Cathleen Falsani

Cathleen Falsani

Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion journalist and author of several nonfiction books, including The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace,  and The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers. She is co-host of the new audio magazine/podcast The Shwell. Follow her on Twitter @GodGrrl.

Posts By This Author

Pope Francis Apologized to God for Church Abuses. Catholics Need an Apology to Them

by Cathleen Falsani 08-29-2018

Pope Francis prays in front of a candle lit to remember victims of abuse by the church, inside St Mary's Pro Cathedral during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 25, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/Pool

There is a soulweariness shared by these ecclesiastical cousins on both sides of the Atlantic that pervades in the face of so much pain from the original insult, the resulting denials, obfuscation, and general mishandling; and, ultimately, the hope — that some measure of justice might be achieved and true healing commenced — repeatedly dashed.

Pope Francis' 'Off-the-Cuff' Prayers for Forgiveness Close Ireland Trip as Archbishop Alleges Cover-Up

by Cathleen Falsani 08-26-2018

Pope Francis leads the World Meeting of Families closing mass in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, August 26, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Pope Francis wrapped up a whirlwind tour of Ireland by issuing his most detailed public apology to date for the horrific abuses suffered by generations of Irish families at the hands of the Catholic Church during an outdoor Mass for an estimated half-million people in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. In a litany of prayers described as “off-the-cuff” by spokespeople for the World Meeting of Families, the international event that brought the pontiff to Dublin this week, Pope Francis begged forgiveness for a laundry list of atrocities wrought by the church and its emissaries.

Pope Francis Begs Forgiveness for Sins of Church Abuse

by Cathleen Falsani 08-26-2018

Pope Francis speaks during the Festival of Families at Croke Park during his visit to Dublin, Ireland, August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Standing just a few feet away from where many Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared in 1879 to a dozen denizens of this bucolic corner of western Ireland at the height of a famine, on Sunday morning Pope Francis begged God’s forgiveness for the abuse of countless innocents by priests and other members of the Catholic Church.

Amid Church Abuse Crises, Pope Francis Speaks to a Transformed Ireland

by Cathleen Falsani 08-25-2018

Before the papal visit, a sign in Dublin references to the Magdalene laundries, run by the Catholic Church, where unwed mothers were abused. Photo by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners

When Pope Francis steps off of his chartered Alitalia flight from Rome at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, he will be walking into a country that is in some ways barely recognizable from the last time he visited the Irish Republic nearly 40 years ago.

Fr. James Martin: 'LGBT People Are As Much a Part of the Church as Pope Francis'

by Cathleen Falsani 08-24-2018

Photo courtesy Greg Fromholz

Whenever people try to exclude LGBT Catholics from the life of the church, they are “tearing apart the body of Christ,” Fr. James Martin told the standing-room-only crowd that packed a tented hangar Aug 23. at an international meeting of Catholic families in Dublin, Ireland. “At the World Meeting of Families, this is an important aspect: By not welcoming, by excluding LGBT Catholics, the church is falling short of its call to be God’s family."

'Summer in the Forest' a Moving Picture of Love and L'Arche

by Cathleen Falsani 04-11-2018

“This is how the world is meant to be.” That’s what Randall Wright, director of the exceptionally powerful new feature-length documentary Summer in the Forest, said he thought the first time he visited one of the L’Arche communities founded by Jean Vanier that are the subject of his film.

The Justice Message of Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’

by Cathleen Falsani 03-23-2018

Image via Isle of Dogs trailer

There is a moral (some might even say spiritual) clarity shared by the young humans in Isle of Dogs Anderson hasn’t been celebrated in his previous films, and that feels particularly salient right now as we watch children, led by the student-activists from Parkland, champion a national movement to demand sweeping legal and political changes to combat the rampant gun violence that plagues our nation.

When the Seeds of Hate Land on Your Doorstep

by Cathleen Falsani 01-17-2017

Image via Cathleen Falsani.

Some of the boys involved in carrying out those acts in December we know, and we know their parents. The parents we do know are not frothing-at-the-mouth bigots. We can’t imagine their sons learned racist ideas at home.

But they learned them somewhere.

Racists and bullies aren’t born. They are made.

Haiti, After Hurricane Matthew

by Cathleen Falsani 10-19-2016

A pregnant woman rests in the shade near the J/P HRO clinic in Port-au-Prince. Image via Josh Estey/CARE.

It’s been three weeks since I returned from Haiti and a fortnight since Hurricane Matthew made landfall along the southern coast of the Caribbean island, bringing its Category 5 devastation to the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

And in the time that has passed since my first visit to Ayiti (as they say in Creole), I can’t stop thinking about her.

Paul Simon's Spiritual Fascination

by Cathleen Falsani 06-06-2016
The Sonic Inspiration Behind His Latest, 'Stranger to Stranger'

Since the 1960s, Simon’s musical dialogue with his audience has been an adventure: through the mean streets of pre-Bloomberg New York City, on a bus across America, with a runaway bride, into the townships of South Africa, Chernobyl, the Amazon, fatherhood, the deep South, the ups-and-downs of enduring love, questions about mortality, and dreams of the afterlife.

That conversation (and adventure) continues with Stranger to Stranger at the velvet rope of a nightclub, with a homeless “street angel,” in a hospital emergency room, at the riverbank, an insomniac’s bedside, and a village in central Brazil that some might describe as a “thin place” — where the veil between this world and whatever lies beyond it is like gossamer.

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