Pope Francis significantly shifted the Catholic Church's teaching on the use of military force in 2020, declaring in the encyclical Fratelli Tutti that because of the brutality of modern combat it is now "very difficult" for countries to invoke the just war theory in pursuing violent conflict.
Catholic peace activists at the time hailed the move, calling it an historic development in church teaching that could undercut efforts by national leaders to legitimize their uses of military force.
Reviewing the document a year later, instructors at U.S. military academies did not quite agree with the activists' assessment. But some did concur that Francis had adjusted church teaching in a real way.
The leaders of an international movement seeking to have the Catholic Church formally set aside its long-held teachings on just war theory praised Francis' encyclical after its 2020 release.
You can catch up on all of our coverage of Fratelli Tutti here.
On a papal visit to Hungary and Slovakia in mid-September, Pope Francis told reporters aboard his airplane that bishops should behave like "pastors, not politicians." He went on to say that he had never denied the Eucharist to anyone and repeated something he had said before. "The Eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners," Francis said. "Communion is not a prize for the perfect."
"Thank God for Pope Francis," comments Fr. Peter Daly in his latest contribution. "He said what many of us have been thinking — that our bishops are behaving more like politicians than shepherds."
"What does the pope want from pastoral bishops? He wants dialogue, not condemnation," Daly continues. "But what do we get from our 'culture warrior' bishops here in the U.S.?"
Click here to read our coverage of that papal plane press conference with Pope Francis.
At Global Sisters Report, read a Q&A with Religious of Jesus and Mary Sr. Rosemary Nicholson, who was working at Instituto Madre Asunta, a shelter for migrants across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, when migrant caravans arrived in San Diego in late 2018. "These were sacred moments," she said. "The resilience of faith that migrants have is profound."
ICYMI: Pope Francis said he knows "it often annoys people" when he promotes Catholic teaching on social issues like poverty, migration and ecology, but he is going to keep doing so because the Gospel demands it.
ICYMI: An adult survivor of abuse by a priest appealed to the world's seminarians to become good priests and to make sure the "bitter truth" always prevails, not silence about scandals and their cover-up.