Acts of the Apostles in The Modern World

The Church’s custom of reading virtually all of the Acts of the Apostles at daily Mass during the Easter season struck me as particularly apt this year, and for three reasons.

Nationality and Papacy

WITH HUNDREDS OF bishops coming to the Vatican in October 2001 for a Synod, I decided to spend that month in Rome conducting interviews for what would eventually become the sequel to “Witness to Hope” and the second volume of my John Paul II biography, “The End and the Beginning.”

Ireland Is Mission Territory Once Again

I WASN’T SURPRISED by the result of Ireland’s May 25 referendum, which opened a path to legal abortion in the Emerald Isle by striking down a pro-life amendment to the Irish Constitution.

Craving Approval Is Not Evangelizing

THE BIZARRE COMMENT and the weird gesture have not, until recently, been associated with high-ranking churchmen. Both, alas, were on vivid display last month when Cardinals Reinhard Marx and Gianfranco Ravasi had more than a few of us scratching our heads in wonderment.

Grace Under Pressure

A CHAPTER IN a remarkable American and Catholic life will close on June 6, when Abbot Thomas Frerking, O.S.B., concludes more than two decades of service as leader of the monastic community at St. Louis Abbey. His story deserves to be better known.

Justin Trudeau and the Dictatorship of Relativism

You’ve probably never heard of the Waupoos Family Farm. I hadn’t either, until I met folks involved in it during a recent visit to Ottawa. Their story vividly illustrates the dictatorship of relativism at work.

Freedom Is Never Free

WHEN I FIRST visited Lviv, the principal city of western Ukraine in 2002, the transportation from plane to airport terminal was an old bus towed by a Soviet-era tractor; today, the airport is a model of cleanliness and efficiency. In 2002, the Old Town was shabby and begrimed; today, it’s become a major tourist destination, and while there is still more clean-up to do, the charms of an old Habsburg city are beginning to reveal themselves. To sit in a downtown restaurant and speak with the city’s mayor about his plans for further development, it’s easy to forget that you’re in a country at war.

A Diverse College of Strangers

WITH THE EXCEPTION of the two consistories held by Pope John XXIII in 1958 and 1959, every creation of new cardinals since Pope Pius XII has decreased the percentage of Italian members of the College of Cardinals while internationalizing it. (John XXIII’s first consistory actually increased the Italian membership to 40 percent of an expanded college.) That pattern of internationalization, and if you will, de-Italianization has continued with Pope Francis and the college now includes members from 15 countries (such as Tonga, Laos, and Papua New Guinea) that have never given the Church a cardinal before.

Roe v. Wade Derangement Syndrome

THE DEFENSE OF the indefensible often leads to a kind of derangement in otherwise rational people. That was the case with the defenders of slavery and legalized racial segregation; it has become the case with abortion.

Patriarch Kirill and Mr. Putin

THE ANNALS OF sycophancy are, alas, replete with examples of churchmen toadying to political power. Here in the United States, we’ve seen too much of that among certain evangelical leaders recently. In today’s Sycophancy Sweepstakes, however, it’s hard to top Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.