Highlights from Millennial in 2015

Here are some of the most popular Millennial articles from our writers and guest writers last year:

Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home by Meghan Clark: “The most radical aspect here is that Francis resituates our attention on God as Creator prior to any discussion of the universal destination of goods and private property. Catholic social teaching has long held the universal destination of goods as primary and foundational. Pope Francis here locates it as the primary starting point for social ethics –but in refocusing our attention on Creation as belonging to God, we are reminded that all our claims of private property are really as mere renters, not owners.”

Recognizing the Personhood of Unborn Children in Our Daily Actions by Bridge Coleman: “For the Church in the United States, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision marks a day of prayer for the unborn, and Catholics join others in marching for life in the streets. But as we engage in this prayer and protest, it is essential to go back to the basics of what being pro-life is all about. It is about more than political action, talking points, and marches. It is a mindset and way of life. This way of life needs to be lived in our parishes and homes on a daily basis.”

Why Pope Francis and the Church Treat Climate Change as a Moral Issue by Dan DiLeo: “There’s an incorrect – and dangerous – narrative which claims that Francis’ attention to climate change is an unorthodox break from traditional Catholic teaching. I say dangerous because that narrative has been used by his detractors – many of whom admired John Paul II and Benedict XVI – to downplay Francis’ teaching on climate change. Although there are certainly differences between Francis, Benedict XVI, and John Paul II, it is important to recognize and emphasize that their common concern for climate change as a moral issue is one, unbroken constancy that cannot be discarded as radical.”

Vaccines, the Fear of Autism, and the Globalization of Indifference by Kate Gordon: “For those of us who have been following the debate about childhood vaccinations, we’ve heard many arguments about medical evidence, individualism versus the common good, proposed legislative changes to personal belief exemptions, and the terror of parents whose babies are too young to vaccinate. However, lost in this discussion is an analysis of the key motivating factor leading parents to not vaccinate their children—a warped vision of the value of people with autism.”

Eat, Pray, Doubt: Temptation and the Call to Love by Eric Immel, SJ: “He is lying on his back crying softly and and breathing heavily, exhausted after his body betrayed him. He’s clothed in rags, more than a 5 o’clock shadow covering his dark, deeply wrinkled face. But he sees me, and something like ease comes over him.”

If We Are Going To Kill Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, We Shouldn’t Sanitize It or Turn Away by Brian Keaney: “If we are going to send him off to meet his Maker, if we have decided that he is no longer fit to breathe the same air that we do, if we have raised ourselves up so high that we feel comfortable declaring that he is a monster, not formed in the image and likeness of the same God who fashioned us, then I want as many people as possible to see just how far we have been reduced.”

Five Quotes from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si: Beauty Will Save the World by Mike Jordan Laskey: “A lot has already been written about Laudato Si’: On Care of Our Common Home, Pope Francis’ new encyclical on ecology. Most reactions have focused on the politics, the economics, or the science in it — all good, important perspectives. But the document is truly beautiful. There are passages that made me stop in my tracks and savor.”

5 Ways Your Smartphone Can Bring You Closer to God by Patrick Manning: “Think about the last time someone sent you an affirming, loving message. How did it affect you? Your eyes probably lingered over the screen longer than usual. You probably felt a boost in your mood. It is such a small thing—perhaps only a few words or a hug emoticon—yet it can transform someone’s entire day. If something requiring so little effort can bring some joy to another person, why not make a point of typing out at least one affirming text, tweet, or post every day?”

Guns in America: Ideology or Idolatry? by Marcus Mescher: “Americans’ love of guns is more than ideology; it’s an idolatry that delivers death to far too many of our brothers and sisters and makes the rest of us sickeningly indifferent to their suffering.”

A New Path: How St. Ignatius’ Agere Contra Can Help Us Step Outside of Our Comfort Zones by Andy Otto: “Ignatius warns against a ‘disordered’ life. Having order does not mean acting like a robot and never straying from your schedule or plan. Having an ordered life means you can let go of certain attachments or unhealthy relationships, you can adapt to new situations, and you can remove blockades that prevent you from growing more fully into your true self. Agere contra is one way to help jar us out of the safe path we’ve always been taking.”

You Can’t Defend Religious Freedom and Ignore Injustice toward Muslims by Daniel Petri: “If we allow others to demonize Muslim refugees and push Islamophobic narratives, we allow them to lay the groundwork for this undermining of religious freedom. It is fundamentally wrong to make the fight for religious freedom a tribalistic fight where Christians only take up the fight for other Christians. It is fundamentally immoral, and it is foolish, for as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. maintained, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Mercy is a Person: Reflections on the Papal Bull “Misericordiae Vultus” by Alessandro Rovati: “Misericordiae Vultus is not the work of a bureaucrat. It is the heartfelt invitation to each one of us to rediscover the joy that comes from the encounter with the tenderness of God’s mercy.”

Five Keys to Building Community by Bethany Welch: “First, ‘Be respectful and be open minded.’ According to Maria, this is not only the mark of a good leader, but it is what helps people learn from one another. You might disagree with someone, but you need to listen patiently without pre-judging them. You need to be open to having your mind changed when they make a strong case. This could be as simple as changing the radio station to the music they prefer or coming around to a different political position because you have seen firsthand how a particular policy disproportionately hurts the most vulnerable.”