12 June 2014, The Tablet

America needs to embrace Francis

The Catholic Church in the United States of America badly needs a dose of unity. Yet there are signs that since the election of Pope Francis last year, tensions within the Catholic community have increased. To a degree, the problem lies with the bishops, who, far from finding an agreed message, have preferred confrontation. They are a house divided. But it also lies in the nature of American Catholicism, a melting pot of diverse communities that have nothing much in common but their basic faith. That makes them very difficult to lead. Hitherto the papacy has acted as an external rallying point, a unifying focus, but Pope Francis has himself become a partisan symbol as each side claims him for its own. There is little doubt which of them can do so more convincingly. Pope Francis manifestly
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