Cardinal O’Malley Endorses Catholic Climate Petition

via Brian Roewe at NCR:

The Global Catholic Climate Movement announced Friday that Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley has become the latest prelate to sign their Catholic Climate Petition, joining 20 individual bishops, more than 200 Catholic organizations and more than 600,000 people from around the world.

The list of supporters includes Pope Francis, who in May endorsed the petition, though a papal representative signed on his behalf due to protocol preventing popes from individually signing such documents.

The petition seeks for global leaders attending the United Nations climate change conference, or COP 21, to reach agreement on a deal to collectively address climate change. The conference opens Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 11. A deal is expected to bind each country to pledges to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and for developed countries to provide financing and assistance to underdeveloped countries in transitioning to clean energy technology and adopting mechanisms to both mitigate and adapt to a changing climate.

The climate petition reads:

“Climate change affects everyone, but especially the poor and most vulnerable people among us. Inspired by Pope Francis and the Laudato Si’ encyclical, we call on you to drastically cut carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous 1.5°C threshold, and to aid the world’s poorest in coping with climate change impacts.”

O’Malley is the second U.S. bishop to sign the petition, and the first active head of a diocese. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., has also signed the plea….

Notable international bishop signers include Tagle, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India, and Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

You join Cardinal Sean, these other great Catholic leaders, and hundreds of thousands of others by signing the petition here.


Catching Up on the Synod

Millennial’s primary focus is not on internal Church issues, the focus of this month’s Synod on the Family. But with the Synod touching upon topics that affect the overall mission of the Church, we wanted to give our readers a few resources for catching up on the latest news and analysis from the Synod.

For extensive coverage, check out: Crux’s coverage, featuring John Allen, Michael O’Loughlin, and Inés San Martín; Austen Ivereigh’s updates at Catholic Voices; NCR’s coverage of the Synod from Joshua McElwee and others; Gerard O’Connell’s posts for America; David Gibson’s articles at RNS; Grant Gallicho’s posts at Commonweal; Fr. Thomas Rosica on social media; Rocco Palmo’s tweets; CNA and CNS. Read More

Catholic School Teacher Fired for Saying Healthcare Is a Privilege Not A Right!?!

Joseph O’Connor, a teacher at Holy Family High School in Denver, was fired today after refusing to back down from his open opposition to universal healthcare. The controversy began when O’Connor posted an image on facebook, which stated, “Healthcare is a privilege, not a right.” Concerned parents forwarded the message to left-wing Catholic groups, who took the issue to the school’s principal. O’Connor was confronted with his rejection of clear Church teaching, which explicitly states that access to healthcare is a fundamental human right. O’Connor refused to repudiate his opposition to Church teaching. After consultation with diocesan officials, O’Connor was fired.

This story is not real. American Catholics are not denied communion or fired from their jobs at Catholic institutions for endorsing political positions that are completely contrary to Church teaching, unless of course those issues relate to human sexuality. I saw Catholics posting that very statement, that healthcare was privilege not a right (against 2288 of the Catechism). There were no consequences.

And I have also seen a right-wing dissenter from much of Catholic social teaching facilitate a witch hunt aimed at getting a non-Catholic worker serving in a technical position at a Catholic organization fired, because that person is in a same-sex marriage. The stress of this pharisaical campaign led this person to resign their position. Others are fired just for showing support for same-sex marriage. Given the fact that healthcare is a life and death issue for the tens of thousands of people who lack access to quality, affordable healthcare (in the United State alone), one is hard-pressed to argue that supporting same-sex marriage is a graver issue than opposing any and all efforts to remedy the injustice faced by those in desperate need of healthcare. To oppose any effort to ensure that people have access to this basic need is to reject the fundamental right to life and abandon a commitment to human dignity. Yet here we are.

And it is not hard to guess where Pope Francis would stand on these witch-hunts. These are culture war tactics par excellence. The right-wing groups who lead these fights are not targeting atheists or people who believe the Eucharist is just bread, but those who oppose their conservative political agenda. It is not an issue of Catholic identity, but winning the culture war for the political right. It is ideology and legalism run amuck. It is precisely the behavior that Francis has condemned over and over again, as it drives people away from the Church.

People are searching for their next meal or shelter for the night right now. A church that is following in the footsteps of Christ would be obsessed with helping these people. A self-referential church focuses instead on self-purification, hunting down a subset of sinners among all the other sinners. Pope Francis has redirected the Church’s focus toward the poor and vulnerable. It is time the American church ends these games and starts following Jesus Christ.


Pope Francis’ Mercy vs. Left-wing Libertarianism

Millennial writer Meghan Clark has a new article at America responding to a NY Times op-ed that accuses Pope Francis of cruelty because he affirmed the Church’s opposition to abortion as he announced that all priests would be able to grant sacramental forgiveness to those who have procured an abortion during the Jubilee Year of Mercy:

Over the last four years, Pope Francis has developed a strong cultural critique of a throwaway culture that values profits and status over people and excludes those who are not considered useful. This tyranny of money, he recently said, is holding the family hostage and he has praised single mothers who bravely struggle to raise their children. The United States does not have guaranteed paid maternity leave, still has a significant problem with pregnancy discrimination, a serious lack of access to affordable childcare—it is not a society that is welcoming and supportive of women and children. I suspect if Pope Francis was showing compassion to single mothers constrained by the minimum wage, lack of paid sick leave and the inability to find affordable housing, Filipovic would be cheering his recognition of the way social structures constrain the full flourishing of women.

Why not here? Because, Pope Francis still believes that abortion is morally wrong and Ms. Filipovic doesn’t. It is ironic that in an effort to insist that the real guilt and stigma comes because people don’t support a woman’s choice to have an abortion, she minimizes the experience of women for whom abortion is experienced as tragic and complex. She falls into the trap of which she accuses Francis—reducing women’s experience to fit her ideological position…. Read More

The US Should Welcome More Syrian Refugees

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His picture went viral: Aylan Kurdi’s little body washed ashore. A perfect and awful symbol of our collective failure to protect the people of Syria and respond to the refugee crisis that has taken thousands of innocent lives. These are regular people. Many are fleeing the barrel bombs of a murderous regime. Some are fleeing ISIS and its monstrous crimes. They are trying to escape the horrors of an endless civil war. They are doing what so many of us would do in those circumstances—seeking basic security for themselves and their loved ones. And too many are dying. Aylan, his brother, and his mother have had their lives stolen by injustice and indifference. Read More

Archbishop Blase Cupich on Protecting Life and Promoting Social Justice

Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago has an excellent op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on the Planned Parenthood scandal, the value of human life, and the need for a consistent commitment to life:

The tapes have generated a visceral reaction independent of how they were made or whether Planned Parenthood was making a profit. Rather, the widespread revulsion over the tapes arose because they unmasked the fact that, in our public conversation about abortion, we have so muted the humanity of the unborn child that some consider it quite acceptable to speak freely of crushing a child’s skull to preserve valuable body parts and to have that discussion over lunch.

Yet, the outrage expressed by many at the physicians’ callous and flippant attitude toward trafficking in human body parts is evidence that American hearts have not been irreparably hardened by the steady devaluing of human dignity in our society. This awakening of our conscience gives hope that deep within the hearts and souls of Americans there still resides the truth that an unborn child manifestly is a human being, entitled to rights and respect.

This newest evidence about the disregard for the value of human life also offers the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment as a nation to a consistent ethic of life. While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward the thousands of people who die daily for lack of decent medical care; who are denied rights by a broken immigration system and by racism; who suffer in hunger, joblessness and want; who pay the price of violence in gun-saturated neighborhoods; or who are executed by the state in the name of justice.

It is encouraging to see another prominent bishop embrace this whole life message, connect social justice and the defense of life, and articulate the fullness of Church teaching.