Friday, April 24, 2015

Weekend Reads: April 24--Pope Francis

I'm still deep in a thicket of 10-page papers but hope to have a new post up shortly. In the meantime, for reading material, I'll direct your attention to the spate of recent  commentary on Pope Francis by some major American secular magazines. The first piece is by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, which ran as the cover story of The New Republic a short while ago. The next is Ross Douthat's new article in The Atlantic, and finally, I've included a blog response to Douthat by one of my favorite commentators, Michael Sean Winters at the National Catholic Reporter.

I admire Stoker Bruenig's writing and intelligence, but her piece on Francis comes off as reductive. Essentially, she takes the reactions of a few prominent American Catholic conservatives and lets them stand for the entirety of traditional or orthodox Catholics. The entire essay reeks of  the mantra of graduate school ("liberals good... conservatives bad") that I remember all too well.  Douthat, whom Bruenig attacks and lumps (unfairly, I'd argue) with neoconservatives such as Michael Novak and George Weigel, writes a better piece, which is essentially a longer, more eloquently expressed and nuanced version of an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times a few months ago. With his talk of schism, though, Douthat still leans a little reactionary for me. I plan to attend a conference in June at the Portsmouth Abbey school where Bruenig and Douthat will both be speaking on Francis... will be interesting, to say the least.

In other news, in the near future America Magazine will be running an article I've written on Catholic schools and technology, essentially a more complete version of my three posts (see here, here, and here) from earlier this year. I will post a link when the article goes live.

Fear of a Radical Pope
by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, The New Republic

Will Pope Francis Break the Church?
by Ross Douthat, The Atlantic

Michael Sean Winters' Response to Douthat
National Catholic Reporter

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