The teacher and the pastor: 1

The media have made much of the contrast between the shy, aristocratic aloofness of Pope Benedict XVI and the folksy approachability of his successor, Pope Francis.

The teacher and the pastor: 2

As a sociologist, my interest in religion does not proceed from the axioms of faith, but from an understanding of human society as a system that serves a multiplicity of functions. Whether one is a believer or not, one cannot deny the place that religion occupies and continues to

Holy See

I really like this new Pope. Last Holy Thursday, he washed the feet of 12 people, in a reenactment of Jesus Christ washing the feet of his 12 apostles. It’s a ritual to reaffirm the Catholic Church’s commitment to humility, its highest official himself submitting to this lowliest gesture. Nothing

What do you think of Pope Francis?

That's today's buzz. Both hope and speculation fuel the question. Hopes are high. “He’s strong on the ‘pastoral,’” says Fr. Edwin Manio, RCJ.

Second 100 days

“I can’t wait to see how the rest of this story turns out,” John Carr of Georgetown University wrote. Late June, Francis completed 100 days as the 256th pope after Peter. He shunned robes, red handcrafted shoes and offered a chair and a sandwich to a tired—and startled—Swiss guard. “There’s

‘Home for all’

The lapsed, the wounded, and those banished to the fringes of the Catholic Church are finding hope in Pope Francis’ words in his wide-ranging interview with the editor in chief of La Civilta Cattolica. “[T]he thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm

Person of the age

Time’s article on Pope Francis explaining why he is the magazine’s Person of the Year made this observation at one point: “John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.”

Rock star

Has it been only a year? It feels much longer than that—and not because of a sense of tedium or despair, but because of the myriad little things that add up to what looks like a sea change in the Vatican ever since Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was

Benedict and Francis on social media

In a column I wrote over a year ago, I teased the country’s two cardinal-electors for asserting, in a news conference they called after they returned from the conclave that elected Pope Francis, that the Holy Spirit did not read social media. It was their good-natured way of expressing just

Gift of faith

The announcement by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle that Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the Philippines in January has thrilled countless Filipinos. With a papal visit deemed a special blessing, it is expected that survivors of “Yolanda,” who are still reeling from the loss not only of their loved ones