Much can and has been said about the most recent election, and much more will be said for years to come. What is undoubtedly true is that the election cycle exacerbated two powerful dynamics in American public life: the constant thirst for change as a reaction to a political system that does not seem to work for average Americans, and deepening vitriolic divisions between people.
Over the past several months, many faithful Catholics have expressed deep dissatisfaction with this year’s presidential election, and understandably so: Neither major party candidate seems personally guided by a consistent ethic of life, and there are deep, concerning questions about the character of both.
During election season, we hear a great deal about “following our consciences” and the need for conscience formation. The U.S. bishops offer their guide to faithful citizenship so that the principles of Catholic social teaching might inform our Election Day decisions, and a number of organizations similarly produce a range of voting guides.
As we commemorate the passing of one year since Pope Francis released his encyclical “Laudato Si’” (“On the Care for Our Common Home”), it is worth reminding ourselves how the pope’s representation of Catholic social doctrine through the lens of “integral ecology” can help us address some of the most challenging socio-political problems of our day, especially as we evaluate candidates in this election season.
The Church in the United States will once again observe the Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4. This two-week period is an opportunity for the whole Church to pray, study and reflect upon the great gift of religious freedom — our first, most cherished liberty.
In his recently released exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), Pope Francis affirms the family as the foundational unit of society, the place where children are nurtured and formed in love and where spouses grow in self-giving. “The welfare of the family,” the Holy Father says, “is decisive for the future of the world and that of the Church.”
When the bishops of Minnesota had breakfast with Gov. Mark Dayton and met with legislators at the State Capitol in mid-March, they weren’t just “keeping up appearances.” Beyond the pleasantries and the occasional photo-op, the day was a powerful encapsulation of the mission of the Minnesota Catholic Conference: to protect human dignity and advance the common good by living out the Church’s right and responsibility to participate in public conversation about laws and policies.