As a gay man and an Episcopal priest, I'm frankly extremely confused by the Vatican when it comes to the entire gay question. Am I loved by anybody there?
We are all waiting to see how the new pope, who opposed liberation theology and yet champions the poor and oppressed so vigorously, will speak on political issues when faced with them.
This story, one which has largely been overlooked in all current reporting, stretches back well into the past. Indeed, we need to reach back 737 years, to 1276, for the events in question.
Why did Pope Francis, as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, rail against gays in such a bigoted way after he was unsuccessful in getting support for civil unions in Argentina? Because one doesn't become pope by doing otherwise.
There used to be many of these schools, and now there are almost none. This is a trend that mirrors the overall decline in the number of priests in the United States.
Through his historic and humble decision, Pope Emeritus Benedict makes it clear that in life there is a purpose higher than being one of the most powerful people in the world, and that purpose is becoming one with the self and with God.
In accepting the papacy, Pope Francis now is shrouded in the protection of the church's political vestments. As representatives of an interreligious university, we trust that Pope Francis will wisely recognize the transparency of his new clothes and hew to the naked simplicity of his namesake's example.
If St. Francis' love for all of God's creation, animals, plants, rivers and mountains is alive and with us today, just like his ascetic mission of poverty, then so is his bold peacemaking with the Muslim world. This is a mission worthy of his name, and one can only hope that the current Pope Francis heeds this call.
A new tradition of CEOs stepping aside when they know that there are better equipped leaders for their companies would be a valuable contribution to capitalism. Sometimes -- as Pope Benedict reminded us -- the current CEO doesn't have a prayer.
Wounded by physical, psychological and spiritual assaults, they keep insisting that something is terribly wrong with an institution that pays millions in attorneys fee to keep secret its conspiracy to hide the facts and help clergy avoid prosecution.
I'm no theologian, but I have heard for a lifetime, from Catholic preachers and teachers of all stripes, that "the least" matter the most in the eyes of God.
Pope Benedict's resignation and the conclave that will convene to name his successor spark hope for a Catholic Spring that might bring the Vatican into the modern world.
Machiavelli plotted to obliterate "this swarm of scoundrels." Perhaps the current governing Cardinals are in conflict how to institutionally cope with two mortal sins, adultery and theft, both of which were cited by Benedict. The true believers of the Church deserve a pure slate.
Grasped in its fullness, Evangelical Catholicism invites Catholics (and indeed all who are interested in the Catholic Church) to move beyond the left/right surface arguments of past decade and learn a new way of looking at the recent Catholic past.
Even if my dire assessment were completely off base, it would take nothing short of a miracle to avert failure for the next pope and a crisis of faith for believers.
As the conclave gets underway I hope the Cardinals understand it is time for moral, compassionate and truly healing leadership at the Vatican. There is no better time than now.