"Each recent pope has had a catchphrase that represents his core emphasis … For Francis, his signature idea is mercy. Over and over again, he emphasizes God's endless capacity to forgive, insisting what the world needs to hear from the church above all today is a message of compassion."
John Allen, National Catholic Reporter
"Often conversations about racism and white privilege get stalemated because people are uncomfortable with the implications of complicity or guilt. Why are we so afraid of being uncomfortable? For me, avoiding this discomfort is impossible. What I learned from my grandfather's lived response to [Martin Luther King]'s challenge is a vision that proactively sought justice. His faith pushed him to name and relinquish the privilege of a situation he didn't create, but that perpetuated injustice."
Meghan Clark, Catholic Moral Theology
"It is telling how sensitive some people are to this possible implication of the gospels, that our entire economic system – or at least many of the taken-for-granted behaviors of those with wealth – might be under judgment and contrary to God's will. It SOUNDS like the Pope is condemning our mainstream agreement that progress means ever-greater social wealth and innovative gadgets, just as it SOUNDS like Jesus' story of building bigger barns and kicking back to eat, drink, and be merry might be challenging our pretentions to houses and resort-lifestyles in retirement. But, eek, that CAN'T be."
David Cloutier, Catholic Moral Theology
"'She's saying she's sorry,' the social worker who was with us translated. 'She said she's really, really sorry.' As I listened to 25 years of shame spill from somewhere deep inside her, it was impossible not to break down with her. 'I missed you,' she said. 'I've never forgotten you.' I would not cry again during my 3 1/2-hour meeting with my biological mother. But in those moments I cried because I understood the depth of her pain – and I knew I was helping to relieve it."
Matt Stevens, Los Angeles Times
"On his cartoon blog Zen Pencils, Gavin Aung Than turns inspirational quotes into comic strips. For his newest strip, he illustrated a quote from Bill Watterson's 1990 speech at Kenyon College in the style of Calvin and Hobbes, which Than considers 'the greatest comic strip of all time.'"
Gavin Aung Than, Slate
"On the Catalyst, the initial experience is one of 'dislocation' and 'disorientation'. The ship is beautifully appointed, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that it is 15 people (11 passengers + 4 crew) on a 75 foot boat … Over the week, though, I learned how important dislocation and disorientation were to the overall experience. By forcing me to shed my comforts – the quiet home of just my wife and I and the dogs; control over my schedule, and my meals; the Internet to fill unscheduled time; unlimited bathroom access – I was nudged into something more valuable than distraction: 'engagement.'"
John Warner, Inside Higher Ed
"These women have taught me, but not in the fashion my catchphrases had led me to expect. They offered no insight into how the poor are veiled images of Jesus. No lessons on how I could learn from their simplicity. They offered me instead a more basic lesson: how I, a guest, ought to esteem my hosts."
Joe Wotawa, The Jesuit Post
Follow me on Twitter, @jwbidwell, for additional reading recommendations.