Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

New San Diego bishop speaks of a church that ‘banishes judgmentalism’ by Joshua McElwee: “”I think it’s important that there’s a real trajectory there,” McElroy said, connecting teachings on mercy by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. “What the theology of mercy is saying is that the essential attribute of God in relation to us — and for us to understand who is God — is that of mercy,” he said. “And that God is innately merciful and can do no other than to be merciful, because that’s at the core of who God is.””

Washington (Finally) Talks about Poverty by John Carr: “One summit goal was to help Catholics and evangelicals work together to make overcoming poverty a moral imperative and national priority and to become, in Pope Francis’ words, a church ‘of the poor and for the poor.’ At the June meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, several bishops challenged some conference plans because overcoming poverty was not an explicit priority for advocacy and action. Catholic bishops also met with African-American evangelical leaders to discuss how poverty and family life are mutually supportive or destructive.”

‘He’s Jesus Christ’ by Nicholas Kristof: “Dr. Tom Catena, 51, a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, N.Y., is the only doctor at the 435-bed Mother of Mercy Hospital nestled in the Nuba Mountains in the far south of Sudan. For that matter, he’s the only doctor permanently based in the Nuba Mountains for a population of more than half a million people.”

The pope’s climate change message is really about rethinking what it means to be human by Stephen P. White: “This sacramental view of the world changes the way Catholics estimate the worth and value of things, which have their own intrinsic worth and meaning apart from any utility they might hold for us. Because creation is the gift of a loving God, entrusted to us all for its care and maintenance, we are not free to simply do with it as we please.”

As South Sudan Crisis Worsens, ‘There Is No More Country’ by Marc Santora: “In places where the fighting is fiercest, no one is even attempting to count the dead. Nearly half the population of the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, is in danger of going hungry. New atrocities are reported almost every day. And more than 1.5 million people have fled their homes, the vast majority to swampland villages where they hope rising waters during the rainy season will keep them safe from marauding soldiers.”

Pope Francis has spoken on the environment. Will the US Congress listen? by Michael O’Loughlin: “A week after Pope Francis injected a bolt of energy into the environmental movement, Catholics of all stripes are trying to influence public opinion about Laudato Si’ and influence lawmakers to act.”

Stop Explaining Away Black Christian Forgiveness by Michael Wear: “The critiques of forgiveness in recent days are strikingly similar to the critiques against nonviolence during the civil rights movement. In both cases, some advocates for social justice misunderstood the allegiances of the black Christians they criticized. Dr. King and the Charleston families believed forgiveness and nonviolence are on the right side of history. They believed they would be served well on this earth by those tenets, but also that their reward is in heaven. And, clearly, they saw no conflict between forgiveness and full-throated, sacrificial advocacy for change.”

The encyclical is first and foremost about human relationships by Allison Walter: “Francis, who dreams of a poor church for the poor, wastes no time in highlighting the outsized impact of environmental degradation on the poor, especially migrants.”

Response to David Brooks by Anthony Annett: “Brooks also clings to a blinkered and outdated idea of progress as economic growth alone. But the new paradigm must be sustainable development—adding social inclusion and environmental sustainability to economic prosperity. And the market alone can achieve neither of these.”

The moral dimension of legalizing recreational marijuana by Brian Fraga:“’For the past 50 years, our society has professed an increasing alarm over the lethal effects of smoking, the dangers of driving while intoxicated, and toxic consequences of ingesting carcinogens and contaminants. Now, there is a growing movement to legalize a substance that will pose dangers in all three of those categories,’ Doyle said.”

A Rain of Bombs in the Nuba Mountains by Nicholas Kristof: “So why was Sudan shelling a village filled with grass huts? This was not an accident of war. It reflects a deliberate Sudanese scorched-earth, counterinsurgency strategy here in the southern end of Sudan. A rebel army with many thousands of soldiers, seemingly strongly supported by local people as their protector from the national government, governs the Nuba Mountains. The Sudanese government bombs the rebels and periodically attacks them, but the majority of its attacks seem to target civilians, apparently to make the area uninhabitable so that no one is left to support the rebels.”

Sin & Grace in Charleston by Michael Sean Winters: “In Charleston, South Carolina this week, there is hope as well as heartache. There is love as well as grief. There is forgiveness as well as justice. The Father of Lies won for a moment, but in the twinkling of an eye, he has been cast out. Bethane Middleton-Brown, whose sister was killed, said, “she taught me that we are the family that love built. We have no room for hating.” We can all pray that, by the grace of Jesus Christ, we too, we the people, all the people, will have no room for hating.”

The Pope and Laudato Si’: Is the Ecology Encyclical a Moral Analysis or a Political Indictment? by Christiana Z. Peppard: “Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’: On the Care of our Common Home, offers significant and trenchant critiques of contemporary economic assumptions that beguile U.S. political leadership. While environmental degradation is a moral problem, it argues, ecological paroxysms are also linked to failures of the world’s dominant economic paradigms.”

The Fatal Errors of Capitalism: Laudato Si’ & the Economy by Keith Michael Estrada: “One need not look beyond the advocates of the capitalist system to see its inconsistency with Christianity. For example, F. A. Hayek’s The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, and Ludwig von Mises’ The Anti-capitalistic Mentality do a fine job of demonstrating the position that the values of solidarity, simplicity, modesty, restraint, fair prices and just wages, mutual aid, and moderation are destructive when it comes to supporting a capitalist way of life. Instead, their level of support for competition, individualism, self-interest, materialism, relativism, autonomy of the market, etc., along with their poorly masked embrace of social Darwinism which converts into a passive economic genocide of the poor, contradicts the Christian faith, in general, and Laudato si’ (79 and 210), in particular.”