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Thomas Worcester
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Thomas Worcester is a Jesuit priest, and a Professor of History at the College of the Holy Cross, in Massachusetts. He is a specialist in the religious and cultural history of early modern France and Italy. Worcester is the author of Seventeenth-Century Cultural Discourse: France and the Preaching of Bishop Camus (Mouton de Gruyter, 1997). He has published articles in journals such as Seventeenth-Century French Studies, Sixteenth Century Journal, and French Colonial History. Editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits (Cambridge University Press, 2008), he is also co-editor of four books, including, most recently, The Papacy since 1500: From Italian Prince to Universal Pastor with James Corkery (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Entries by Thomas Worcester

Thank You, Pope Francis

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 5:34 PM

Thank You, Pope Francis

House Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation just one day after what is obviously a great triumph and source of pride for him: welcoming the Pope to the U.S. Capitol. Most commentators on Boehner's resignation have focused on his difficulties in managing the in-fighting among House...

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Pope Francis on Care for Our Common Home

(1) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 4:48 PM

Even before Pope Francis published an encyclical on environmental degradation negative reactions were already multiplying. Certain US commentators did not remain silent and attentive long enough to actually read and digest and reflect upon what the bishop of Rome had to say. Reception since the 18 June publication of Laudato...

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Pope Francis, Two Years On

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 2:00 PM

Pope Francis, Two Years On

On March 13, 2013, the election of Jorge Bergoglio, S.J. as pope was greeted with a frenzy of expectations that has become somewhat calmer over the past two years, but only somewhat, and with ample possibilities for renewed frenzy. Pope Francis enkindles many hopes, hopes...

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Why Blessed Paul VI?

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2014 | 5:49 PM

Bishop of Rome from 1963 to his death in 1978, Paul VI is now Blessed Paul VI. But why would Pope Francis have thought it significant to beatify this pope, so soon after canonizing John XXIII and John Paul II? Were there not enough beatified or canonized popes already, or...

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Standing With Pope Francis for Human Life and Dignity

(4) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 5:28 PM

Though some American Catholics imagine that being 'pro-life' means, and only means, being anti-abortion, such a use of the term distorts and misrepresents what it means for the Catholic Church.

In making economic justice and a more equal distribution of the world resources second to none in his priorities,...

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Saint John XXIII

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2014 | 7:24 PM

On Sunday April 27 Pope Francis will formally declare that Pope John XXIII is a saint. It is now more than fifty years after Pope John's death (1963); his reputation for holiness has stood the test of time in a way that cannot yet be said for Pope John Paul...

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Pope Francis and Doctrinal Development

(1) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 11:14 AM

pope francis

Since his election last March, Pope Francis has intrigued many progressive Catholics, hoping that a decades-long winter is at last coming to an end, and he has worried some conservative Catholics, anxious of change, that come to a Church they believe is an...

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What Role Models for Pope Francis?

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 2:52 PM

October 4 is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the much-beloved saint whose name Cardinal Bergoglio adopted upon his election as pope last March. It may be worth considering how the life of St. Francis (1182-1226) has been evident thus far in the papacy of Pope Francis, and...

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One Hundred Days of Pope Francis

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 2:57 PM

Since his election on March 13, Pope Francis has captivated the imaginations and enkindled the hopes of many millions of Catholics and others throughout the world. His joyful spontaneity, his pastoral zeal for people, and his passionate defense of the poor against dehumanization and enslavement by capitalism, have helped to...

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Is a Jesuit Pope an Oxymoron?

(11) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 2:52 PM

In the summer of 1978, recently graduated from Columbia, I happily travelled around Europe on a rail pass before beginning a master's at Harvard Divinity School. Pope Paul VI died in early August that year, and as it happened I was in Rome when the conclave met to elect his...

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Benedict and Beyond: What's in a Papal Name

(0) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 12:22 PM

When the successor to Benedict XVI is announced, much commentary will follow about the nationality, age and biography of the person selected to be the next bishop of Rome. This verbal flood will be offered in the hope of accurately anticipating what the new pontificate will be like. But the...

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Gun Culture Versus Human Life and Dignity

(14) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 4:36 PM

The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade has now passed, and those that continue to argue for overturning the Supreme Court Decision that made abortion legal continue to be proud to call themselves pro-life. But does it make any sense for this term to be reserved exclusively for opposition to...

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What Would St. Vincent de Paul Do?

(30) Comments | Posted September 27, 2012 | 6:05 PM

In the midst of a bitterly fought election campaign, on issues such as wealth and poverty and "entitlement" reform, American Catholics and other Christians may wonder where to turn for guidance. One outstanding guide is Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), a saint whose feast day is Sept. 27. French priest, outspoken...

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St. Benedict vs. Rugged Individualism

(42) Comments | Posted July 11, 2012 | 8:49 AM

July 11 marks the feast of St. Benedict in the Catholic Church's calendar. Benedict (ca. 480-550) may at first glance seem quite remote, at least as compared with heroes of July 4th and American independence such as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. For Benedict not only lived a millennium and...

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Lent vs. Greed

(7) Comments | Posted February 28, 2012 | 11:20 AM

For Catholics and many other Christians, the season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday, with ashes that symbolize human mortality. Lent is a time of repentance for sin and of preparation for an intense remembering, at Easter, of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Jesus who is remembered...

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Vermont: Green Mountain Conversion

(8) Comments | Posted December 2, 2011 | 10:05 PM

In 1936 Vermont was one of only two states not to give its electoral votes to Franklin Roosevelt. Despite the Depression, a majority of Vermonters refused to give up a culture of individualism, self-reliance and small government; the majority remained very hostile to the New Deal even as it helped...

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Rich and Poor, From St. Luke to Warren Buffett

(7) Comments | Posted October 18, 2011 | 9:00 AM

In the Catholic Church's calendar, All Saints Day, Nov. 1, is coming soon, a day when we remember all the holy ones, those officially recognized or canonized and those not. They are models of Christian discipleship, exemplars of virtue and of justice and of charity, they are those we believe...

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Do Good Leaders Abound in the Catholic Church?

(36) Comments | Posted August 29, 2011 | 9:24 AM

Confusion of leadership and administration, as if they were synonyms, exacerbates a sense of crisis in the Catholic Church today. I believe that leadership has to do with excellence and with passionate and exemplary performance of a given role or task. Thus, leadership may be found in any profession or...

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What Future For Vatican II?

(79) Comments | Posted June 30, 2011 | 12:13 PM

In the United States the year 2011 marks at least two major public anniversaries, both of them recalling painful examples of the role of violence in the nation's history: the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War, and the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Such...

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From Prince To Pastor: How the Papacy Has Changed

(44) Comments | Posted November 30, 2010 | 8:08 PM

Times are indeed changing, even for popes. Maybe especially for popes. A new book, The Papacy since 1500: From Italian Prince to Universal Pastor, explores how the papacy has changed greatly, and repeatedly, during the past 500 years through forces largely beyond its control.

This book's essays focus on select,...

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