Catholic and Vatican Affairs

John Paul and Francis at Yad Vashem

As that familiar parody of bad fiction has it, “it was a dark and stormy night”—March 21, 2000, to be precise—when I made my way from the Jerusalem Hilton to

Humanae Vitae: What if?

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna has long been a vocal supporter of Humanae Vitae’s teaching on the morally appropriate means of family planning. So it was noteworthy that Cardinal Caffarra recently

The First Human Right

Extensive Catholic use of the language of “human rights” begins with Pope St. John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical, Pacem in Terris, but it was Pope St. John Paul II (happily canonized with

POTUS and the Pope

After two months of sometimes-fevered speculation about what-they-would-discuss, the March 27 meeting between Pope Francis and President Obama produced little in the way of hard news. It did, however, generate

When Obama Meets Francis

A week before the White House announcement that President Obama would meet Pope Francis at the Vatican during a presidential trip to Europe in late March, Secretary of State John

Pope Francis’s First Year

Looking a bit uncomfortable in the spotlights, Jorge Mario Bergoglio came out on the central loggia of the Vatican basilica on the evening of March 13, 2013, and introduced himself

Beyond the Papal States

When the Holy See signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, a friend knowledgeable in legal matters said, with considerable vehemence, that the Convention was

American and Catholic

In the fall of 1970, when I was a college sophomore, the first article assigned in one of my courses was titled “What Is Theology’s Standpoint?” The author argued that

The John Paul II Difference in 1989

Twenty-five years ago, on Jan. 27, 1989, a joint statement from the communist government of Poland, the Solidarity trade union, and the Catholic Church announced a national “Roundtable” to discuss

What Popes Can and Can’t Do

A good friend habitually refers to the Wall Street Journal as his “favorite Catholic newspaper”—a bit of whimsy not without foundation, given the openness of theJournal’s op-ed pages to serious Catholic argument

Four Myths about Pope Francis

When he was elected bishop of Rome this past March 13, more than a few people wondered just who Jorge Mario Bergoglio was — which was precisely the reaction to

Pope Francis the Revolutionary

The first nine months of the pontificate of Pope Francis have often resembled a gigantic Rorschach test in which various commentators inside and outside the Catholic Church have “seen” their

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