MSW Previews Pope Francis’ US Trip

Michael Sean Winters of NCR has written an excellent preview of the pope’s upcoming visit to the United States. Check out each of the articles:

Pope Francis is Coming! Part 1 by Michael Sean Winters: “The overarching theme is this: The Church has become too self-referential and worldly, and this has crippled its ability to evangelize, to spread the Good News, to be the graced sacrament where people encounter the Risen Lord, leaving the Church sick or irrelevant or both, and the antidote is a Church of encounter, especially at the margins, after the model of Jesus. That, in one sentence, is the essence of this pontificate and he returns to this theme again and again.” Read More

A Catholic Approach to Gun Violence: An Interview with Nancy Grogan

With mass shootings, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the recent rise in murder rates in numerous big cities all making headlines, now seems like a good time to think about the relationship between Catholic values and approaches to reducing gun violence. In this interview, Millennial editor Robert Christian addresses these topics with the founder of the organization Philadelphia Catholics for Fewer Guns, Nancy Grogan, a graduate of St. Joseph’s University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is a board member at CeaseFirePA, a statewide coalition of mayors, police chiefs, faith leaders, community organizations and individual Pennsylvanians working together to take a stand against gun violence. Read More

Pope Francis isn’t a Democrat (or a Republican)

Millennial co-founder Christopher Hale has a new article at Time. He writes:

Playing political football with the pope is a tradition as old as the office itself. From ancient Roman emperors to Renaissance English monarchs to modern-day Congressmen, politicians have long have used the pope to push ideological agendas. Under Francis’s predecessor Benedict XVI, many political actors in the U.S. tried to suggest that the German pope’s opposition to gay marriage and abortion meant that his priorities and those of the Catholic Church lined up neatly with the Republican Party. One prominent conservative Catholic commentator even went as far to argue that Benedict didn’t really believe his own scathing 2009 critique of the global economy.

Sadly, many Democrats have tried to do the same with Francis. In September 2013, Slate’s William Saletan wrote an essay entitled “Pope Francis is a liberal.” Saletan’s piece followed Francis’s interview with Jesuit publications in which he argued that the Church shouldn’t become “obsessed” with abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. The same day the interview was published Pope Francis denounced abortion as a part of the “throwaway culture.”

Francis is neither a Democrat nor a Republican. The politics of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church don’t fit well in either major American political party. His expected critique of radical individualism in front of Congress next month is expected to push back on the short-sighted priorities of both.

The full article can be read here.

Pope Francis to Single Mom: Don’t Be Ashamed, You Are Brave and Respect Life

via ABC News:

In Los Angeles, Rosemary Farfan, 31, shared with the pontiff her struggles as a single mother to daughters Alyssa, 11, and Celeste, 8.

She told ABC News that she and her daughters had stayed at Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children until June. The shelter had helped the trio find an apartment and get back on their feet.

“It hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve made some mistakes as a person, as a mother,” Farfan said. “I’ve felt guilty at times and ashamed. … But every day, I try and I hope and I pray.”

Pope Francis responded by praising her courage and respect for life:

“I know that people can sometimes look askance at you. You’re a brave woman because you’re capable of bringing these two daughters into the world. … You respected the life you were carrying inside you and God is going to reward you for that and he does reward for you for that. Don’t be ashamed. … I congratulate you.”


Before Noon: Life and Death in a Throwaway Culture

7:15 in the morning, leaving in a hurry for work, I recite a prayer before exiting my house because there’s no certainty that I’ll return. I say good morning to neighbors while walking, thinking of my agenda for the day.

Down the road, I see Carlos, sitting on his porch. He’s wearing a yellow swimsuit today. He approaches and greets me, as always, with a smile.

“Good morning,” he says, “I hope you’re well!”

And I respond in kind.

I stop for a second, to look at him, because he seems thoughtful this morning, worried maybe. Alongside him sit his two skinny dogs.

Carlos is a young man, maybe eighteen years old. I can’t tell you his age for sure, but I know that he has no mother and father. He lives with his aunt and three female cousins who also lost their mother and father. Their small familial circle is the poorest in the community. Moreover, they all suffer some degree of mental impairment—Carlos included. He doesn’t know how to read or write. At his age, he cannot find work. He runs errands for the family and occasionally takes odd jobs that might earn him a few cents here and there—money he uses to help feed his cousins. Carlos and his family sit at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. They are the poorest, the most destitute, the most excluded, marginalized, and forgotten. Still, Carlos greets his neighbors with a smile and his cousins with a hug. Read More