Pope Francis ousted Cardinal Gerhard Müller as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body responsible for defining and defending Catholic doctrine. The pope declined to renew the cardinal’s five-year term, which ended Saturday.
.. Cardinal Müller, a conservative German prelate appointed to head the congregation by Pope Benedict XVI, has been conspicuously out of step with the pope’s liberalizing push, particularly on the issue of divorce. Pope Francis has replaced him with Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, 73, opting for a low-profile theologian with a record of doctrinal orthodoxy but little history of engagement in public debates.
.. But under Pope Francis, the congregation’s suggested emendations to some of the pope’s most significant writings, including a major statement on divorce, have been ignored. The pope has also personally fired a number of congregation staff members against the wishes of Cardinal Müller.
while visiting both Saudi Arabia and Israel is a welcome gesture, Richard Nixon tried the same thing in 1974, and nobody was distracted.
.. It’s true that during the campaign Trump suggested the Saudis were somehow involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, that they “push gays off buildings” and “kill women and treat women horribly.” On the other hand, he also told one rally that he got along “great with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”
Whatever else you complain about, give the man credit for flexibility.
.. Pope Francis, with whom Trump conducted a verbal war over wall-building. But that’s all over, and the president now clearly appreciates Francis as the great moral leader he is. (“I think he’s got a lot of personality.”)
.. When the meeting is over, the other people at the table often come away very pleased with themselves, unaware he has already forgotten everything they said.
.. The Vatican talk will probably be about refugees and immigration. It’s possible Francis will feel they had a real meeting of the minds. The president will recall that the pope is shorter than he is.
.. There definitely is something about him that makes people want to increase their defense budgets.
.. Trump has spent his entire political career warning Americans that “the world is laughing at us.” But now it really, really is. Europe is awash in stories about the two-to-four-minute limit on remarks during the NATO discussions.
“I heard a bishop say some months ago that he met a boy that had finished his university studies, and said ‘I want to become a priest, but only for 10 years.’ It’s the culture of the provisional. And this happens everywhere, also in priestly life, in religious life,” he said.
“It’s provisional, and because of this the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null. Because they say “yes, for the rest of my life!” but they don’t know what they are saying. Because they have a different culture. They say it, they have good will, but they don’t know.”
Just to be clear: the pope is saying that the “great majority” of people married inside the Catholic Church are not really married, because one or both spouses entered into the marriage covenant without the right intentions.
.. “The crisis of marriage is due to the fact that people don’t know what the sacrament is, the beauty of the sacrament, they don’t know that it is indissoluble, that it is for your entire life,” the pope said.
“There are girls and boys who have purity and a great love, but they are few,” he said, adding that many young people had a materialistic and superficial approach to their wedding day, such as an obsession with choosing the right gown, the right church and the right restaurant.
He recognized that he had been chosen by God even “while breathing murderous threats” (Acts 9:1), and that the God who chose him was a crucified God and not an “Omnipotent” or an “Almighty” God. In fact, Paul only uses the word “Almighty” for God once (2 Corinthians 6:18), and then he is quoting the Hebrew Scriptures. This is quite significant considering his tradition and training. Paul’s image of God was instead someone crucified outside the city walls in the way a slave might be killed, and not of a God appearing on heavenly clouds. Christ was not the strong, powerful, military Messiah that the Jews had been waiting for throughout their history. He was in fact quite the opposite. This was Jesus’ great revelation, surprise, and a scandal that we have still not comprehended. God is not what we thought God could or should be!.. Only vulnerability allows all change, growth, and transformation to happen–even in God.Paul, like few others, read his own tradition honestly and recognized that Yahweh consistently chose the weak to confound the strong (1 Corinthians 1:17-31)... Only later does Paul have the courage to confront Peter and James in Jerusalem (Galatians 1:16-21), and then a full fourteen years later he tells Peter “to his face” that Peter is wrong (2:11) for imposing non-essentials on people that only give them an incorrect understanding of their correctness or righteousness. (Apparently Peter, the first Pope, was himself fallible, and he too had to learn how to be wrong to grow up!)