December 7-14, 2015
After the nightmare of the attacks by the Islamic State in Paris on Nov. 13, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land in Jerusalem called for a unification of “forces of good” to put an end to the rampage. It is impossible to argue with that exhortation except to ask how the “forces of good” should mobilize themselves without further contributing to the evils they oppose. There are no easy choices ahead in confronting the Islamic State (for which the bishops used the...
November 30, 2015
The release of a new and shocking report concerning the impact of economic change on vulnerable citizens could not have come at a better time. It comes in the wake of the papal visit and before an election year, when both the American people and leaders of the church are examining their economic and moral priorities. Pope Francis has challenged both the church and Congress to direct their energies toward serving the weak and the poor.
A team of economists—Anne...
November 23, 2015
Speaking to a gathering of Christian business executives on Oct. 31, Pope Francis addressed the need for maternity leave and strikingly insisted that women should not be forced to choose between work and family. They “must be protected and helped in this dual task: the right to work and the right to motherhood.” He argued that the harmonization of work and family life is a way of recognizing that employees are the most valuable resource of a company.
November 16, 2015
Our church has attracted many headlines in recent months. In May we had the publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’,” which studied the environment and oftentimes adverse impact of human activity on it. In September we welcomed Francis to the United States, with his addresses to Congress and to the United Nations, many prayer services and parades and visits to prisoners, the homeless, religious women and hundreds of thousands at Philadelphia’s World Meeting of...
November 9, 2015
Three men kneel before the camera, their neon orange jumpsuits striking against the muted desert landscape. Each gives his name, year of birth and village, but not before stating why he is there: “I am an Assyrian Christian.” The video, released on Oct. 8, is another in a growing library of execution films recorded by militants of the Islamic State. More than a year after Americans watched with horror the beheading of the journalist James Foley, three deaths may no longer shock or...
November 2, 2015
California is now the fifth and largest state in the country to allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to patients. With the signing of the End-of-Life Option Act by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 5, the so-called right to die movement scored a major victory. Several other states, including New York, are considering similar bills that will surely be boosted by the momentum initiated in Sacramento.
In attempting to allow individuals to “die with dignity,”...
October 26, 2015
Our world is more connected than ever before. The global community is facing crucial turning points on issues that cannot be solved by a single nation, including climate change, the refugee crisis and inequities within the international economy. While hundreds of intergovernmental organizations work toward the common good, the United Nations, now in its 71st year, is poised to take the lead in pushing for stronger global governance and a just world. In December the U.N. Framework...
October 19, 2015
On Sept. 27, while visiting inmates at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia, Pope Francis addressed the topic of mass incarceration in the United States, one of the most devastating crises in our nation’s history. He said, “Any society, any family, which cannot share or take seriously the pain of its children, and views that pain as something normal, or to be expected, is a society condemned to remain a hostage to itself.” In the United States there are over...
September 28, 2015
As summer draws to a close, families deliver their sons and daughters to college. They have checked the ratings, visited the campuses and “fit” the young person into an environment where they hope he or she can thrive. Private college tuition in the United States runs from an average of $25,000 a year to as much as $50,000, plus room, board and books. To afford this some parents are forced to work two or more jobs, postpone retirement, skip vacations—even sell their homes. To them the...
September 21, 2015
International news in recent months has brought a steady stream of stories about migrants and refugees—their struggles to reach safety in Europe and their struggles after they get there. They leave their homes out of fear for their lives or at least in the hope of providing a future for their families. They put themselves in the hands of human traffickers at the cost of their meager financial assets, of their human dignity and even of their lives. They crowd...