Demythologizing Papal Conclaves

Pope Francis’s recent announcement that he will create 21 new cardinals on August 27, 16 of whom would vote in a conclave held after that date, set off the usual flurry of speculations about the shape of the next papal election. Much of that crystal ball-gazing was less than useful, based as it was on numerous myths about conclaves.

Summer Reading on Ukraine: A Primer

Given the rubbish about Ukraine spewed out by Russian trolls and regurgitated by foolish or ideologically besotted Americans, this year’s annual Summer Reading List will focus on serious books that explain the background, including the religious dimension, of a conflict that will shape Europe’s future — and ours.

Ike’s Fly-casting Just Before D-Day

With a gracious assist from former Kansas governor Sam Brownback, I had the privilege of a personal tour of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Museum in Abilene this past March.

Cardinal Zen And Jimmy Lai

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 is the seed of the Church.”

New Patron Saint For Catholic News

As of May 15, Catholic journalists around the world will be able to count one of their number among the saints, as Titus Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite killed at the Dachau concentration camp in 1942, is canonized in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope & the Moscow Patriarch

Pope Francis is undoubtedly grieved by the carnage in Ukraine. And when the Catholic Church’s chief ecumenical officer, Cardinal Kurt Koch, tells journalists he shares the papal conviction that religious justifications of aggression are “blasphemy” — a wicked use of the things of God — we may be sure that this, too, is Francis’s view of things.

The Fraternal Correction

In the golden age of the Catholic episcopate — the days of great Church Fathers like Cyprian of Carthage and Augustine of Hippo in the early and mid-first millennium — bishops were not infrequently in contact with each other, encouraging, consulting, and, when necessary, correcting.

A Wartime Meditation

In both the Roman and Byzantine liturgical calendars, Lent 2022 has coincided with a brutal war in Ukraine. That war was launched by Russia’s Vladimir Putin for an ignoble, imperial cause.

Salem and the Smoke of Satan

On May 13, 1982, Pope John Paul II flew to Portugal on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving for his life having been spared the year before

Is There Ever A ‘Just War’?

Every war is a defeat for humanity, because men and women endowed with reason should be able to resolve their differences without mass violence.