large amounts of debt will now be less likely to pursue priesthood and will contribute to a significant shortage of priests in the U.S.
It is difficult to stereotype. Individual congregations, not denominations, ultimately decide how they will respond to gay and lesbian worshippers.
Francis must take a different approach than his predecessor, and must meet openly and publicly with the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. Francis must not allow the whims and demands China, notorious for its abuses of religious freedom, dictate the statements and choices of the papal office.
Huelskamp is going to continue to try and block same-sex marriages by amending the U.S. Constitution and introducing the Federal Marriage Amendment. Here's the most laughable part: Congressman Huelskamp's home state of Kansas isn't even backing him.
Robert Spencer's scheduled appearance casts a negative light on what should be a positive event. Is this the type of person with whom the Kolbe Academy and Catholic homeschoolers in California want to be associated?
Evangelicals can crank up the fire and brimstone all they want, but it's not going to work. Young people know lesbians and gays. They know that the anti-gay propaganda videos are biblical baloney, they know that "gay cures" are bunk and they know that LGBT people are just like them, differing only in sexual orientation.
The arguments the archdiocese made in its attempt to keep the case out of court are a distressing example of the larger trend in "religious freedom" claims being made to deprive employees of the protections of the law.
In pursuing the truth about the Vatican's response to child abuse committed by priests, the United Nations has the opportunity to hold the Holy See accountable to the standards accepted by all the signatories.
It is way past time for the Church to let go of its own collective ego and get real with life and faith and the big issues of our time.
How would it change the way we talk to each other, if we took the Resurrection seriously, not just as a promise to be fulfilled in some distant future, but in the way we live here and now, as we make our way into the Kingdom of God?