General Audience with Pope Francis © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysMedia & Publics

On Pope Francis, Climate Change, and Global Capitalism

A psychological perspective

Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Laudato si’: On Care for our Common Home, has drawn worldwide attention to climate change and its relationship to global capitalism in advance of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris in late November …

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"Where are You From?" © Simon Kneebone | Courtesy of the artist
EssaysRaceThe Left

And Yet It is Round!

Untimely thoughts on Europe, Migration, and the State

Untimely thoughts on Europe, Migration, and the State

As I do every year, I have spent most of this summer on the Italian coast, in the region around the Gulf of Poets. This summer, as soon as I put my head underwater, I am struck by the beauty of the sea: the water is so blue that, at times, it turns violet; there are fish everywhere, sea urchins, sea stars, and seaweeds of such amazing sparkling colors as I have never seen in the region. People around me speak of a “tropicalization of the Mediterranean.” …

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Pope Francis leaves for Rome from the Galeão Air Force Base © Tania Rago/Agência Brasil | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysMedia & Publics

When the Pope “Drops the F-Bomb”

Meditations on media, society, and the philosophy of language

On March 3, 2014, a stream of troubling, breaking news about Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine was interrupted by another event, this time originating in the Vatican, which similarly reached prominence in journalistic organs. This event, however, was not a child abuse scandal, papal resignation, or other such event that typically brings the ancient Church into the headlines. It was, instead, no more than the fact that the Pope — the most visible scion of holiness in the West — swore.

Immediately, this must be qualified. As Bill Chappell of NPR clarifies, Pope Francis, whose native language is not Italian, made a pronunciation error in his address that led him to verbalize “caso” (“case,” “example”) as “cazzo,” a colloquial equivalent to the English “F-word.” And yet the gaffe was reported in such a manner that made it seem as if the Pope intentionally introduced vulgarity into his speech. …

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Pope Francis © presidencia.gov.ar | casarosada.gob.ar
EssaysMedia & Publics

The Once and Future Pope

How an imaginary 3rd Vatican Council report sparked public debate

Tears were welling up in my eyes as I finished reading the story. One of my old friends said he almost fell out of his breakfast nook from shock. Posts about the story have 10k+ shares on Facebook. People everywhere are either “liking” it or condemning it as an affront to their faith. So what generated this public outpouring? I’m referring to an article about the 3rd Vatican Council, which has Pope Francis really stirring things up with an earth-shattering pronouncement. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Third Vatican Council concluded today with Pope Francis announcing that Catholicism is now a ‘modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes. The time has come to abandon all intolerance. We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone.’… In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed ‘All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful.” …

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