Around the Web (Part 1)

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

On social justice, Francis isn’t rethinking so much as recycling by John Allen: “That’s not to say he isn’t adding some original details, just as previous popes did, but at the big-picture level, his teaching on social justice is about continuity, not rupture. To put the point differently, if some Americans disapprove of Francis because of his positions on the environment and the economy, then logically they should have rejected every pope since at least Leo XIII and his 1891 encyclical letter Rerum Novarum.”

Pope Francis and America’s middle class by Stephen Schneck: “The pope’s consideration of this issue is a timely one. America has a middle class on the ropes. Since 2000 every state in the country shows the middle class shrinking, with the worst states—many of them in the Rust Belt—seeing a decline of about 6% in the number of middle class households.  Nationwide, since 1980 the number of middle class households in the United States has shrunk by 10%. Moreover, these numbers mask the very disturbing fact that the sharpest erosion of the middle class has taken place in young families, thanks to the support that federal programs like Social Security and Medicare provide to older Americans.”

There is No Pro-Life Case For Planned Parenthood by Ross Douthat: “But to concede that pro-lifers might be somewhat right to be troubled by abortion, to shudder along with us just a little bit at the crushing of the unborn human body, and then turn around and still demand the funding of an institution that actually does the quease-inducing killing on the grounds that what’s being funded will help stop that organization from having to crush quite so often, kill quite so prolifically – no, spare me. Spare me. Tell the allegedly “pro-life” institution you support to set down the forceps, put away the vacuum, and then we’ll talk about what kind of family planning programs deserve funding.”

Retreat toward engagement by Timothy O’Malley: “In our time, a complete disengagement from public life would silence an important voice that reminds the politician and lobbyist alike that every human life matters. That human dignity is not some construct that can be employed whenever it is politically expedient to do so. That the unborn child, the immigrant, the poorest of the poor, the criminal sentenced to death — these lives matter because each person is created in the image and likeness of God. We need to form women and men who can preach this Good News in the public sphere, risking the possibility of radical rejection.”

The surprising number of parents scaling back at work to care for kids by Danielle Paquette and Peyton M. Craighill: “More than three-quarters of mothers and half of fathers in the United States say they’ve passed up work opportunities, switched jobs or quit to tend to their kids, according to a new Washington Post poll. While it has long been clear that finding affordable, dependable child care is a daily challenge for parents of young children, the new poll provides rare data on the breadth of the problem and how it’s shaping careers for millions of American parents.”

Surprising ‘Pope Francis moments’ from the GOP debate by Allison Walter: “John Kasich evidently got the memo. He tore a page out of Pope Francis’ playbook with his themes of compassion, inclusion and fraternity. Sounding decidedly more like Francis than his GOP rivals, he was asked to defend his expansion of Medicaid in Ohio saying that in heaven, ‘St. Peter isn’t going to ask [politicians] how small they’ve kept government, but what they have done for the poor.’”

The ‘Francis agenda’ is making inroads in the US by Michael O’Loughlin: “Perhaps the most visible example of the pope’s effect on the US Church is in the realm of environmental protection, which quickly catapulted to the top of Francis’ agenda after the June 18 release of his Laudato Si’, the first papal encyclical devoted to the environment. Many Catholics had been focused on environmental issues before Francis, of course, but the encyclical has energized the movement and provided a new sense of urgency, cutting through partisan and ideological lines.”

Joe Donnelly’s courageous stand against Planned Parenthood by Tim Swarens: “Why do we place real value on a fetus’ organs but no value on the life that was ended to obtain those organs? Do we desire to be a compassionate society? If so, then how do we justify “crushing” — the word that Planned Parenthood’s chief medical officer used in the first video to describe what she does to end a life — the body parts of fetuses so developed that they have identifiable hearts, brains, lungs, livers and sexual organs?”

God Chooses the Despised: An Interview with 2015 Templeton Prize Laureate Jean Vanier by Sean Salai, S.J.: “Love is to reveal to someone: ‘you are beautiful and you have value.’ That is the secret of love. It’s not primarily to do things for people, because then we find our glory in doing things. The secret of love is to reveal to someone that ‘you are precious,’ that “you are beautiful.””