Mary is model of faith, charity, union with Christ, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Seeing Mary as a model of faith teaches Christians that total dedication to Jesus does not take them away from real life, because faith is lived through the chores and cares of everyday existence, Pope Francis said.

To understand God, get down on your knees, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God’s love and the salvation offered in Jesus cannot be understood using intelligence alone and, in fact, trying to make it all reasonable can make one crazy, Pope Francis said. “When intelligence tries to explain a mystery, it always — always — becomes crazy,” the pope said Oct. 22 in the […]

Doctrine of infallibility; woman’s blog on scriptural readings

Q. What is the church's foundation for declaring itself to be infallible when the pope speaks "ex cathedra" and with the entire magisterium supporting him? I understand that the church made this declaration around 1870 A.D., and it seems a little curious to arrive at that conclusion nearly 2,000 years after the life of Christ. How many teachings on faith and morals have been declared infallible, and what are some of them? And if something has not been defined as infallible, are we free to question and discuss? (Hudson, Wis.) Q. Is there anything wrong with a woman writing a reflection on the readings for the Mass each day on her own personal blog? I am the volunteer coordinator for Catholic ministry at a local women's prison and teach an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) class for those inquiring into the faith. I believe that I know the basics of our faith very well, and I am loyal to the magisterium of the church. I know that only ordained clergy can give a homily in the context of a Mass, but does what I am doing violate any rules? (Indianapolis)

Heartfelt prayer keeps faith from becoming ideology, pope says at Mass

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Christianity becomes an ideology rather than a faith based on a relationship with God, its followers become proud and rigid, Pope Francis said. When Christianity becomes an ideology, “Jesus isn’t there, nor is his tenderness, love and meekness. And ideologies are always rigid, always,” the pope said Oct. 17 in […]

Live the faith, share it, teach it, pope tells evangelization council

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Evangelization requires people who joyfully and lovingly live their faith, are not afraid to go out to share it and know how to transmit to others the essential teachings of the church, Pope Francis said. The world needs “the oxygen of the Gospel, the breath of the spirit of the risen […]

Faith, harmony, universality make church ‘catholic,’ pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Professing that the church is “catholic” means accepting its teachings, accepting the gifts it offers to help one grow in holiness and accepting the fact that it is composed of different people with different gifts and opinions, Pope Francis said. “Let’s ask ourselves: Do we live in harmony in our communities? […]

Organ donation is OK, as is gratitude for former Episcopal priests

Q. Isn't organ donation murder? Just because you are brain dead doesn't make your whole body dead, especially if your heart and lungs are still functioning. Doctors try to keep a patient alive until the last organ is "harvested," which I think is wrong; they can't even guarantee that the patient won't experience pain during the process. (Stanley, Wis.) Q. I just read a story in our Catholic paper about an Episcopal priest who became a Catholic and was allowed to become a Catholic priest. The man has a wife and three children. But single men who enter a Catholic seminary are not allowed to marry. How is that fair? Why should an exception be made for someone who converted? (Baton Rouge, La.)

Who are the pope’s favorite saints?

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Who are the holy men and women Pope Francis looks up to? He revealed many of them in two recently published interviews. While a top-eight list does emerge from the interviews, the pope rejected one interviewer’s attempts at giving them a ranking. “Rankings are for sports or things like that. I […]

Not ‘only of the pure,’ Church welcomes sinners, Pope Francis says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- If the church excluded sinners, it would pretty much be empty, Pope Francis told thousands of people gathered for his weekly general audience. In the history of the church, "some have been tempted to say that the church is the church only of the pure" and that others should be shunned, he said Oct. 2. "This isn't true. This is a heresy."

Pope: Signs of God in church are peace, joy, not flawless efficiency

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The day before Pope Francis was set to meet with a select group of cardinals to discuss reforming the governance of the Roman Curia, the pope said the signs of God’s presence in the church are peace and joy, and not necessarily a perfectly efficient, flawless operation. “The disciples wanted efficiency, […]