Catholic and Vatican Affairs

Why Vatican II Was Necessary

Writing my new book, To Sanctify the World: The Vital Legacy of Vatican II (Basic Books), afforded me the welcome opportunity to dig into the Council’s sixteen texts and the many fine

An Open Letter to the Synod General Secretary

His Eminence, Mario Cardinal GrechGeneral SecretarySynod of Bishops00120 Vatican City Your Eminence: The “National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Diocesan Phase

Evangelization: What and When?

At the “information meeting” of the College of Cardinals this past August 29–30, there was considerable agreement that evangelization is Catholicism’s prime imperative for the twenty-first century—a consensus understandably gratifying

Finding the Bishops We Need

There was considerable excitement in some quarters this summer when Pope Francis appointed three women as members of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Bishops, which makes recommendations to the pope for

“Matthew 25 Catholics”?

Barring a startling lurch to starboard in the Empire State, Kathy Hochul, who as lieutenant governor succeeded the unlamented Andrew Cuomo on his political demise, will be chosen governor of

Another Assault on John Paul II

On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II had lunch in the papal apartment with Dr. Jerome Lejeune, the renowned French pediatrician and geneticist who identified the chromosomal abnormality that

The War of the Conciliar Succession, Continued

While I’ve never been able to remember the details of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) and the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748), I’ve riffed on those monikers

Demythologizing Conclaves

Pope Francis’s recent announcement that he will create twenty-one new cardinals on August 27, sixteen of whom would vote in a conclave held after that date, set off the usual

The Cardinal and Jimmy

Tertullian, the first major Christian theologian to write in Latin, is thought to have coined the maxim Semen est sanguis Christianorum, typically (and rather freely) translated as “the blood of martyrs

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