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By Stephen Stahley | March 12, 2014
1969 was a year I well remember - it was my first year in a seminary in Virginia. I was beginning my journey to the priesthood with an American religious order, the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity. Nine years later, I was ordained a priest in Silver Spring, Md. That same year, a Catholic seminarian in Argentina was ordained a Jesuit Priest. His name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio. While it seems impossible, forty-five years have passed. Father Bergoglio is now Pope Francis, and approaching his one year anniversary in the post, and I am a husband, a father and a professional in the field of mental health.
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NEWS
By William E. Lori | October 12, 2014
Last Monday, the extraordinary Synod of Bishops to discuss the "Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization" began in Rome. The synod represents a key moment in the papacy of Pope Francis and in the life of the Roman Catholic Church, which is looking for more effective ways of communicating what it believes and teaches about marriage and family life and of supporting those who wish to live according to church teaching and are struggling to do so in the face of contemporary challenges.
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NEWS
March 19, 2013
I was delighted to read that the new pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals ("Pope Francis' calling," March 15). Both Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day Oct. 4. On one of his walks through nature, Francis reportedly preached to the birds, and he is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local town folk.
NEWS
By William E. Lori | August 17, 2014
Sectarian violence in Iraq has worsened dramatically in recent days, especially for Christians in the war-torn nation, prompting Pope Francis to appoint an envoy to meet with religious and government leaders in Iraq as well as with those Christians who have been forced from their homes in fear. "The news reports coming from Iraq leave us in dismay and disbelief: thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in brutal manner; children dying of thirst and hunger in their flight; women taken and carried off; violence of every kind; destruction of historical, cultural and religious patrimonies," the pope said.
NEWS
January 6, 2014
I very much admired Susan Reimer 's recent column on what Pope Francis means to lapsed Catholics ( "A pope for the unfaithful," Jan. 2). I too fell away from the Catholic Church for a time. I did return, due to my mother's constant reminders of what leaving meant. And upon returning I resolved to attend for a much different reason than all the beliefs instilled in me growing up. I went just for me. I listened to the father's sermons and just yearned for peace to guide me through the week.
NEWS
By David Horsey | March 19, 2013
For the first time in history, the Roman Catholic Church has a pope from the New World, but liberal American Catholics should not expect Pope Francis to stray far from the old theology. Some things are excitingly different about this new pontiff. On matters of birth control, abortion, homosexuality, celibate priests and the role of women in the church, however, he is no revolutionary. When Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio stepped out on the Vatican balcony as the new pope on Wednesday evening, all he was required to do was wave and give a blessing.
NEWS
By Tom Kington and Henry Chu and The Los Angeles Times | September 19, 2013
ROME - In an extraordinary, wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis expressed frustration that the Catholic Church is “obsessed” with issues such as abortion, homosexuality and contraception, and called instead for a focus on healing and mercy. “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” Francis said in the interview published Thursday by an Italian Jesuit magazine. “The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.” The 12,000-word interview, which lighted up social media and jolted Catholic commentators worldwide, buttressed impressions that the new pope is far less interested in reinforcing orthodoxy and dogma than his immediate predecessors were, and that he sees his role as essentially pastoral.
NEWS
By Jesse Jackson | December 22, 2013
Pope Francis is displaying an extraordinary style and passion that demands our attention. He addresses the needs of the poor, embraces outcasts, and loves those on the margins of society. In this recent "apostolic exhortation," The Joy of the Gospel, the pope raises a moral challenge to both his church and the world. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Francis calls upon people of faith to "go forth" to preach and practice their faith. "I prefer a church," he writes, "which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy for being confined and from clinging to its own security.
NEWS
March 14, 2013
Newly elected Pope Francis represents change in many respects. He is the first pope from the New World (and the first from outside of Europe in 1,200 years), the first Jesuit and the first Francis. But for American Catholics, who in poll after poll in recent weeks have expressed disagreement with the church's stances on the ordination of women or the requirement of celibacy for priests, he may seem like more of the same. Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, is a doctrinaire conservative in those matters, as were Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II before him. Given the views of the College of Cardinals - all of whom were appointed by John Paul or Benedict - it could hardly have been otherwise.
NEWS
By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun | March 17, 2013
Three deer scurried past the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen as Steve Thomas and his wife, Debbie, arrived for Sunday Mass to celebrate the new spiritual leader for Roman Catholics worldwide, Pope Francis. The symbolism struck the Arbutus man, who said the recently elected pontiff sent a message to the faithful in his choice to take the name of the 12th century saint Francis of Assisi, known for his love of animals and for embracing a life of poverty. "We need to get back to basics," said Thomas, master of the Maryland district for the Knights of Columbus.
NEWS
By Robert G. Newman | August 8, 2014
On June 21, the Vatican press office published the presentation made by Pope Francis to the 31st International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in Rome. The pope told the conferees, "The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs! … Substitute drugs are not an adequate therapy, but rather a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon. " These comments represent an unfortunate, categorical rejection of "maintenance" treatment of opioid addiction with medications such as methadone.
NEWS
July 18, 2014
From Denver, Colo., I pause in shame at the unkind and un-Christian words and deeds of my fellow Americans ("Carroll's revealing 'illeagle' graffiti," July 15). Who among us is not from some other country, some other ethnicity? Pope Francis recently said it well: "These children should be welcomed and protected!" The partisan political threats are embarrassing and immature. We are a finer nation than these sentiments portray. Jean McMahon - To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com . Please include your name and contact information.
NEWS
May 15, 2014
It seemed that Pope Francis was open to new ideas with a passion for helping to understand and alleviate the problems of poverty, violence and abuse. It is very disappointing to read that he is looking at Satan as the reason for mental illness and possibly other issues facing all of us ("Pope targets ancient nemesis: Satan," May 14). God gave us brains. I think he wants us to use them to find methods for making sense of the world other than sweeping it all under the carpet of evil, which exonerates us from accepting responsibility for our own failings.
NEWS
April 21, 2014
According to the Roman Missal of the Catholic Church, the Holy Thursday ceremony of the washing of the feet may include only "viri selecti" - selected men. That is why Pope Francis raised ecclesiastical eyebrows when he continued his practice of washing the feet not only of men but also of women and non-Catholics during his visit to the Don Gnocchi center for the elderly in Rome. We need to fear no such deviation from the legal norm in Baltimore, however. Archbishop William E. Lori presided over the ceremony on Holy Thursday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen and adhered to the letter of the law by washing the feet of men only.
NEWS
By Jean Marbella, The Baltimore Sun | March 27, 2014
The call came to Baltimore's Basilica several weeks ago: President Barack Obama needed a gift to bring to Pope Francis on his coming visit to the Vatican. Might the basilica, the first Catholic cathedral in the U.S., have something? From a former crypt, now a storage room, in the bowels of the basilica, church officials did indeed have just the thing, or at least the raw material for it: some salvaged mahogany from the historic cathedral's early years, hand-crafted into a seed chest that the president presented to the pope Wednesday.
NEWS
By Stephen Stahley | March 12, 2014
1969 was a year I well remember - it was my first year in a seminary in Virginia. I was beginning my journey to the priesthood with an American religious order, the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity. Nine years later, I was ordained a priest in Silver Spring, Md. That same year, a Catholic seminarian in Argentina was ordained a Jesuit Priest. His name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio. While it seems impossible, forty-five years have passed. Father Bergoglio is now Pope Francis, and approaching his one year anniversary in the post, and I am a husband, a father and a professional in the field of mental health.
FEATURES
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | July 29, 2013
Pope Francis surprised the Catholic faithful Monday by saying the Roman Catholic Church shouldn't marginalize gay priests, saying: "Who am I to judge?" The comments followed one of the largest papal Masses in recent history over the weekend, when the pope told an estimated 3 million people on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro to spread the Gospel to "the fringes of society. " The newly appointed leader of the Roman Catholic Church then took to his papal airplane, where he told a group of reporters on the long flight back to Rome that gay Catholic priests "should not be marginalized" in the church.
FEATURES
By Michael Gold, The Baltimore Sun | December 11, 2013
Knocking down the barrier preventing federally-recognized same-sex marriages just doesn't have the same punch it used to. Edith Windsor, the 84-year-old woman whose legal fight ended with the Supreme Court declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, took the number three spot in Time magazine's annual Person of the Year contest . The top Person of the Year honors went to Pope Francis , the first non-European leader of...
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | March 4, 2014
Given all the excitement his papacy has generated, the approach of the first full Lenten season under Pope Francis resonates particularly with Catholics - even fallen-off Catholics - who prefer to see faith as social activism and not as Sunday pageant. Since he became pope last March, Francis has repeatedly called for a church of service and justice, and not one that is insular and obsessed with doctrine. His calling out of corrupt financial systems that foster economic disparity has been ringing bells around the world, and not only among Catholics.
NEWS
February 7, 2014
The United Nations has decried the Vatican for not being transparent about the sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals over the past few decades ("UN panels urges Vatican to turn over sex abusers to authorities," Feb. 5). Moreover, the United Nations holds Pope Francis to be accountable, in a manner of speaking. The Vatican has a centuries-old twisted, cloudy and convoluted past. Pertinent information from the Vatican and the Roman Catholics around the world must be shared in order for the church to move forward.
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