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What did Pope Francis REALLY Say? News Sources to Accurately Follow Our Holy Father

What did Pope Francis REALLY Say? Accurate Catholic News Sources for Following Our Holy Father from @ACatholicNewbie

As Catholics and non-Catholics alike get ready to welcome the leader of our worldwide Church here on American soil, the media is literally going ga-ga. Headlines and cartoons and analysts galore are filling the airwaves with all sorts of anticipation of what Pope Francis might say or do as he meets President Obama, speaks to Congress and visits the United Nations. Is he going to allow gay marriage? Divorce? Condemn capitalism?

But, reader, tweeter, listener, watcher … beware! The non-Catholic media wants to turn Pope Francis into a man who is going to turn the Catholic church on its head. But, as Teresa Tomeo likes to say: “Newsflash, the Pope is still Catholic” — and he’s not going to change a thing about Catholic church teaching, which has been held since Jesus walked the earth. We can speculate and infer and twist his words to our culture’s liking all we want, but it just isn’t happening.

I say all this to encourage everyone — Catholics and non-Catholics — to get your news about Pope Francis’ visit straight from the source … and that would be The Vatican. Go to and READ FOR YOURSELF what Pope Francis said. Please don’t read what the New  York Times or ABC News or NPR said he said. Nine times out of 10 they get it flat wrong.

There are lots of other great Catholic-based media sources that will also provide you with accurate information from experts and journalists who are well versed in Catholic teaching, who have covered popes for decades and who understand Church law and history.

Here are a few Catholic news sources I recommend during Pope Francis’ U.S. visit:

  • EWTN — It doesn’t get any better for television or radio than the Eternal Word (ie Jesus) Television Network. They will have around the clock coverage of the World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis’ whereabouts and the Synod on the Family. Find out what’s on when here.
  • Teresa Tomeo — One of my favorite journalists for telling it like it is, but with a sense of humor :). She’ll be broadcasting her Ave Maria Radio/EWTN Radio show Catholic Connection LIVE from the World Meeting of Families this week 8-10 a.m. Eastern on Catholic radio stations. You can also stream it live via the EWTN app, tune to Sirius-XM 130 or listen online.
  • Al Kresta – Al hosts a weekday afternoon drive time show on EWTN/Ave Maria Radio from 4-6 p.m. called Kresta in the Afternoon. He’ll provide a recap of the news of Pope Francis’ visit each day.
  • The Catholic Channel on Sirius-XM 129 – They are changing themselves to Pope Radio this week. 🙂 Lots of great shows airing all day long.
  • Catholic News Agency – Continually updated coverage on all things Pope Francis and the Vatican
  • Joan Lewis – As the Rome correspondent for EWTN, Joan knows about everything there is to know about the Pope and the Vatican. Follow along on her blog.
  • Aleteia – A fairly new website with a more contemporary slant newly edited by Elizabeth Scalia. They sponsored the adorable Popemojis (emoticons & emojis for your smartphone) and will provide more youthful coverage of the Pope’s visit.
  • National Catholic Register – Solid Catholic news coverage online and in newspaper format.

What did I miss? What are your favorite Catholic news sources that get Pope Francis right and provide fair and balanced coverage?

Remember, take non-Catholic news coverage with a grain of salt and read the REAL story for yourself so you can make informed judgments and commentary on Pope Francis’ historic visit to America.



A Catholic Understanding of Suffering: One of the Most Amazing Things I’ve Learned

Redemptive sufferingMy most recent Catholic theme seems to revolve around suffering. The idea keeps emerging in the books I’m reading, on Catholic radio, in homilies and more … and wow is it a revelation! Catholics hold to the idea of “redemptive suffering,”  which turns the traditional understanding of suffering on its head, making it a positive, wonderful thing (bear with me :), I’ll explain in a minute).

While I’m not undergoing any true suffering myself (thanks be to God), it’s certainly a topic I’ve always grappled with and I think many nonbelievers do, as well. How could a loving, merciful God allow suffering?

Let’s start by saying we can’t know exactly. Afterall, we cannot know the mind of God, at least not until we reach our glory. That said, there are some clues to the meaning of suffering that we can follow. Let’s start with the greatest suffering of all time: Christ on the Cross.

Christ suffered unbearably, through torture, humiliation, mocking, and what must have been pain beyond belief. Yet, did you notice the greatest good of all time that it produced? Salvation for all who accept it! What can we learn from this? Suffering = Good.

Crazy, I know.

Here’s another clue. If you study the life of the saints, so many of them underwent great personal suffering, especially bodily suffering. Why would God punish them so? Perhaps because it’s not a punishment, but a gift — a wonderful thing.

I am reading a book right now that is the diary of a woman named Elisabeth Leseur who lived in the early 1900’s in France. She is up for sainthood but no progress has been made as of yet. Elisabeth, who was subject to much suffering — both mental and physical — looked upon this suffering as a way to “work” for God. She was married to an atheist, whom she loved dearly and whom she deeply desired to convert, but instead he argued and dissuaded her in her religion, causing her much personal grief.

She says repeatedly in her diary that words and actions do little for her hopes and desires for those souls around her, but rather suffering, prayer and mortifications (fasting, enduring discomfort, etc.) do the greatest work. So instead of complaining or arguing with her husband, she kept her sufferings inside and offered them up to God for the work of converting her husband. Can you imagine the power of using that same principle for problems in your own life?

This reminds me so much of my dear confirmation saint, St Therese of Lisieux, who gave glory to God and worked to help souls —  those of unbelievers, those in purgatory, her loved ones — in her “little way” of doing small acts of sacrifice for God. She too says that prayers, combined with fasting and almsgiving/charity are the quickest way to make your prayers heard.

Elisabeth desired to do much more with her life, but instead was confined to bed for various illnesses throughout her life. She determined that God’s true vocation for her was to “work” through suffering, which she was able to do so well by offering her sacrifices and all works for the intentions of others, so often for those in purgatory.

I recently was watching Super Saints on EWTN with Bob and Penny Lord in an episode about St. Philip Neri. It was said that he too offered many masses and prayers for the souls in purgatory, and when he arrived in heaven, they all greeted him, sharing that they had been praying for him since getting to heaven in gratitude for his kind prayers for them. What a wonderful thought!

If you’ve hung on with me this long, let this be some validation of suffering as the greatest “work” for God. Upon Elisabeth’s death, her long atheist husband converted to Catholicism, and not only that, he became a priest and was the one responsible for publishing her diary that it might help others. I find that to be a true miracle, but one that I have no doubt God granted for Elisabeth’s tireless work.

Let me end with this paragraph from Elizabeth’s diary, so eloquently put, moreso than I can:

“Union with Jesus Christ, which we shall realize in Heaven in joy and vision, is already possible for us on earth in suffering. That is why all souls in love with Jesus, those souls that have heard the  mysterious and irresistible call of Christ, love suffering and, far from rejecting it with an entirely human horror, ask for it, desire it as the sweet forerunner of the Master, as that which ushers us into His presence. It is suffering that reveals the Cross to us, that opens the divine Heart to us, that enables us to enter into this supernatural world that no human thing can reach, which we will know only in eternity, but from which a glimmer shines over us through the grace of suffering and the radiance of the Cross.” — My Spirit Rejoices by Elisabeth Leseur, Sophia Institute Press, 1996.