Pope Francis Congratulates Joe Biden on Winning the Presidency

via Biden-Harris Transition:

President-elect Joe Biden spoke this morning with His Holiness Pope Francis. The President-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness’ leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world. The President-elect expressed his desire to work together on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities.


Pope Francis on Avoiding Unhealthy Populism and Dogmatic Neoliberalism

Highlights from Pope Francis in chapter 5 of Fratelli Tutti:

  • The development of a global community of fraternity based on the practice of social friendship on the part of peoples and nations calls for a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good. (154)
  • But this can degenerate into an unhealthy “populism” when individuals are able to exploit politically a people’s culture, under whatever ideological banner, for their own personal advantage or continuing grip on power. Or when, at other times, they seek popularity by appealing to the basest and most selfish inclinations of certain sectors of the population. This becomes all the more serious when, whether in cruder or more subtle forms, it leads to the usurpation of institutions and laws. (159)
  • Since production systems may change, political systems must keep working to structure society in such a way that everyone has a chance to contribute his or her own talents and efforts….Work gives us a sense of shared responsibility for the development of the world, and ultimately, for our life as a people. (162)
  • Everything, then, depends on our ability to see the need for a change of heart, attitudes and lifestyles. Otherwise, political propaganda, the media and the shapers of public opinion will continue to promote an individualistic and uncritical culture subservient to unregulated economic interests and societal institutions at the service of those who already enjoy too much power. (166)
  • The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith. Whatever the challenge, this impoverished and repetitive school of thought always offers the same recipes. Neoliberalism simply reproduces itself by resorting to the magic theories of “spillover” or “trickle” – without using the name – as the only solution to societal problems. There is little appreciation of the fact that the alleged “spillover” does not resolve the inequality that gives rise to new forms of violence threatening the fabric of society. (168)
  • When we talk about the possibility of some form of world authority regulated by law….such an authority ought at least to promote more effective world organizations, equipped with the power to provide for the global common good, the elimination of hunger and poverty and the sure defence of fundamental human rights. (172)
  • Charity finds expression not only in close and intimate relationships but also in “macro-relationships: social, economic and political”. (181)
  • This political charity is born of a social awareness that transcends every individualistic mindset….Each of us is fully a person when we are part of a people; at the same time, there are no peoples without respect for the individuality of each person.… Good politics will seek ways of building communities at every level of social life, in order to recalibrate and reorient globalization and thus avoid its disruptive effects. (182)
  • “Social love” makes it possible to advance towards a civilization of love, to which all of us can feel called. Charity, with its impulse to universality, is capable of building a new world. No mere sentiment, it is the best means of discovering effective paths of development for everyone. (183)
  • It is an act of charity to assist someone suffering, but it is also an act of charity, even if we do not know that person, to work to change the social conditions that caused his or her suffering. (186)
  • Only a gaze transformed by charity can enable the dignity of others to be recognized and, as a consequence, the poor to be acknowledged and valued in their dignity, respected in their identity and culture, and thus truly integrated into society….What are needed are new pathways of self-expression and participation in society. (187)
  • These considerations help us recognize the urgent need to combat all that threatens or violates fundamental human rights. (188)
  • We are still far from a globalization of the most basic of human rights. That is why world politics needs to make the effective elimination of hunger one of its foremost and imperative goals….Alongside these basic needs that remain unmet, trafficking in persons represents another source of shame for humanity, one that international politics, moving beyond fine speeches and good intentions, must no longer tolerate. These things are essential; they can no longer be deferred. (189)
  • Viewed in this way, politics is something more noble than posturing, marketing and media spin. These sow nothing but division, conflict and a bleak cynicism incapable of mobilizing people to pursue a common goal. (197)

US Bishops Congratulate Joe Biden on Winning the 2020 Presidential Election

via USCCB:

We thank God for the blessings of liberty. The American people have spoken in this election. Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good….

Democracy requires that all of us conduct ourselves as people of virtue and self-discipline. It requires that we respect the free expression of opinions and that we treat one another with charity and civility, even as we might disagree deeply in our debates on matters of law and public policy.

As we do this, we recognize that Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has received enough votes to be elected the 46th President of the United States. We congratulate Mr. Biden and acknowledge that he joins the late President John F. Kennedy as the second United States president to profess the Catholic faith. We also congratulate Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, who becomes the first woman ever elected as vice president….



What is Our Task After the Election?

Steve Knutson on Unsplash

The votes are still being tallied in the 2020 elections, but Fr. James Martin has already offered a simple reminder about the task ahead:

What is our task? In many ways, it is same as before the election: to work for the dignity of all human life: the unborn, the migrant and refugee, the Black man and woman, the LGBTQ person, the Covid patient, the person without healthcare, the homeless, the unemployed, the abused woman, the inmate. It will change depending on who is elected, but it is essentially the same: proclaiming the Gospel and standing up for those on the margins, for those whom Jesus called “the least of our brothers and sisters.”



Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

The New Integralists by Timothy Troutner: “The book should alert a complacent Catholic theological establishment that ideas once thought dead and buried are resurgent. Integralism clearly breaks with Vatican II’s teaching on religious liberty and expresses a commitment to the political disenfranchisement (or worse) of women, sexual minorities, and non-Catholics. That might tempt some to dismiss the book as hopelessly “illiberal” or “outdated,” confident that others will react with the same justified horror—a response that Bouyer anticipated. “Such a reaction is no threat to us,” he imagined these skeptics saying about integralism. “It has become impossible.” But he insisted that this attitude only plays into the hands of reactionaries. It leaves their claims to represent Catholic tradition unchallenged, and it ignores the appeal integralism has to younger Catholics searching for meaning amid the shallowness of modern life. Instead, integralism can only be defeated on theological grounds—by offering a deeper, more expansive narrative of Catholic political thought to counter integralism’s bold but unjustified claims to authenticity.”

Deep State, Deep Church: How QAnon and Trumpism Have Infected the Catholic Church: “Donald Trump has pinned his 2020 hopes, in part, on dissident Catholics who view the church as compromised, the pope as an unorthodox interloper, and their theology as not just compatible with, but spiritual backbone for conspiracy theories like QAnon. What happens after Tuesday, in the Church and in this country, in some ways will mirror this battle.”

Even If Trump Loses, Republicans’ Authoritarian Ambitions Will Live On by Jonathan Chait: “The 2020 election is the first presidential contest since perhaps 1864 in which the principal question is democracy itself. The reelection of Donald Trump, unlikely but terrifyingly possible, would hasten America’s evolution into an oligarchy along the lines of Hungary, Turkey, and Russia, whose illiberal leaders Trump admires and who are, in some cases, working to help him secure a second term….In its original form, the GOP was a radical anti-slavery party, but it abandoned its progressive impulses and has evolved into a wildly reactionary and increasingly authoritarian formation.”

What the election is telling us about the church in this country by Michael Sean Winters: “This election is teaching us all a great deal about our neighbors and their political preferences, about the fragility of our democracy when faced with foreign threats and domestic demagoguery, and about where our democracy is downright sick; for example: the Electoral College. The election is also teaching us all a great deal about our church and how corrupted our own theology of political life has become.”

Catholic encounters with Muslims frame ‘Fratelli tutti’ by Jordan Denari Duffner: “Just days into his papacy, Pope Francis announced that dialogue with Muslims would be one of the priorities of his pontificate. Since then, he has visited numerous majority-Muslim countries, met with Muslim families and leaders, spoken prophetically of the need for Catholics to treat Muslims — particularly those who are migrants — with respect, and performed meaningful gestures that speak to the church’s esteem for Muslims declared at the Second Vatican Council. Though his newest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, never once mentions the words “Islam” or “Muslims,” it is part of the broader legacy that Francis will leave the church on Catholic-Muslim relations, as well as interreligious relations more broadly.”

I testified against Colorado’s extreme abortion law. We deserve better. by Anna Keating: “I didn’t want to explain to them that in Colorado, babies of the same gestational age, who in one part of the hospital would be receiving round-the-clock care from a team of highly trained professionals, could in another part of the hospital be killed without pain medication, simply because they are unwanted or have a disability or because their life, like any of our lives, might be shorter than others.”

What the Church Owes Families by Annie Selak: “The joy of the family cannot be the joy of the Church if employees of Catholic organizations are unsupported in family life. Catholic schools, parishes, nonprofits, and even the Church hierarchy have the potential to model what truly pro-family paid leave might look like—one that goes beyond complying with our current inadequate national policy.”

How my obsession with being different prevented me from being myself by Stephanie Murray: “There is, of course, a real danger in the pressure to conform, and it is good that we encourage children to resist it for the sake of self-acceptance. But if Merton is correct, focusing too much energy on proving to the world that they are different from everyone else can distract them from that very goal.”

The American ‘way of life’ is unsustainable for so many. Is it time to build radical forms of community? by Emma Green: “But the pandemic has also revealed the extent to which a good life felt elusive for countless Americans far before any of us had heard of Covid-19. This is not just a matter of money or resources. In my reporting, I constantly find evidence that Americans feel isolated and unmoored from their communities, unsure of their place in the world.”

Teens Did Surprisingly Well in Quarantine by Jean Twenge: “Surprisingly, teens’ mental health did not collectively suffer during the pandemic when the two surveys are compared. The percentage of teens who were depressed or lonely was actually lower in 2020 than in 2018, and the percentage who were unhappy or dissatisfied with life was only slightly higher.”

Seeing beyond Roe by Julia Hejduk: “For all the money, time, and energy expended on limiting abortion access, the reality is that women have the ability to procure chemical abortions whether or not they are legal, and that ability will only increase as time goes on. This means we need to be far more intentional about reducing the demand for abortion, even as we continue to work to restrict the supply.”