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.
Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has waged a war on the “throwaway culture,” in which anything can be commodified and given a dollar value, and where life itself can be, in his words, “considered a consumer good to be used and then discarded.”
When we hear the word “idolatry,” we probably think first of a golden calf and pagan worship. But idolatry, giving the reverence and devotion owed to God to something created instead, is actually a much more commonplace sin. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church warns us that idolatry “remains a constant temptation of faith.”