When Amanda Martínez Beck saw a photo of Pope Francis sitting in a wheelchair and holding a baby during his weeklong trip to Canada in July, she felt the same sense of camaraderie she feels seeing another mom at her children's elementary school using a wheelchair.
For Beck, who uses a rollator, a kind of walker with a seat, "to see Pope Francis, having relationships, doing his papal duties" using a wheelchair or a cane, "it just reminds me of the goodness of a weak body like mine, because this is one of the holiest people in the world able to love and serve from a wheelchair."
Beck is one of many disabled Catholics who praised the pope's decision to publicly use a wheelchair, which he has done since at least May 5 due to severe knee pain, making disability part of his visible identity.
A new report based on interviews with some 300 Catholic priests, nuns and laypeople concludes that clergy aren't adequately prepared to wield the power they exercise and need more education on questions of sex and gender.
The report, "Beyond Bad Apples: Understanding Clericalism as a Structural Problem & Cultivating Strategies for Change," released Aug. 15, explores the links between clericalism — clergy's focus on its authority — and clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse.
The study's authors, Julie Hanlon Rubio and Paul J. Schutz, both professors at Santa Clara University, a Jesuit institution in Northern California, wanted to move away from asking, "Is he a good priest or a bad priest?" and ask instead, "What are the underlying reasons that this priest is acting in this way?"
In Canada, the number of people who end their lives through euthanasia is growing significantly, and the country has few safeguards in place. NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters says that Americans should think twice before adopting similar laws.
The synod on synodality is a worldwide event, and early reports from bishops' conferences outside the U.S. repeat the same story: Clericalism is a scourge on the church, and women are not respected or included in leadership. Read more from columnist Phyllis Zagano here.
ICYMI: A recent report on the public relations strategy used by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne, Germany, during a clerical sex abuse scandal has provoked renewed controversy, even after the cardinal's March return from his six-month sabbatical initiated by Pope Francis.