"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
October 22 is World Mission Day 2017. Pope Francis issued his message for the day on June 4, Pentecost Sunday. The Pope's message follows:
"... Once again this year, World Mission Day gathers us around the person of Jesus, 'the very first and greatest evangelizer' (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 7), who continually sends us forth to proclaim the Gospel of the love of God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. This Day invites us to reflect anew on the mission at the heart of the Christian faith. The Church is missionary by nature; otherwise, she would no longer be the Church of Christ, but one group among many others that soon end up serving their purpose and passing away. So it is important to ask ourselves certain questions about our Christian identity and our responsibility as believers in a world marked by confusion, disappointment, and frustration, and torn by numerous fratricidal wars that unjustly target the innocent. What is the basis of our mission? What is the heart of our mission? What are the essential approaches we need to take in carrying out our mission?
"1. The Church's mission, directed to all men and women of good will, is based on the transformative power of the Gospel. The Gospel is Good News filled with contagious joy, for it contains and offers new life: the life of the Risen Christ who, by bestowing His life-giving Spirit, becomes for us the Way, the Truth, and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6). He is the Way who invites us to follow Him with confidence and courage. In following Jesus as our Way, we experience Truth and receive His Life, which is fullness of communion with God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. That life sets us free from every kind of selfishness, and is a source of creativity in love.
"2. God the Father desires this existential transformation of His sons and daughters, a transformation that finds expression in worship in spirit and truth (cf. Jn 4:23-24), through a life guided by the Holy Spirit in imitation of Jesus the Son to the glory of God the Father. 'The glory of God is the living man' (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses IV, 20, 7). The preaching of the Gospel thus becomes a vital and effective word that accomplishes what it proclaims (cf. Is 55:10-11): Jesus Christ, who constantly takes flesh in every human situation (cf. Jn 1:14).
"3. The Church's mission, then, is not to spread a religious ideology, much less to propose a lofty ethical teaching. Many movements throughout the world inspire high ideals or ways to live a meaningful life. Through the mission of the Church, Jesus Christ Himself continues to evangelize and act; her mission thus makes present in history the kairos, the favorable time of salvation. Through the proclamation of the Gospel, the risen Jesus becomes our contemporary, so that those who welcome Him with faith and love can experience the transforming power of His Spirit, who makes humanity and creation fruitful, even as the rain does with the earth. 'His resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force' (Evangelii Gaudium, 276).
"4. Let us never forget that 'being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction' (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1). The Gospel is a Person who continually offers Himself and constantly invites those who receive Him with humble and religious faith to share His life by an effective participation in the paschal mystery of His death and resurrection. Through Baptism, the Gospel becomes a source of new life, freed of the dominion of sin, enlightened and transformed by the Holy Spirit. Through Confirmation, it becomes a fortifying anointing that, through the same Spirit, points out new ways and strategies for witness and accompaniment. Through the Eucharist, it becomes food for new life, a 'medicine of immortality' (Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Ephesios, 20, 2).
"5. The world vitally needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the Church, Christ continues His mission as the Good Samaritan, caring for the bleeding wounds of humanity, and as Good Shepherd, constantly seeking out those who wander along winding paths that lead nowhere. Thank God, many significant experiences continue to testify to the transformative power of the Gospel. I think of the gesture of the Dinka student who, at the cost of his own life, protected a student from the enemy Nuer tribe who was about to be killed. I think of that Eucharistic celebration in Kitgum, in northern Uganda, where, after brutal massacres by a rebel group, a missionary made the people repeat the words of Jesus on the cross: 'My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?' as an expression of the desperate cry of the brothers and sisters of the crucified Lord. For the people, that celebration was an immense source of consolation and courage. We can think too of countless testimonies to how the Gospel helps to overcome narrowness, conflict, racism, tribalism, and to promote everywhere, and among all, reconciliation, fraternity, and sharing.
"6. The Church's mission is enlivened by a spirituality of constant exodus. We are challenged 'to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel' (Evangelii Gaudium, 20). The Church's mission impels us to undertake a constant pilgrimage across the various deserts of life, through the different experiences of hunger and thirst for truth and justice. The Church's mission inspires a sense of constant exile, to make us aware, in our thirst for the infinite, that we are exiles journeying towards our final home, poised between the 'already' and 'not yet' of the Kingdom of Heaven.
"7. Mission reminds the Church that she is not an end unto herself, but a humble instrument and mediation of the Kingdom. A self-referential Church, one content with earthly success, is not the Church of Christ, His crucified and glorious Body. That is why we should prefer 'a Church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security' (ibid., 49).
"8. Young people are the hope of mission. The person of Jesus Christ and the Good News He proclaimed continue to attract many young people. They seek ways to put themselves with courage and enthusiasm at the service of humanity. 'There are many young people who offer their solidarity in the face of the evils of the world and engage in various forms of militancy and volunteering... How beautiful it is to see that young people are "street preachers," joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square, and every corner of the earth!' (ibid., 106). The next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in 2018 on the theme Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, represents a providential opportunity to involve young people in the shared missionary responsibility that needs their rich imagination and creativity.
"9. The Pontifical Mission Societies are a precious means of awakening in every Christian community a desire to reach beyond its own confines and security in order to proclaim the Gospel to all. In them, thanks to a profound missionary spirituality, nurtured daily, and a constant commitment to raising missionary awareness and enthusiasm, young people, adults, families, priests, bishops, and men and women religious work to develop a missionary heart in everyone. World Mission Day, promoted by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, is a good opportunity for enabling the missionary heart of Christian communities to join in prayer, testimony of life and communion of goods, in responding to the vast and pressing needs of evangelization.
"10. Dear brothers and sisters, in carrying out our mission, let us draw inspiration from Mary, Mother of Evangelization. Moved by the Spirit, she welcomed the Word of life in the depths of her humble faith. May the Virgin Mother help us to say our own 'yes,' conscious of the urgent need to make the Good News of Jesus resound in our time. May she obtain for us renewed zeal in bringing to everyone the Good News of the life that is victorious over death. May she intercede for us so that we can acquire the holy audacity needed to discover new ways to bring the gift of salvation to every man and woman".
An international meeting of prayer for peace, sponsored by the Sant'Egidio Community met September 10-12 in Munster and Osnabruck, Germany, Pope Francis sent a letter to the meeting. The letter, dated August 28, follows:
"... To all of you I offer cordial greetings and the assurance of my closeness in prayer.
"I thank the Dioceses of Munster and Osnabruck, and the Community of Sant'Egidio for bringing you together once more for this international meeting, whose theme is Paths of Peace. Last year we celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of this process of peace and dialogue initiated by Saint John Paul II in Assisi in 1986. It remains timely and necessary, as conflicts, violence, terrorism, and war increasingly threaten millions of persons, violate the sacredness of human life, and make us all more uncertain and vulnerable.
"This year's theme is an invitation to forge new paths of peace. How greatly this is needed, especially where conflicts seem intractable, where the will to undertake processes of reconciliation is lacking, where trust is placed in arms and not in dialogue, thus leaving entire peoples plunged into a dark night of violence, without hope for a dawn of peace. Yet countless of our brothers and sisters continue to 'thirst for peace,' as we affirmed last year in Assisi. Alongside political and civil leaders, who are responsible for promoting peace everywhere, today and in the future, the religions are called, by prayer and by humble, concrete and constructive efforts, to respond to this thirst, to identify and, together with all men and women of good will, to pave tirelessly new paths of peace.
"Our path to peace is not that of those who profane God's name by spreading hatred; it has nothing to do with the bane of war, the folly of terrorism, or the illusory force of arms. Ours must be a path of peace, uniting 'many religious traditions for which compassion and nonviolence are essential elements pointing to the way of life' (cf. Message for the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2017, 4). Making space for peace calls for humility and courage, tenacity and perseverance; more than anything else, it demands prayer, since - as I firmly believe - prayer is the taproot of peace. As religious leaders, particularly at this present moment of history, we also have a special responsibility to be and to live as people of peace, bearing insistent witness that God detests war, that war is never holy, and that violence can never be perpetrated or justified in the name of God. We are likewise called to trouble consciences, to spread hope, to encourage and support peacemakers everywhere.
"What we may not and must not do is remain indifferent, allowing tragedies of hatred to pass unnoticed, and men and women to be cast aside for the sake of power and profit. Your meeting in these days, and your desire to blaze new paths of peace and for peace, can be seen as a response to the call to overcome indifference in the face of human suffering. I thank you for this, and for the fact that you have gathered, despite your differences, to seek processes of liberation from the evils of war and hatred. For this to happen, the first step is to feel the pain of others, to make it our own, neither overlooking it or becoming inured to it. We must never grow accustomed or indifferent to evil.
"Yet the question remains: What can be done to respond to such growing evil? Is it not too strong? Is every effort useless? In the face of such questions, there is the risk of paralysis and resignation. You, however, have embarked upon a journey, and today you gather to offer an answer. Indeed, your very gathering represents a response of peace: no longer are some against others; now all stand beside one another. The religions cannot desire anything less than peace, as they pray and serve, ever ready to help those hurt by life and oppressed by history, ever concerned to combat indifference and to promote paths of communion.
"It is significant that your meeting takes place in the heart of Europe, in this year that marks the sixtieth anniversary of the signing in Rome of the founding treaties of the Union. Peace has been at the heart of Europe's reconstruction following the devastation caused by two disastrous world wars and the terrible tragedy of the Shoah. May your presence in Germany be a sign and a summons for Europe to cultivate peace through a commitment to paving new paths to a solid unity within and a greater openness without. May we never forget that peace is not only the fruit of our human efforts, but of openness to God.
"Together let us continue to forge new paths of peace, lighting candles of peace amid the darkness of hatred. May all men and women long 'to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong... May all peoples accept one another as brothers and sisters , and may the peace for which they yearn ever flourish and reign among them' (JOHN XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris, AAS 55. 304)."
Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane
Bishop of Venice
Chairman of the Committee
on Domestic Justice
and Human Development
United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops
September 4, 2017
This Labor Day, we find ourselves at a time of kairos, a moment of crisis as well as opportunity. Over the past year, Pope Francis has drawn our attention to problems in the world of work that seek to undermine our understanding of the dignity of the person and threaten the stability of society. The Pope has also called us to action based on the truth about the nature of work which is intended to support the flourishing of the family. As the Holy Father recently remarked, work "comes from the first command that God gave to Adam .... There has always been friendship between the Church and work, starting with a working Jesus. Where there is a worker, there is the interest and the gaze of love of the Lord and of the Church."1
What does our Lord's "gaze of love" see today? Surely He honors the parents and grandparents who offer their work as "prayers said with the hands"2 for their family and future. In turn, we thank God for the vocation of work, which, when healthy, "anoints" with dignity, helps children grow into adults, and strengthens cooperation across all people in our society.3 "Brother work," in Pope Francis' words, is formational and sustaining for every human life and community, and is essential to our faith.4
God's "gaze of love" also receives all those who are struggling with work. A lack of work can be devastating to the human person, and it can undermine solidarity and destabilize society. "[T]he entire social pact is built around work," Pope Francis told a gathering of factory workers in Genoa. "This is the core of the problem. Because when you do not work, or you work badly, you work little or you work too much, it is democracy that enters into crisis, and the entire social pact."5
Our Lord's "gaze of love" embraces men and women who work long hours without rest to provide for their loved ones; families who move across towns, states, and nations, facing the highest risks and often suffering great tragedy in order to find better opportunities; workers who endure unsafe working conditions, low pay, and health crises; women who suffer wage disparities and exploitation; and those who suffer the effects of racism in any setting, including the workplace. Our Lord knows that too often, hidden from the world's view, our brothers and sisters' dreams for a better life are shattered in unthinkable ways as they become victims of labor trafficking, viciously exploited as mere objects instead of being treated as persons created with God-given dignity.
Pope Francis rejects economic approaches that are driven by the "throw away" culture, systems which prize only commercial value and recognize no other values or truths.6 The Holy Father connects the idolatry of consumerism to the undervaluing of labor and the erosion of the social pact.7 Here, Francis echoes the warnings of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on the dangers to society of excessive inequalities in the economic sphere:
The dignity of the individual and the demands of justice require, particularly today, that economic choices do not cause disparities in wealth to increase in an excessive and morally unacceptable manner, and that we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone.... Through the systemic increase of social inequality, both within a single country and between the populations of different countries (i.e. the massive increase in relative poverty), not only does social cohesion suffer, thereby placing democracy at risk, but so too does the economy, through the progressive erosion of "social capital": the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence.8
Study after study shows that the economy is growing and unemployment is declining-but wages remain stagnant or are decreasing for the vast majority of people, while a smaller percentage collect the new wealth being generated.9 Economic stresses contribute to a decline in marriage rates, increases in births outside of two-parent households, and child poverty. Economic instability also hurts the faith community, as Americans who have recently experienced unemployment are less likely to go to Church, even though such communities can be a source of great support in difficult times. Bound up in economic and social trauma are the increased use of contraception, higher abortion rates, greater abuse of alcohol and drugs, and increases in crime. When unethical labor conditions weaken the social pact, society can become vulnerable to attempts to use fear, and our care and concern for one another can disintegrate into blame and suspicion.10
What, then, is to be done? Pope Francis calls us to action. In his message for the First World Day of the Poor, which will be celebrated later this year, the Pope recalls the words of St. John: "Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth." (1 Jn 3:18). We must be moved to conversion and action.
The Christian recognizes that the path of reform is not a political or economic program.11 The Way is Jesus Christ. The human person can encounter Him in the Church. The solution to repairing the damage done to economic and social solidarity begins with us following Jesus more closely: for all to become more like the Good Samaritan, and for the Church to become more like the good innkeeper, to whom the afflicted are entrusted.12 Francis notes that this requires us to "become neighbor" to each person we meet in need, filled with "the capacity to suffer with someone else."13 We see a powerful example of this now along the Gulf Coast, where emergency responders and relief workers alike are acting as Good Samaritans to all who are in distress from the impacts of Hurricane Harvey. This is the Christian way to displace fear and blame in society: love that suffers in support of another.
Worker-owned businesses can be a force for strengthening solidarity, as the Second Vatican Council encouraged businesses to consider "the active sharing of all in the administration and profits of these enterprises in ways to be properly determined." When decisions are made that greatly affect workers and their families, "the workers themselves should have a share also in determining these conditions-in person or through freely elected delegates."14 The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has helped in the formation of many employee-owned companies which provide jobs in communities where work opportunities may be scarce.15
When workers and labor are properly honored, the social bonds of society are strengthened. Work is not just about individual growth and development. When work finds its proper role in the life of society, Pope Francis explains, it is the great teacher of cooperation and solidarity.16 Daily work is a form of "civil love" that "makes the world live and carry on."17
As Pope Francis and his predecessors point out, however, excessive inequality threatens this cooperation and the social pact it supports.18 This is occurring even though many economic indicators show continuing growth, in some sectors at a record-setting pace. Leaders in business and government must revisit, therefore, the Church's moral framework on balancing the legitimate role of profit in a business and the moral obligations to pay a just wage. This teaching grew out of the historical experience of the industrial revolution. In St. John Paul II's words, the industrial revolution's "unheard-of accompanying exploitation in the field of wages, working conditions and social security" led to a reaction against the whole system, and "it must be frankly recognized that the reaction against the system of injustice and harm that cried to heaven for vengeance and that weighed heavily upon workers in that period of rapid industrialization was justified from the point of view of social morality."19
Today, we are in the midst of a technological revolution, which has coincided with severe economic disparity and threatens to continue or accelerate due to many factors such as the growing presence of automation technology in the workplace. Once again, we see in many places the consequences of widespread failures to pay a just wage and to honor the dignity of work for each person. The root of the problem, which remains prominent, comes from an errant understanding that "human work is solely an instrument of production" such that business leaders "following the principle of maximum profit, tr[y] to establish the lowest possible wages for the work done by the employees."20 A just wage, however, is not the principle of maximum profit; rather, it is "the concrete means of verifying the justice of the whole socioeconomic system and, in any case, of checking that it is functioning justly.... This means of checking concerns above all the family. Just remuneration for the work of an adult who is responsible for a family means remuneration which will suffice for establishing and properly maintaining a family and for providing security for its future."21 The Church draws the heart of a business owner to the foundational truth of what business should be about:
The purpose of a business firm is not simply to make a profit but is to be found in its very existence as a community of persons who in various ways are endeavoring to satisfy their basic needs, and who form a particular group at the service of the whole of society. Profit is a regulator of the life of a business, but it is not the only one; other human and moral factors must also be considered which, in the long term, are at least equally important for the life of a business.22
When a parent-working full time, or even working multiple jobs beyond standard working hours-cannot bring his or her family out of poverty, something is terribly wrong with how we value the work of a person. All those involved in the determination of wages, in the public and private sectors, must grapple with this serious moral responsibility, for "the justice of the whole socioeconomic system" depends upon it.
One powerful way to protect the dignity of the person is through the law. Legal protections cannot solve all problems when the culture itself must also change.23 Nevertheless, legal protections and important gains that humanize the workplace are vital and should be supported and strengthened.
First, workers' legal rights to a just wage in exchange for work, to protection against wage theft, to workplace safety and just compensation for workplace injuries, to health care and other benefits, and to organize and engage in negotiations, should be promoted. Migrants and refugees should receive careful consideration, including the conditions that allow for dignified work and protections against trafficking. The law should also seek to avoid wage disparities for women, and exploitation of any kind.24 It should also encourage work environments that recognize and seek to end racism and its effects. The USCCB's newly established Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism will be dedicated to addressing the sin of racism throughout our society, which includes the workplace.
Second, the law should encourage entrepreneurs to choose the best interests of workers and a healthy culture over exploitation and expediency. Pope Francis has said that the good entrepreneur "knows his workers, because he works alongside them" and "shares the joys of work, of solving problems together, of creating something together."25 These leaders find that laying someone off is "always a painful decision and he would not do it if possible.... He always suffers, and sometimes from this suffering new ideas emerge to avoid dismissal." By contrast, the "speculator" is without a moral grounding, and "uses, exploits, 'eats' people [in order] to reach profit targets." Business can be "friendly to people and even to the poor" when it is run by good entrepreneurs, but under a "speculator," the economy becomes "faceless" and "abstract." Laws should reward those who remember the faces of persons engaged in and impacted by the economy and discourage the abstraction that leads to exploitation.
Third, workers must be aided to come to know and exercise their legal rights. As an example, CCHD has supported the Don Bosco Workers in Westchester, NY, which has launched a successful campaign to combat wage theft.26 Persons returning from prison also need support to understand their legal rights as they seek new employment. CCHD has helped the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati and elsewhere as they work with returning citizens to find stable and meaningful jobs.27
Pope Francis challenges us to confront a twisted understanding of the purposes of labor which does not recognize talents as gifts from God. With such a mindset, it becomes possible to improperly justify economic and societal injustices. The Pope acknowledges that "merit" is "a beautiful word," but the modern world can often use it "ideologically," which makes it "distorted and perverted" when it is used for "ethically legitimizing inequality."28 This view is especially pernicious when it blames the poor as "undeserving." But this is not the message of the Gospel:
A second consequence of the so-called "meritocracy" is the change of the culture of poverty. The poor person is considered undeserving and therefore to blame. And if poverty is the fault of the poor, the rich are exonerated from doing anything. This is the old logic of Job's friends, who wanted to convince him that he was guilty of his misfortune. But this is not the logic of the Gospel, it is not the logic of life: meritocracy in the Gospel is instead found in the figure of the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son. He despises his younger brother and thinks he must remain a failure because he deserves it; instead the father thinks no son deserves the acorns that are for the pigs.30
How different this false view is from the "gaze of love" that the Lord has for the worker! In following the Lord in deed and in truth, we must advocate for those in a state of misfortune, as the prodigal's father did when he made clear that his younger son could never be stripped of his inherent dignity.
Pope Francis recently reiterated the still essential role of labor unions in society:
There is no good society without a good union, and there is no good union that is not reborn every day in the peripheries, that does not transform the discarded stones of the economy into its cornerstones.31
The Pope laid out two "epochal challenges" that unions must face in the world today. First, he explained that unions must retain and recover their prophetic voice, which "regards the very nature itself of the union, its truest vocation. The union is an expression of the prophetic profile of society."32 The union is "born and reborn" whenever it "gives a voice to those who have none, denounces those who would 'sell the needy for a pair of sandals' (cf. Amos 2:6), unmasks the powerful who trample the rights of the most vulnerable workers, defends the cause of the foreigner, the least, the discarded.... the unions movement has its great seasons when it is prophecy."33 Thus, the union should resist the temptation of "becoming too similar to the institutions and powers that it should instead criticize. The union, with the passing of time, has ended up resembling politics, or rather, political parties, their language, their style," the Pope said.34 Without the prophetic voice, a union's "actions within businesses will lose strength and effectiveness."35
The second challenge is "innovation": although the union must watch over those within its care, it must also work for those outside its walls in order to innovate and protect those "who do not yet have rights."36 Unions are especially valuable when they speak on behalf of the poor, the immigrant, and the person returning from prison.
When workers do not have adequate time to rest, families suffer. Also lost is the necessary time for spiritual growth and building a relationship with God. Pope Francis has said it is "inhuman" that parents must spend so much time working that they cannot play with their children.37 Surely many wish for more time, but their working conditions do not allow it. As St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "Even as God rests in Himself alone and is happy in the enjoyment of Himself, so our own sole happiness lies in the enjoyment of God. Thus, also, He makes us find rest in Himself, both from His works and our own. It is not, then, unreasonable to say that God rested in giving rest to us."38 A culture that obsesses less over endless activity and consumption may, over time, become a culture that values rest for the sake of God and family. Employers ought to consider the total well-being of their employees and prioritize conditions that help them to thrive as human persons. Wages and working hours should support the fundamental needs of people to form and nurture families. The spiritual needs of workers must also be taken into account, so that God may more easily draw them into deeper relationship toward their ultimate purpose.
Work, properly understood, can be a place of great sanctity, giving expression to the deep yearnings of the human person; where people are permitted to-and, indeed, do-embrace work as a cooperation with God's creative power, the mundane can become transcendent. As Pope Francis points out, many Biblical encounters between persons and God occurred at work: "Moses hears the voice of God calling him, and revealing his name while grazing his father-in-law's flock; Jesus' first disciples were fishermen and were called by Him while working by the lake."39
This notion that work is sacred is essential, not only to understanding our work, but also to coming to know God Himself; nowhere do we see this more powerfully than in the Eucharist. The Holy Father calls us to drink more deeply of this idea: "Work is a friend of prayer; work is present every day in the Eucharist, whose gifts are the fruit of man's land and work. A world that no longer knows the values, and the value, of work does not understand the Eucharist either, the true and human prayer of workers . . ."40
On this Labor Day, then, let us give thanks to God present to us in the Eucharist as we toil for our heavenly reward. Let us give thanks for the human vocation to work, and strive to make our businesses, our communities, our nation, and our world places where the human person can fully thrive. And let us give thanks, finally, for the opportunity to encounter Christ present in those in need, along with the great gifts that come in demonstrating care and concern for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, including those experiencing great poverty in the area of work. May we all earnestly seek to adopt God's "gaze of love" as our own, to envision and make real a world of work restored "in deed and in truth."
1Pope Francis, Meeting with the World of Work at the Ilva Factory, Genoa, Italy, May 27, 2017,
6See, e.g., Message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the Occasion of the World Meeting of Population Movements
in Modesto, February 10, 2017,
7See, e.g., Modesto; Ilva Factory
8Caritas in Veritate, no. 32 (referencing Populorum Progressio, no. 33) (emphasis in original)
9See also, Caritas in Veritate, no. 22 ("The world's wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. In rich countries, new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty and new forms of poverty are emerging") (emphasis in original).
11See, e.g., First Homily of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, March 14, 2013 (". . . we can build many things,
but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church
.... what happens? The same thing that happens to children on the beach when they build sandcastles: everything
is swept away").
14Gaudium et Spes, no. 68.
15For example, CCHD helped support Opportunity Threads. See, Duda, John. "How a worker cooperative factory is
helping bring textile manufacturing back to North Carolina." Community-wealth.org, October 16, 2014.
16Pope Francis, Audience with Delegates from the Confederation of Trade Unions in Italy, June 28, 2017.
18See, e.g., Modesto, Ilva Factory; Caritas in Veritate, no. 32 (referencing Populorum Progressio, no. 33).
19St. John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, nos. 8, 11 (citing Dt 24:15; Jas 5:4; and also Gen 4:10) (emphasis in original).
21Laborem Exercens, no. 19 (emphasis in original).
22Centesimus Annus, no. 35 (emphasis in original).
23See, e.g., Laudato si', no. 123 ("We should not think that political efforts or the force of law will be sufficient to prevent actions which affect the environment because, when the culture itself is corrupt and objective truth and universally valid principles are no longer upheld, then laws can only be seen as arbitrary impositions or obstacles to be avoided").
24See, e.g., Ilva Factory
26USCCB Department of Justice Peace & Human Development, "Wage Theft: A Threat to the Worker and to Economic
Development." To Go Forth.
27See, Curnutte, Mark. "Former inmate helps others re-enter society." USA Today. February 20, 2015.
31See Trade Unions (emphasis in original).
32Id. (emphasis in original)
36Id. (emphasis in original)
38 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, Q. 73, A.2.
39 Ilva Factory
40See, Ilva Factory
(Editor's note: This statement is reprinted with permission of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
Hurricane Harvey may be an "act of God," but it can bring out godly acts in others. Courtney Kiolbass, for example, tells of a friend who spoke of her dad, who has back problems and the way his neighbors knocked on his door to help him move furniture upstairs.
She writes, "There are stories of civilians with boats rowing down the streets that have turned into rivers in order to rescue complete strangers. Emergency officials put their life on the line to do their job. I see photos of people transporting children and the elderly alike, crossing the water to get others to safety. A priest got in his kayak and went to check on parishioners."
Tens of thousands of people were displaced due to Katrina, including the Rojas family now of Robstown, Texas. Jesus Rojas says, "I want to thank the Fire Department of Robstown for courage to show up in the storm while the tremendous power, the wind, the rain were going and they were still out here trying their best, it was incredible!"
"Appreciate what you have, listen to the warnings, hug your children and thank God for today and yesterday," Natali Rojas advises, "and pray for a better tomorrow. Some may blame God, and some may blame the hurricane, but the only thing standing were holy things, as you can see this statue is the only thing that survived. I dug in there for things and all I found is a Virgin Mary."
Jude McFarland and Candace also relocated after Katrina. Then McFarland carried his expectant wife through neck-deep water for hours until he found an Army vehicle to take them to a hospital across the Mississippi. They named their daughter Miracle. Now in Corpus Christi with two sons added to the family they had to endure Harvey. "I'm just trying to be strong for my family," said McFarland.
Isabel Pena gave birth to Kataleya Rose by the light of cell phones as Harvey pelted Corpus Christi. She wasn't breathing for the long two minutes before the paramedics came. "She wanted to make her entrance; she made it!" Pena remarked.
Loralynn was born by Caesarean to Danielle Weeks in Corpus Christi after their home in Port Arkansas and their car were destroyed and their RV flipped over. Her husband Will called the little bundle their miracle and said, "as long as she is safe nothing else matters."
Brian Greene, who once headed the New Orleans food bank, also moved after Katrina, and is now president of the Houston Food Bank. Greene housed half a dozen of his neighbors in single-story homes, until volunteers came by on a boat Sunday night, took them out his second-story window and ferried them to emergency shelters.
"We are trying to wait it out. We have water and ham sandwiches," Destiny Wilson said. "I learned at a young age to value family and not material things, because we lost everything in Katrina."
Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carried both 13-month-old Aiden Pham and his mother. Alexandre Jourde with wet suit and paddleboard was also photographed paddling through rising flood waters four-year-old Ethan Colman. Dr. Stephen Kimmel canoed to the hospital through flood waters to a teen who need emergency surgery.
Dean Mize drove to Houston from his home in Chandler, almost 200 miles away, to lend a hand with his boat and truck. Mize spent the night trying to rescue Shardea Harrison and her three-week-old daughter Sarai baby girl from their home. Jason Legnon from Louisiana's propeller boat took all to safety.
Houston Texan star JJ Watt, among other, put together a Hurricane Harvey fundraiser. Watt promoted it on "Good Morning America" explaining, "What's happening right now is so much bigger than football."
(A Christian Perspective on World News)
WASHINGTON-Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty has issued the following statement in response to the line of questioning directed at a federal judicial nominee earlier this week.
Archbishop Lori's full statement follows:
"America has a strong and venerable tradition of pluralism that respects all religious views. In this context, this week's hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is deeply disappointing. Rather than simply consider the professional achievements of a nominee for the federal judiciary, multiple senators challenged her fitness to serve due to her Catholic faith.
Such questions are not just contrary to our Constitution and our best national traditions, which protect the free exercise of one's faith and reject religious tests for public office, they are offensive to basic human rights. They also, sadly, harken back to a time in our country when anti-Catholic bigotry did distort our laws and civil order. These comments are a reminder that we must remain vigilant against latent bigotries that may still infect our national soul.
Were the comments of the Senators meant as a warning shot to future law students and attorneys, that they should never discuss their faith in a public forum, if they have aspirations to serve in the federal judiciary? In truth, we should be encouraging faithful, ethical attorneys to serve in public office, not discouraging them by subjecting them to inappropriate, unnecessary interrogation based on their religious beliefs.
People of faith-whatever faith they may hold-should not be disqualified because of that faith from serving the public good. Rather than hold people of faith in suspicion, our laws and lawmakers should tolerate, if not celebrate, the role faith has in society and in the lives of individuals. To do otherwise is contrary to the ideals of a healthy, pluralistic society."
(Source: USCCB press release)
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) joined thirty-two other major pro-life, religious, and health care organizations on September 6 urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 644/S. 301). Signatories include numerous medical groups representing tens of thousands of health care professionals who object to abortion and are seeking legal protection to serve their patients in good conscience.
"Federal laws protecting conscientious objection to abortion have been approved for decades by Congresses and Presidents of both parties. Even many 'pro-choice' Americans realize that the logic of their position requires them to respect a choice not to be involved in abortion," they wrote. "Yet, with violations of federal conscience laws occurring in California, New York, Washington, Alaska, Illinois, and most recently Oregon, it is increasingly clear that the current laws offer far less protection in practice than in theory."
The Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 644/S. 301), introduced in the House on January 24 by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and in the Senate on February 3 by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), addresses several "loopholes" in current federal laws that have allowed violations of conscience rights to continue. The letter cites a 2014 California mandate requiring almost all health plans in the state to pay for elective abortions in direct violation of the Weldon amendment, and the subsequent failure of the HHS Office of Civil Rights to enforce Weldon. It also cites the government's failure to vindicate the rights of New York nurse Cathy DeCarlo after she was pressured to assist at a late-term abortion.
The joint letter highlights the modest nature of the bill, explaining that it "would mean almost no change in the substantive policy of Congress" but "would be an enormous step forward in assuring Americans who serve the sick and needy that they can do so without being forced by government to violate their most deeply held convictions on respect for innocent human life."
The full text of their letter to Senate is posted at:
For more on the bishops' promotion of conscience rights, including a video about a nurse who was coerced to take part in a late-term abortion, visit: www.usccb.org/conscience.
(Source: USCCB press release)
WASHINGTON-The Executive Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to extend DACA renewal deadlines in hurricane impacted states. The statement also urges Congress to find a durable and permanent solution on behalf of DACA youth and urges the Administration to allow 75,000 refugee admissions into the United States in 2018. The full statement from the USCCB Executive Committee follows:
"The Executive Committee of the USCCB, meeting this week, makes its own the Statement of the USCCB President and others on September 5th, which expressed extreme disappointment with the administration's decision to end DACA with a six month wind-down period, and committed the USCCB to redouble its efforts to help find a permanent legislative solution in Congress.
"In light of many years of failure by Congress, whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats, to address the situation, the Committee urges the Catholic faithful and all people of good will to contact their representatives in Congress to urge the passage of the DREAM Act or similar legislation as a prompt, humane, and durable solution to this problem of greatest urgency. The Executive Committee also notes the tremendous contributions of the DACA youth to date as extraordinary, including the fact that many serve in our military.
"In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and the devastation left behind, the Executive Committee requests that the Department of Homeland Security extend the October 5, 2018 deadline for the DACA renewals that fall within the October 5- March 5, 2018 renewal period for those living in hurricane-affected zones. As Texas and Florida have some of the largest populations of DACA youth, we ask that you ensure that these individuals receive fair access to renew and are not unduly punished due to natural disaster. We fear that they cannot adequately do so at this time given the physical damage on the ground.
"The Committee is further troubled and deeply concerned, as the President nears a final decision to reduce the number of refugees welcomed in the United States by 50%, that the administration will unduly restrict our reception of those in search of safety for their families. The USCCB proposes that 75,000 refugees, already a reduction of over 25% from the previous determination, be the goal for welcoming refugee admissions for 2018. Going further down to 50,000 or below, as proposed in previous Executive Orders by the President, is simply inhumane, particularly when our great nation has the resources and ability to do more.
"We implore the administration to show mercy and compassion for those seeking refuge, and to advance the American value of freedom through providing safe harbor to those fleeing tyranny and religious persecution.
"In this moment of moral decision, we look to Pope Francis, who in his address to Congress stated: 'We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' (Mt 7:12). To this end, we believe that deporting exemplary young people who were brought here as children and who know only the United States as their home - or failing to do all we can to help refugees and their families, who are often driven to exile by war and extreme exploitation - is not in our interests as a moral and generous people. Our country has the right and responsibility to regulate its border. We ask that it be done humanely."
(Source: USCCB press release)
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com