The Francis Effect and the Fight Over Catholic Identity

  It’s a familiar scene: a “radical” speaker is invited to a college campus, until the skittish university decides to rescind the offer to avoid controversy. The twist? The radical figure here is a Jesuit priest, Father James Martin, and the university was Catholic University. Father Martin was scheduled to speak at Catholic University’s seminary Theological College, on September 15, when the seminary decided to cancel his appearance.  In an official statement the following day, Catholic University expressed disappointment that Father Martin had been uninvited. Nonetheless, the offer was rescinded,…

Pope Francis’ Utopia: A Moral Free Market Society, or a Catholic Socialist State?

Pope Francis has used the “Chair of Saint Peter” in ways that seem, to many people, “political.” Whether through his actions to promote relations between the U.S. and Cuba, or through democratic socialist Bernie Sanders’ visit to Vatican City, Pope Francis has displayed a message that, from afar, can be seen as encouragement for socialist reform. The question is whether or not this reform is one that uproots the basic bedrock of capitalism, directing nations toward socialism, or if it is strictly a moral outcry, a plea to the starved…

Finding God Even in Politics: An Interview with Fr. James Martin, S.J.

Fr. James Martin is a Jesuit priest, author of more than 10 books, and editor-at-large for America Magazine. His latest books are Jesus: A Pilgrimage, Seven Last Words and a novel called The Abbey. He sat down with FPR’s editor-in-chief, Ben St. Clair, to talk about Jesuit spirituality and its place in politics. As a religious figure, and as a Jesuit, do you feel that you have a role — or a duty, even — to comment on political life? I try to stay as far away from political commentary…