Looking Back – Millennial in 2012

In the four months since its inception, Millennial has become a great source for what motivates, concerns, and inspires young Catholics in the United States today.  As we wrap up 2012, perhaps it is a good time to look back and see what mattered to us this year, and what mattered to those of you who followed us.

Some of the most popular articles over these past few months have been about abortion (always a controversial topic).  In “Does the Pro-life Cause Have the Wrong Allies?,” Millennial author and editor Robert Christian asserted that voters with pro-life leanings ought to find a better fit, both philosophically and practically, within the Democratic party.  In his article “What the ‘Intrinsic Evil’ Argument Reveals,” Robert showed that the manipulation of an oft-used theological concept can cloud the real motives behind right-wing opposition to abortion.  Meanwhile, in “Democrats Out of Touch on Abortion, Hurt Election Chances,” I highlighted the intense focus that Democrats placed on abortion during the election and worried that many otherwise sympathetic voters would be turned off by this emphasis (and Democrats failed to retake the House as I predicted, though things fared better for President Obama, who luckily always had 47% of the population in the bag!).

The budget and healthcare were also hot topics, and Millennials had plenty to say on those subjects.  Marcus Mescher contributed two great articles specifically focusing on the budget talks and how it affected the least among us – the poor.  In “Shouldering Our Weight,” he questions the compatibility of the Ryan budget with the Catholic call to protect the common good, while in  “Fifty Years Later, Are We Still the Church of the Poor?,” he points out that the subject of helping the poor was almost completely overlooked in policy discussions within each of our major political parties.  Caitlin Conroy seethed at the suggestion that the notion of community somehow threatens our nation’s values of self-reliance and responsibility in her gem “Nun on the Bus: ‘We Are Better Than That’.”  Kate Gordon’s “Am I My Sister’s Keeper?” revealed how the Affordable Care Act would help millions of Americans with preexisting conditions, including someone very close to her heart.

But beyond exploring how our Catholic faith informs our political choices, Millennials also wrote about how we are inspired by our Church, despite its challenges and the debates that often threaten to divide us.  Christopher Hale’s “A Saint’s Funeral, a Papal Blessing and a Bold Question” mourned the death, and celebrated the life, of Cardinal Carlo Martini, who challenged the Church to work towards a radical transformation.  “In new saint, a painful past but promise for a hopeful future,” guest contributor Kat O’Loughlin explored both the pain and hope that St. Kateri Tekakwitha’s canonization brought about in the American Indian community.  Bethany Welch beautifully expressed how the artwork and illustrations she encountered in Dorothy Day’s The Catholic Worker inspired and informed her faith in her article, “Crafting a message.”  And Mike Jordan Laskey’s “Three of Mary’s Life & Justice Lessons on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe” shows how Mary has been one of the best teachers of life and justice in his life and that of many others.

Millennials care about the world around us, as seen from musings about the ethical ramifications of our great scientific achievements (as expressed in Brian Keaney’s  “Sharing in Our Master’s Subatomic Particles”) to the call to action to protect and help others around the world in times of crisis (as Fabrice Musoni wrote in “Time for President Obama to Move Forward on Congo”).

But perhaps most of all, Catholic Millennials are exploring ways to follow Christ in the world today, in our daily lives.  Jonathan Amgott hopes to reclaim the discussion of faith from the cynical, sometimes cold national forum back to the faith-building sharing of the family in his article “Religion at the Dinner Table: Still Bad Manners?.”  Kristi Haas hopes that, in the midst of the impersonal modern communication of iphones and text messages, we can “respond authentically to the presence of our friends, family members, and the strangers we meet” in “Frogger, John of the Cross, and Embodied Love.”  In her article “For a Church Radiating Love,” Bridge Coleman discussed raising her child as part of a Church known first and foremost as a church of love.  And Nichole Flores expressed similar hopes for all Catholics and Christians in “Jesuits Invade Fenway, Remind Boston College of the Heart of the Christian Mission,” eloquently stating that “If our way of being in the world is one characterized by faith, hope, and love, given as gifts of grace for the benefit of all of God’s creation, then we are bound to stand out from the crowd as embodied witnesses to Jesus’ life saving love.”

Millennials are called to stand out from the crowd as a witness to Christ’s love.  We hope that our voice has been a witness these past few months – and hope you will join in the conversation in the year ahead.