Meet the New Catholicism, Same as the Old Catholicism

2013-09-21 Pope Francis

The Internet was all abuzz this week with news that Pope Francis had announced bold, sweeping changes to Catholic teachings on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. Except, of course, that he hadn’t. Even a little bit.

This is the second time that Pope Francis has issued statements that amount to basically restating fundamental Christian theology, and has been met with awestruck praise from the mainstream press for revolutionizing the Catholic faith. Don’t get me wrong: I’m pleased (even as a non-Catholic) that everyone seems to love the New Catholicism so much. I’m just scratching my head because it is actually the same as the Old Catholicism.

Of course that’s a bit of an exaggeration: Pope Francis’s tone is markedly different. But that doesn’t actually justify all the “did you hear what the Pope just said!?!?!” coverage that is coming out, because the secular press is just as incapable of understanding the New Catholicism as it was of understanding the Old Catholicism. It hated the one and loves the other, but it understands neither

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Forced Abortions Around the World

As a general rule when I’m talking about the abortion issue I’m talking about it primarily in America. And, within that context, I usually refer to those who want abortion to be kept legal as “pro-choice”. I use that term for three reasons. The first is that, in my experience, it is generally accurate. Most people who call themselves pro-choice are genuinely concerned with the welfare of women and with ensuring women have the power to determine their own destiny. The second reason is that I generally think it’s a good idea to let your political opponents describe their own positions, including naming it. And the last is that trying to advance alternative names (e.g. “pro-abortion”) ends up doing nothing but creating silly, endless debates about terminology that accomplish nothing. Usually: it’s a waste of time.

But, while most ordinary Americans are really pro-choice, the specter of forced abortions is a real human rights concern both here at home and also internationally. Here are three stories from three very different countries (the US, Ireland and China) that don’t attempt to be at all comprehensive, but just look at different impacts of forced abortion policies on women and society. 

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“Never Once Did I Have to Sacrifice My Intellect for My Faith”

2013-04-28 Atheist's Dilemma

A simple, beautiful recounting of one young woman’s journey from atheism to Catholicism. I loved it.

I also thought how it might be a really great thing for someone to come to Christianity after a life of atheism rather than the other way around. So often the folks who are raised in the faith have a hard time coming to grasp the value of what has always been right in front of them. Does a fish really understand what water is? Because someone wandering through a desert absolutely will.