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Ukraine and the troubling future of A.I. warfare

Andrii Denysenko, CEO of design and production bureau
Reports are already surfacing of drones launched into Russia that are relying on artificial, not human, intelligence in decisions to evade defensive countermeasures, pick targets and finally conclude a strike.

Eucharistic Diary: The Eucharistic Congress is moving in a way I did not expect.

I cannot tell you exactly why I am getting emotional, except to say that maybe I am sorely in the mood for something simple and nonaffected and happy and endearing and guileless. (Maybe everyone is?)

Why Cardinal Tolentino wants every priest to go to the movies

In an interview with America’s Gerard O’Connell, Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça discusses his love for cinema and poetry, what it’s like working in the Roman Curia and Pope Francis’ “Gospel simplicity.”

What the downfall of the Papal States can teach today’s Catholic integralists

A movement known as Catholic integralism has been enjoying something of a revival in contemporary American political thought, especially among Catholic critics of liberalism and modernity. But history tells us that integralism can be more harmful than helpful.

Why I preached a homily on the Trump assassination attempt

“Preach” host Ricardo da Silva, S.J., talks with Deacon Greg Kandra about the homily he wrote immediately after hearing the news of the attempted assassination of Donald Trump at a rally in Butler, Pa., this past weekend.

Beloved priest Abbé Pierre was the conscience of France. Several women now accuse him of assault.

A foundation says a legendary French priest and a lifelong advocate of the homeless has been accused of committing acts that would amount to “sexual assault or sexual harassment.”

Tens of thousands gather in prayer to open the National Eucharistic Congress with a powerful holy hour

The National Eucharistic Congress officially began July 17 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis with a powerful holy hour that saw tens of thousands of people kneeling in silent adoration before Jesus in the Eucharist.

In France, the great Jubilee of the Sacred Heart at Paray-le-Monial draws crowds

Roman Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paray-le-Monial and cloister. View from the Bourbince River, 2023. / Credit: Sanctuaire du Sacré-Cœur/

Paris, France, Jul 18, 2024 / 06:00 am (CNA).

From now until June 27, 2025, the small town of Paray-le-Monial in France will be celebrating a jubilee for the 350th anniversary of the Sacred Heart.

'No, but…': Despite papal denial, dialogue on women diaconate continues

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Francis was once asked if a girl could ever grow up to become a deacon or join the clergy of the Catholic Church, he responded with a clear "no." 

Nonetheless, conversations about the role of women in the church and their ministerial functions are still being held at the highest levels of the Vatican. 

Months before he rejected the possibility of women deacons during a May interview with "60 Minutes" on CBS, the pope invited a Salesian sister, a consecrated virgin and a woman Anglican bishop into a discussion on women in the church with his Council of Cardinals, commonly known as the C9. 

It was the second meeting of the council, an international group of cardinal advisors to the pope, dedicated to discussing the role of women in the church. The pope and his council have held a total of four meetings with women experts -- in December, February, April and June --  to continue conversations on the role of women in the church. 

While information on the meetings is typically limited to a list of discussed topics distributed by the Vatican, talks from the December council meeting were published February in a book, titled "Smaschilizzare La Chiesa?" ("De-masculinize the Church?), and the speeches of the three women and responses of two cardinals from the February session were published in a book -- "Donne E Ministri Nella Chiesa Sinodale" ("Women and Ministries in the Synodal Church") -- released July 11.

In its foreword, Pope Francis wrote that the participation of the three theologians at the C9 meeting fell in line with the synodal process, which is "a process of discernment (that) starts in reality and experience."

He said that just as the modern age has been marked by a draw toward "clear and refined" ideas, "the Church too has sometimes fallen into the trap of considering loyalty to ideas to be more important than attention to reality," and listening to the joys and suffering of women in the church "is certainly a way to open us up to reality." 

Salesian Sister Linda Pocher speaks at a news conference.
Salesian Sister Linda Pocher speaks to reporters at the Vatican Feb. 20, 2023, about the release of a two-volume book on the theology of the priesthood and the need to promote a better understanding of priesthood in a "synodal" church. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

Insisting on the need to speak openly and frankly about the possibility of admitting women to the diaconate, Salesian Sister Linda Pocher, a professor of Christology and Mariology at Rome's Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences "Auxilium," explained in her speech that the justifications for reserving ordained ministry to men "are weak, and it is important to recognize and be aware of it." 

Biblically, she noted that the calling of the 12 apostles cannot be equated with the institution of priestly or episcopal orders as they are understood today. Theological justifications for excluding women from holy orders were founded on the idea that women were incapable of holding positions in the public sphere by their nature -- an idea, she said, that became "unacceptable" after the feminist movements of the 20th century lifted women into previously inaccessible positions. 

Additionally, Sister Pocher said that papal rejections of admitting women to ordained ministry cannot be used as a justification for maintaining the practice since there are numerous historical instances of popes altering positions held by their predecessors.

In his response to the speeches, however, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley of Boston said that "in the continuous and unchanging tradition of the church, priestly ordination is reserved for men," adding that church leadership should find ways to open more ministries to women since male-only ordained ministry "will not change." 

The cardinal said that the practice of only ordaining men to the priesthood "absolutely does not mean that men are in some way superior to women," and while women must be able to fully contribute to the church "we cannot allow ourselves to make mistakes acting hastily or without a full consideration of the possible consequences of these changes." 

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley of Boston listens during the assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley of Boston listens during the assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall Oct. 10, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

He added that a greater development of the priestly dimension in the life of all baptized people is needed and that women need to occupy more leadership positions in the Vatican, in archdioceses, dioceses and parishes around the world. 

Anglican Bishop Jo Bailey Wells, deputy secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, recounted in her presentation the path toward and following the 1978 Lambeth Conference which gave each Anglican church the authority to decide whether to ordain women. As part of the theological rationale for the decision she cited the idea that God created all of humanity with the capacity to lead and govern whereas women's subordination to men only comes after humanity's fall from God's grace. 

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg responded to the reality of Anglican ordained ministry by saying it is "not entirely adaptable to Catholic ordained ministry."

"In the Catholic Church we have a unity of doctrine and a unity of the episcopal college, in communion with the bishop of Rome, which represented the universal Church," he said, noting the division that arises between Anglican parishes that recognize women as ordained ministers and those that do not -- particularly in recognizing the authority of women bishops. 

He also said that ordaining women could hinder the warming relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, relator general of the synod, speaks during a news conference at the Vatican.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, relator general of the synod, speaks during a news conference at the Vatican July 9, 2024, to present the working document for the second assembly of ongoing the Synod of Bishops. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

Yet, "Do these doubts mean the ordination of women should be completely excluded?" the cardinal asked. "I am not sure," he said, but added that it seems unlikely the church could answer such a question now or in the near future. 

Cardinal Hollerich, who is also relator general of the Synod of Bishops on synodality, asked whether the synodal path being taken by the church to recognize the baptismal dignity of its members and in which "ordained ministry becomes true service" could already "reduce the frustration of many women."

The synod on synodality, which will hold its second assembly at the Vatican in October, will not address the question of admitting women to diaconal ministry, but the working document for the assembly affirmed that "theological reflection should continue" on the matter and noted that a dedicated body is studying the question. 

Cardinal Mario Grech, who is secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops but not a member of the C9, said at a news conference July 9 that it is "not a contradiction" for the pope to reject the possibility of women deacons while advancing theological study on the issue. 

"According to the information that we have today, it is a 'no'" on expanding the diaconate to women, he said, "but at the same time the Holy Father has said that reflection, deeper theological study, should continue."

St. John Chrysostom—The priesthood requires a great soul …

The priesthood requires a great soul; for the priest has many harassing troubles of his own, and has need of innumerable eyes on all sides. — St. John Chrysostom

The post St. John Chrysostom—The priesthood requires a great soul … appeared first on Catholic Digest.