The Difference Between Heaven’s Gate and Trump’s Wall

Millennial co-founder Christopher Hale has a new article at Time:

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us what it is he requires from his followers for entry into heaven, his domain: Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty. Welcome strangers. Clothe the naked. Minister to the sick. Visit the imprisoned.

Donald Trump should appreciate this extreme vetting. Here’s what Jesus tells us will happen to those who doesn’t pass his criteria: They will “go off to eternal punishment.” Or as he says elsewhere in Matthew about those who fail this test: “Throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

So, Jesus Christ — like Donald Trump — has rigorous standards for entry into his land. But we would do well to remember that in Jesus’s vetting process, the last are first, the poor are blessed and prodigal children are always welcomed home. Not bad advice for the President who claimed upon taking office he would “make Christianity strong in America again.”




In a Time of Racial Despair, the Church Must Speak up

Millennial writer Christopher White has a new article at Crux. He writes:

The Church in the United States today is made up of almost fifty percent of people of color. This diversity should be celebrated and welcomed-and it should also be accompanied by an aggressive commitment to fostering reconciliation as a necessary condition toward promoting justice and a more intentional solidarity among those in our pews.

Recent polling confirms that most Americans are pessimistic about the current state of race relations in this country, with rising rates of violence and hatred. It seems all the more critical that the Church become not just a leading voice against racism, but a prominent player actively fostering dialogue and promoting concrete solutions within our communities.

The Special Task Force has some helpful recommendations – including a new, comprehensive statement on racism from the full body of bishops – but actual change will require the commitment of parishes and priests, community leaders and churchgoers of all varieties, law enforcement and the laity.


Pope Francis: Reject Inhumane Forms of Globalization

via Vatican News:

Before all else, I would restate my conviction that a world economic system that discards men, women and children because they are no longer considered useful or productive according to criteria drawn from the world of business or other organizations, is unacceptable, because it is inhumane.  This lack of concern for persons is a sign of regression and dehumanization in any political or economic system.  Those who cause or allow others to be discarded – whether refugees, children who are abused or enslaved, or the poor who die on our streets in cold weather – become themselves like soulless machines.  For they implicitly accept the principle that they too, sooner or later, will be discarded, when they no longer prove useful to a society that has made mammon, the god of money, the centre of its attention.

In 1991, Saint John Paul II, responding to the fall of oppressive political systems and the progressive integration of markets that we have come to call globalization, warned of the risk that an ideology of capitalism would become widespread.  This would entail little or no interest for the realities of marginalization, exploitation and human alienation, a lack of concern for the great numbers of people still living in conditions of grave material and moral poverty, and a blind faith in the unbridled development of market forces alone.  My Predecessor asked if such an economic system would be the model to propose to those seeking the road to genuine economic and social progress, and offered a clearly negative response.  This is not the way (cf. Centesimus Annus, 42).

Sadly, the dangers that troubled Saint John Paul II have largely come to pass.  At the same time, we have seen the spread of many concrete efforts on the part of individuals and institutions to reverse the ills produced by an irresponsible globalization.  Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom I had the joy of canonizing several months ago, and who is a symbol and icon of our time, in some way represents and recapitulates those efforts.  She bent down to comfort the poorest of the poor, left to die on the streets, recognizing in each of them their God-given dignity.  She was accepting of every human life, whether unborn or abandoned and discarded, and she made her voice heard by the powers of this world, calling them to acknowledge the crimes of poverty that they themselves were responsible for (cf. Homily for the Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 4 September 2016).

This is the first attitude leading to fraternal and cooperative globalization.  It is necessary above all for each of us, personally, to overcome our indifference to the needs of the poor.  We need to learn “com-passion” for those suffering from persecution, loneliness, forced displacement or separation from their families.  We need to learn to “suffer with” those who lack access to health care, or who endure hunger, cold or heat.

This compassion will enable those with responsibilities in the worlds of finance and politics to use their intelligence and their resources not merely to control and monitor the effects of globalization, but also to help leaders at different political levels – regional, national and international – to correct its orientation whenever necessary.  For politics and the economy ought to include the exercise of the virtue of prudence.


The Fundamental Political Question: Increasingly Unfettered Capitalism vs. An Economy That Respects Human Dignity

In his remarks at the US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements, Bishop Robert McElroy described what he views as the fundamental political question of our age and explains where Catholic Social Teaching stands on the matter:

The fundamental political question of our age is whether our economic structures and systems in the United States will enjoy ever greater freedom or whether they will be located effectively within a juridical structure which seeks to safeguard the dignity of the human person and the common good of our nation.

In that battle, the tradition of Catholic social teaching is unequivocally on the side of strong governmental and societal protections for the powerless, the worker, the homeless, the hungry, those without decent medical care, the unemployed. This stance of the Church’s teaching flows from the teaching of the Book of Genesis: The creation is the gift of God to all of humanity. Thus in the most fundamental way, there is a universal destination for all of the material goods that exist in this world. Wealth is a common heritage, not at its core a right of lineage or acquisition.

For this reason, free markets do not constitute a first principle of economic justice. Their moral worth is instrumental in nature and must be structured by government to accomplish the common good.

In Catholic teaching, the very rights which are being denied in our society to large numbers of those who live in our nation are intrinsic human rights in Catholic teaching: The right to medical care; to decent housing; to the protection of human life, from conception to natural death; of the right to food; of the right to work. Catholic teaching sees these rights not merely as points for negotiation, provided only if there is excess in society after the workings of the free market system accomplished their distribution of the nation’s wealth. Rather, these rights are basic claims which every man, woman and family has upon our nation as a whole.


Bishop Robert McElroy: Now We Must All Become Disrupters

1509787_313143848833467_5211246166019703651_n

At the US Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego delivered a strong message:

President Trump was the candidate of disruption. He was the disrupter, he said. Well now, we must all become disrupters. We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men and women and children as sources of fear rather than as children of God. We must disrupt those who seek to rob our medical care, especially from the poor. We must disrupt those who would take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.

Updated with exact quote at 5:30 PM EST.