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.
In January, I was on a men’s retreat in the Boundary Waters and had to leave early for a family emergency. My 6-year-old son Isaiah, who had a congenital heart defect and other serious health issues, was admitted to the hospital for his 50th — and last — time. He died the following Friday while holding my hand.
There is, in many quarters, increasing concern about the hyper-charged political correctness that has gripped our campuses and other forums of public conversation. Even great works of literature and philosophy — from “Huckleberry Finn” and “Heart of Darkness” to, believe it or not, Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” — are now regularly accompanied by “trigger warnings” that alert prospective readers to the racism, sexism, homophobia or classism contained therein.
I’ve been listening to Lillian Cunningham’s “Presidential” podcast, trying to glean insights into our nation’s earliest leaders. In a month that is sure to contain fireworks — from the Fourth of July to the Republican and Democratic conventions — it feels quieting and introspective to cast my mind back to our first presidents.
Don’t we all love just a little bit of comfort? We reminisce about the things that bring us comfort: the food our mother made as a child, sitting outside on a warm summer day — and waking up before the sunrise on a Saturday morning for a men’s group.
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.
This spring, I was given the great gift of a 10-week sabbatical in Jerusalem and Israel — the land of the Bible. It was absolutely amazing to walk in the places where Jesus walked. It was an enormous grace to be able to tangibly honor the sites of his ministry, death and resurrection.
It had been a long Thursday, and Brooke Paris couldn’t wait to take off her heels, peel off her contacts and wipe off her make-up. She changed into her pajamas, climbed into bed and opened her MacBook to the pope’s new apostolic exhortation.