20 results
March 14, 2013

In 2005, I was in a colleague's office when another colleague came running down the hall, breathlessly announcing, "There's white smoke!" I ran for a radio in my office, but an announcement came over the intercom. "We're gathering in the conference room!" Table and chairs were shoved aside, people stood or sat on the floor, all eyes were glued to a tiny TV set that had very poor reception. 

When "Josephum" was announced as the new pope's first name, I sucked in my breath. At the word...

February 27, 2013

The last few weeks have been quite eventful for us Catholics. Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing that he would be stepping down as head of the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church.

His decision has thrust the papacy and Catholicism in general into the cultural spotlight and has provoked the ire of many Fundamentalists, who have long been scandalized by the adulation Catholics pay to the man we call "Holy Father."

The recent images of massive throngs of...

February 22, 2013

Around the time Pope Benedict XVI released Summorum Pontificum, which expanded the use of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite of the Mass, I attended a Catholic conference at the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine in Florissant, Missouri. The shrine boasted a lovely pre-Vatican II altar that inspired a...

February 19, 2013

The world's media have a habit of seeing papal elections through the lens of secular politics. It's understandable to a degree, but how many reporters have noticed that so few of the much ballyhooed "front runners" or "papabile" candidates have ever actually been elected pope? Modern exceptions to this might be Giovanni Montini (Paul VI) and Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). But the Vaticanologist maxim "He who enters the conclave with a white hat emerges with a red one" usually carries the...

February 16, 2013

As the clock strikes 8 p.m. on February 28, 2013, Rome time, the Chair of Peter will no longer be occupied by a successor of Peter. The sedecavantist movement may say, "Like we've been saying all along." 

Many unanswered questions linger, such as what will Benedict XVI's proper title will be. (The leading theory is that he'll continue to be called Your Holiness in the way...