Ross Douthat is worried about Pope Francis’ leadership. Should we be, too?

Pope Francis sits during a meeting with faithful on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way, one of the Catholic Church's biggest missionary movement, in the esplanade of Tor Vergata neighborhood in Rome, Saturday, May 5, 2018.  (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

It’s not an easy position for faithful Catholics to stake out, criticizing a popular pope. But Ross Douthat is worried about where Pope Francis is leading the Catholic Church. In his new book, To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism, the New York Times op-ed columnist argues that Francis’ “truces” with the modern world—specifically his more pastoral approach on issues ranging from divorce and same-sex relationships to euthanasia—threaten to not only divide and weaken the church but betray the very words of Jesus.

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We ask Ross whether he thinks people in the pews share his concerns, what mercy means for Catholics who feel hurt by Catholic teachings and what gives him hope about the church.

In Signs of the Times: a Catholic school showcases a caged tiger at prom. Bad idea or the worst idea? Plus, new rules for contemplative nuns, the United States’ first African-American priest gets a step closer to sainthood, thoughts on the new Pope Francis biopic and news from the Holy Land.

Finally, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so we wanted to discuss what more the church can do to support families struggling with mental illness.

As always, check us out on Twitter @jesuiticalshow, and send us some feedback by emailing jesuitical@americamedia.org. You can support the show (and get exclusive swag and bonus content!) by joining our Patreon community.

Links from the show

A Catholic School in Florida Had a Caged Tiger at Its Jungle-Themed Prom and WTF?
Vatican issues new rules for communities of contemplative nuns
Runaway slave-turned-priest moves closer to beatification
California bishops: The mental health care system is broken
Pope gets an unprecedented close-up, courtesy of Wim Wenders
Pope Francis denounces spiral of violence in the Holy Land

What’s on tap?

Wisconsin white wine from our very first in-studio Patreon V.I.P. visitor, Creede Caldwell!

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Christopher Lochner
1 year ago

Popularity is not a sign of correctness. It may well be that Pope Francis has chosen a very poor group of advisors. A leader is only as good as the councel he is given. And Jesus never preached with an eye towards popular opinion.

Robert Lewis
1 year ago

Douthat actively works to promote schism.

Catherine Montalbo
1 year ago

Catholics who are divorced and want to remarry must get the previous marriage(s) annulled. I went through this process. It wasn't that difficult and I knew this was what was required in order for me to be married in the Church. Why is this such a problem for people and why are so many griping about what's been the Church's teaching/doctrine for ages?

Also, please, PLEASE, young people: make more of an effort to lessen the use of the word "like" in your conversations.

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