Whether Church or State, Powerful Men Are Letting Us Down

OPINION — It is not a good time for those who want to believe — in their faith or in their government. No one expects any institution to be perfect, particularly those that are large and complicated. But why do so many have to be perfectly corrupt, spurring cynicism in those once so willing to give the benefit of the doubt?

American Catholics — in public and in transition

Ever notice how restaurants feature all manner of fish specials during Lent, even at fast-food spots known for burgers and chicken? It’s not just for health reasons. The Lenten season focuses curiosity and scrutiny on a faith that fascinates, even if you know it only from headlines — from sex-abuse scandals to a pope with rock-star status. The influence of one faith that claims 75 million followers in America seems most evident in a solemn season that began this week with Ash Wednesday, when those who span the spectrum of Roman Catholic devotion return to tradition to spend the day wearing a visible manifestation of religious belief.

But that nod to tradition belies a group of believers in transition. A Pew research study released Thursday shows that like many other institutions, questions about the church’s direction run deep. (The survey of 1,821 adults included 351 Catholics.) Would it be any other way in an American society that is changing?

The president and the pope: What will they talk about?

During President Obama’s upcoming European trip, he’ll be engaging in important diplomatic and political discussions, including the Nuclear Security Summit, hosted by the Dutch government, and a U.S.-EU Summit in Brussels. But perhaps most anticipated by observers of church and state — and where the two intersect — will be the president’s planned March 27 get together with Time’s Person of the Year, Pope Francis.

The message of Pope Francis can survive Rush and the rest

Did Pope Francis know what he was getting into when he spoke from his heart and from the heart of Roman Catholic doctrine?  At the very least, if the pontiff didn’t know who Rush Limbaugh was before, he sure does now.

Authentically black and Catholic – with something to say about Pope Francis

It was a funny though welcome text message, congratulating me on “my” new pope. From 3,000 miles away, my friend knows how much my Catholic faith means to me and wanted to share the good news. Though she was raised Baptist and doesn’t really practice any religion now, she understood. What did I think of Pope Francis? Wait and see, I told her. The church is wading through earthly and spiritual challenges, and this conservative pope likely won’t rock the theological boat. But I said I was impressed by his humility, his commitment to social justice and his Jesuit pedigree.

It felt good to be a part of the discussion during such an important transition, in a church that has not always been so welcoming to black Catholics.