God's Crooked Smile

Religion reporter at CNN. Looking for the gold tooth in God's crooked smile.


Happy birthday, Ernest Hemingway!

Here’s a collection of photographs of the iconic writer with the animals he loved.

I don’t care what the Vatican says, this is the scene I’m picturing today. 

I don’t care what the Vatican says, this is the scene I’m picturing today. 

Courtyard of the Common Good



The common good: the expression must have been uttered threescore and ten times in the sessions of the Courtyard of the Gentiles event at Georgetown yesterday: a panel discussion about the common good and politics and one about the common good and the arts, each followed by a pair of…

Peter Matthiessen's Search



Recollections of Peter Matthiessen are coming in – and if they are anything like the profile published in the Times Magazine at the hour of his death, they will focus on the paradoxes of his career. He was a novelist known for his nonfiction, a well-born WASP drawn to adventures among…

"Brother, If You Focus on the Numbers, You're Missing the Story"



Saturday Night Live — or was it Seth Meyers? — got in a jab the other night at CNN’s low ratings, but you don’t have to watch cable (it’s not part of my basic package) to get the news from this still-giant, still-ambitious news organization.

You can get it on the CNN website, in articles…

"The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults"

He has called men of the cloth “vain” butterflies, “smarmy” idolators and “priest-tycoons.” He’s described some seminarians as potential “little monsters.”

Laurence England felt inspired by these conversations with clergy friends to compile a compendium of papal invective, calling it “The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults” – and, to his surprise, it kept growing monthly, weekly, even daily.

It is not a real book, of course. (This should have been obvious by the fact that I offered a 20% discount to anyone who directed one of the Pope’s insults at a bookstore cashier.)

But what began as a humorous blog post documenting the surprising things Pope Francis says has gained a large audience. (In time, he hope to have a Latin translation.)

Working backwards, he sifted through media reports, looking for all the Pope’s put downs and asking readers for assistance. He

was shocked by how many insults were directed toward Christians.

Indeed, the Pope has denounced the following: “sad Christians,” “pickled pepper-faced Christians,” “closed, sad, trapped Christians,” “pagan Christians,” “defeated Christians,” “liquid Christians,” “creed-reciting, parrot Christians,” and, finally, those “watered-down faith, weak-hoped Christians.”