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March 15, 2013

The Catholic Answers staff was gathered in the small office library, lights dimmed, EWTN feed from St. Peter’s Square projected onto the blank wall. We did our best to break up the nervous wait with jokes and chatter, and with last-minute predictions and side bets. Then, finally, the balcony curtains opened and we all cheered as Cardinal Tauran stepped out to confirm what the smoke and bells had already announced: We had a pope.

Then a hush. We strained through our meager Latin to...

March 15, 2013

Nothing’s better than when an enemy begrudgingly admits that while he hates your cause, he admires the character of those who represent it.  In the first centuries of the Church, persecution was the norm and bloody campaigns led by Roman emperors such as Nero or Domitian sent many Christians to painful deaths.

I really enjoy reading early Christian history because it always challenges me to be holy in the face of obstacles to our faith. Even the enemies of the early church couldn’t...

March 14, 2013

If you're like me, one of the first things you did after hearing the news of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio being elected pope was start scouring the internet for any of his writings in English.

Below is his Lentern letter for this year: 

And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. (Joel 2:13)

Little by little we become accustomed to...

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...

March 14, 2013

Like most of you, I knew nothing of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio until yesterday. Yet shortly after learning the name of the man we now call Pope Francis, I found myself in an arm wrestle with Patrick Coffin over whether his last name was pronounced “Bear-GO-lee-yo” (as the Italians would say) or (Bear-GO-glee-oh), as Patrick insisted South Americans would say.

Now, just what a Canadian like Patrick knows about the Latin American pronunciation of a first-generation Italian surname is...