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.
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.”