1. Upholding church doctrine and affirming it as true, in the style of conservative Catholics, is one thing. Fighting to change church doctrine, as my perhaps imaginary liberal Catholic reformers would want to do, is another. But treating doctrine as completely beside the point is something else entirely.
    — Damon Linker, in What do liberal Catholics want?
     


  2. A big clue into why Pope Francis was named Time's Person of the Year? This:

    Time’s Person of the Year is the perfect choice for the Upworthy era

     


  3. The mafia that invests, that launders money, that therefore has the real power, is the mafia which has got rich for years from its connivance with the church. These are the people who are getting nervous.
    — 

    Italian prosecutor Nicola Gratteri

    Is Pope Francis on the Mafia’s hit list?

     

  4. Higher church attendance; personal letters and phone calls; and a new #1 baby name in Italy.

    Call it: The “Francis Effect”

     


  5. $42 million
    — 

    Total amount that Catholic Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, a.k.a. the “Bishop of Bling,” spent on luxuries for his bishop’s residence, earning him a suspension from the church. 

    For example: $20,000 was spent on a single bathtub.

     


  6. A small, conservatively managed financial institution of the Catholic Church that serves those spreading the Word of God around the world.
    — 

    How The Vatican Bank, which made 86 million euros last year, describes itself.

    What’s on the Vatican Bank’s balance sheet?

     


  7. Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of his person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person.
     

  8. "There is something profound and endearing about someone elected (anointed?) to an incredibly powerful lifetime job deciding, with years still left, to walk away. That in and of itself is a powerful example to set for everyone."

    Marc Ambinder, on the resignation of the Pope

     

  9. On Monday, 43 Catholic organizations filed 12 federal lawsuits seeking to overturn the Obama administration’s recent mandate that most employer-provided health insurance cover birth control and sterilization. The biggest surprise was the participation of the University of Notre Dame, one of America’s top Catholic colleges. 

    What’s this mega-lawsuit about? Here, a brief guide:

    Who exactly is participating in the lawsuit?
    Along with Notre Dame, parties to the 12 suits include 13 dioceses — among them the archdioceses of New York, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis — Catholic University, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and several Catholic schools and local Catholic Charities branches. Notable groups sitting the suit out are the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which tells Commonweal that its “concerns are addressed in the lawsuits that were filed,” and the Catholic Health Association (CHA), which is still in negotiations with the Obama administration. 

    And what is the fight over?
    There are at least two issues that have the Catholic institutions up in arms. First: Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities will have to include copay-free birth control in their health insurance offerings, in violation of the church’s (widely ignored) ban on contraception. The U.S. Catholic bishops rejected the Obama compromise — insurance will pay for the birth control, not the institutions — because some groups self-insure, and the rest still have to “facilitate” activities they see as “intrinsically immoral.” The second issue is the Obama administration’s decision to treat Catholic institutions separately than parishes and dioceses, which are exempt from the mandate. 

    What do the plaintiffs want?
    The coordinated lawsuits ask federal courts to say that the contraception rules violate religious institutions’ First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion, as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But some of the universities and all of the dioceses are already exempt, says Grant Gallicho at Commonweal. Why “sue now over a mandate that won’t affect them and won’t go into effect for another 15 months”? Obviously, says Elizabeth Scalia at Patheos, “they understand that, ‘exempt’ or not, ‘accommodated’ or not, the government is fundamentally overstepping its bounds with this mandate.” This is about “religious freedom,” and “that matters. A whole lot.”

    Why file suit now?
    Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York says “time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now.” That’s “nonsense,” says Commonweal's Gallicho. The hospitals and charities and universities have until August 2013 — “why sue before exhausting all other options?” Sadly, it seems that “many bishops seem to want this fight,” says E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. It’s “looking more and more like a direct intervention in this fall’s elections,” with Obama being unfairly painted as “an enemy of religious freedom.”

    Why did Notre Dame join?
    The university’s president, Fr. John Jenkins, gave the same reasons as the other plaintiffs, minus “the vitriol and hyperbole,” says Michael Sean Winters at National Catholic Reporter. He insists this isn’t about contraception, which many faculty and students “have made conscientious decisions to use,” but about “the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission.” It’s also about deftly “playing political football,” says NCR's Ken Briggs. Jenkins is taking steps to “win the cheers of bishops who remain resentful of the university’s awarding of an honorary degree to President Obama in 2009.”

    Will this affect the presidential election?
    It certainly may be “a ‘come to Jesus’ moment for many Catholics,” and could even “cast Catholics off from the Democratic Party for a generation,” says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Not so fast, says Michael O’Brien at MSNBC. The latest Gallup poll has Romney and Obama tied among Catholics, each with 46 percent. Will Romney will try to use the contraception mandate to chip away at Obama’s Catholic supporters? Yes, he’s already trying. But predicting the “Catholic vote” is “a fool’s errand.”

    (Source: theweek.com)

     


  10. "iSinned. iLied. iCoveted."

    Most iPhone apps are strictly secular creations, but in the case of “Confession: A Roman Catholic App,” sacred sanction was part of the approval process. Developer Patrick Leinen says he created the “confession helper” app, with help from some local priests, in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s call for the church to embrace new media. “Confession,” now officially approved by the Catholic Church in the U.S. and Britain, walks penitents through the ritual and stores their sins in password-protected accounts, but Catholics still need a priest’s absolution to complete the sacrament.

    Yes, “the Vatican has made major steps to embrace the 21st century,” says Megan Friedman in Time. “But will iPhone-toting Catholics access Confession as much as Angry Birds?”

    The app’s moniker, “Confession,” is at least “an improvement on the original name, ‘A Priest in Your Pocket,’” says Brian Moylan in Gawker.