The Catholic faith has long drawn attention to the serious and sinister consequences of pornography on the human soul. In 2016, for instance, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released “Create in Me a Clean Heart,” a pastoral letter describing pornography’s ability to distort one’s understanding of human sexuality and stunt his or her capacity for self-giving love. The bishops condemned pornography as part of the “throwaway culture” Pope Francis has described and warned that its harms “include physiological, financial, emotional, mental and spiritual effects.”
Exactly one 100 years ago, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children outside of Fatima, Portugal, sharing with them some extraordinary messages and prophecies. But Our Lady of Fatima’s most urgent plea was for repentance — on behalf of ourselves, sinners and entire nations — as well as for people to pray the rosary. In the end, she promised, her Immaculate Heart would triumph.
The first tumultuous weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency have seen marches, rallies and demonstrations across the country, held in opposition to, or in support of, at least some part of the president’s agenda. Millions have taken part, and the trend shows no sign of stopping. To put it mildly, activism is in the air.
This year, the bishops of Minnesota are hosting an exciting event in St. Paul March 9 called Catholics at the Capitol. With critical issues such as the legalization of assisted suicide and persistent family poverty at stake, Catholics concerned with life and human dignity cannot afford to miss it.
The debate over immigration policy is inevitably heating up as we prepare for Donald Trump’s inauguration as president. Undoubtedly, an early priority of his presidency will be to increase border security and re-examine President Obama’s immigration enforcement policies.
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.