catholics

Pope Francis Defends Migrants in His Christmas Day Message

Philip Pullell

Francis, who has been scorned by populist politicians because of his defense of refugees and migrants, dedicated a section of his address to their plight. “It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind, and torture in inhumane detention camps,” Francis said. This month, Francis called for the closing of migrant detention camps in Libya.

How Pope Francis Forged an Unusual Path in the Church

Laura Storch

There seemed to be two main reactions when news broke that Pope Francis invited the dubbed Godmother of Punk, Patti Smith, to perform at the Vatican's Christmas Party. The first was a collective, "Who?" from those unfamiliar with the poet-singer. Those who are familiar with her seemed to be a bit puzzled as well but for different reasons. The first line many people heard Patti Smith sing came from her first LP, Horses, released in 1975. The opening track is a cover of Van Morrison's hit "Gloria." An eerie and gentle piano begins to play as Patti Smith calmly but defiantly utters "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." 

Pope Francis’ Gentle Revolution

Angelo Franco

Even with the incredible speed in which he has managed to shake believers and skeptics alike, Francis has generally observed an equally orthodox attitude towards Catholic teachings, albeit with a somewhat more broadmindedness that borders on the reformist by the standards of the Church as we know it.  From a decisively focused stand on interreligious relations to controversial claims about contraception and homosexuality to political opinions about the Maldives, Francis both kindles and quenches hope with reverberating strength, which helps capture his image as a highly influential game-changer. 

Where Politics Meets Religion

Shefali S. Kulkarni

Last week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) conducted a mass along the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona. Standing in front of a 30-foot-high rusted gate that separates the US from Mexico, eight bishops, from El Paso to Atlanta, prayed in both Spanish and English. They faced a crowd of about 800 people on the American side. Behind them, on the Mexican side of the fence, a hundred or so people peeked through the slates.

How the Pope’s Resignation Will Affect Latin America’s 1 Billion Catholics

Mary Jo McConahay

Local bishops, not the pope, traditionally run church life and sometimes political life from Mexico to Argentina, but the reach of Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his retirement effective Feb. 28, has been unique. For decades, when Ratzinger’s shoe dropped, the tremor reverberated over Latin America, where half of the world’s 1 billion Catholics live. Amid speculation about who will be the next pope are suggestions that the time may have come for a Latin American prelate or someone from the global south. 

How Catholic Latinas Became the Ambassadors of Islam

Wendy Diaz

In a long black garment and gray headscarf, Morales sits in front of a computer entering notes and taking phone calls from the program’s hotline, 1-877-WhyIslam, a resource for individuals hoping to learn more about the religion. A Mexican immigrant and recent convert, Morales is the national Spanish-language outreach coordinator for the program, part of ICNA’s mission to disseminate information about Islam nationwide. But Morales’ efforts go beyond U.S. borders: the 37-year-old recently led a trip to bring Islamic literature, food and clothing to her native Mexico. 

African-American Catholics Face Dilemma: Whether to Vote for Obama

Angela Dodson

Black Catholics confront a moral dilemma in the upcoming presidential election: vote with their church or vote with the party that they have long preferred to keep the first African-American president in office four more years. While African-American Catholics are relatively few in number, they may represent enough of the black vote to make a difference in the outcome if they choose to bestow or withhold their support.

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