Pope Francis: Jesus Came to Light a Fire on the Earth

Embed from Getty Images
via the Vatican:

A fire does not burn by itself; it has to be fed or else it dies; it turns into ashes. If everything continues as it was, if we spend our days content that “this is the way things have always been done”, then the gift vanishes, smothered by the ashes of fear and concern for defending the status quo. Yet “in no way can the Church restrict her pastoral work to the ‘ordinary maintenance’ of those who already know the Gospel of Christ. Missionary outreach is a clear sign of the maturity of an ecclesial community” (BENEDICT XVI, Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, 95). For the Church is always on the move, always going out and never withdrawn into itself. Jesus did not come to bring a gentle evening breeze, but to light a fire on the earth….

The fire of God is warmth that attracts and gathers into unity. It is fed by sharing, not by profits. The fire that destroys, on the other hand, blazes up when people want to promote only their own ideas, form their own group, wipe out differences in the attempt to make everyone and everything uniform.


What is Human Dignity?

This video, produced by the Duquesne University Center for Catholic Faith and Culture as part of the Catholicism and the Common Good project, offers an excellent overview of the concept of human dignity. Check it out:


Pope Francis’ Fearless Leadership

Embed from Getty Images
John Gehring writes:

The pope’s meeting with Father Martin did more than serve as a signal of support for the priest’s advocacy on behalf of L.G.B.T. people. It was also emblematic of the Francis papacy, which has been a consistent rebuke to a style of culture-war Christianity that since the ascendance of the religious right in the United States during the 1980s has often been the default setting for American Christianity in politics.

Since his election six years ago, Pope Francis has modeled a different brand of moral leadership: engaging and persuading, reframing contentious issues away from narrow ideologies and expanding moral imaginations….

As right-wing populists from the United States to Europe depict migrants as menacing threats and build walls, the pope continues to challenge what he calls a “globalization of indifference.” On Sunday, during a special Mass for the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis unveiled an artistic monument to migration in St. Peter’s Square. The work depicts 140 migrants and refugees from various historical periods traveling by boat, a powerful visual counterpoint to the nativist winds blowing across both sides of the Atlantic.

And unlike the loudest anti-abortion voices on the Christian right who are so wed to the Republican Party that they ignore assaults on life inflicted by policies that exacerbate economic inequality, poverty and climate change, the pope insists that the “lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute” are as “equally sacred” as the unborn in the womb.


Grotto Profiles Molly Burhans, Millennial Catholic Named UN Young Champion of the Earth

Check out the video:

And their interview:

What would you say to other young adults who have a passion they feel called to follow?

If you have an idea that needs to happen — something very important to share with the world that is authentically from your heart and you’ve discerned that it’s your calling — I would say absolutely go for it. The fear will be there. But that’s what courage is. Having courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. It’s moving forward in the face of fear….

What’s at stake with climate change, and what role can the Church play in this fight?

I think we’ve got like 12 years to not completely destroy the planet and turn things around. When people hear that stuff, I think it’s easy to shut down because it’s so big and so scary in a way. There’s a lot of fear and there’s a lot of hopelessness out there from this. But you have to understand the current environment and the current conditions well to be able to change and create a different future — to be able to model scenarios to say, “If we do make these changes, this is the better future we have. Or if we don’t, this is the future.”

I hope that people can find less fear and more courage to just take action to go towards that better future, even if it isn’t perfect. No time has been perfect since the Garden of Eden.

We have the power to change. We have the power to find common ground for caring for a common home. We can make a difference. I’m absolutely convinced that if faith the size of a mustard seed can enable us to move mountains, then it can help us contribute to their conservation, preservation, and integrity for generations to come.


New Cardinal: The Church Supports Democracy and Human Rights, not Populism

Christopher Lamb writes:

Democracy is under threat due to the rising tide of populism, according to a new Luxembourg cardinal who is urging the Church to stand against anti-democratic forces present in politics.

Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich, who will be made a cardinal by Pope Francis on 5 October, said the simple answers offered by populist politics will not solve complex problems and end up leaving people even more disillusioned.

“The Church has a very clear standpoint. We are against populism, we are in favour of human rights, we are in favour of democracy. And democracy is in danger because civilisation is changing,” he told The Tablet.


Massachusetts Bishops on Protecting Creation from Pollution and Climate Change

via the Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts:

In our home state of Massachusetts, we are blessed with inspiring natural beauty from the seashore on the east coast to the majestic mountain vistas in the west – with rolling hills, vibrant communities and rich farmlands throughout the state. We, the four Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts, call on all Catholics and others of faith in Massachusetts to reflect on this natural beauty – this gift from God. To protect and sustain this gift we must act now within our faith institutions and throughout the state to take substantial, meaningful steps to protect our environmental and provide relief from the impact of toxic pollution and climate change to protect the health and safety of all citizens, particularly the most vulnerable in our society.

Pope Francis “calls for dialogue throughout the world”[2] on how we can be better stewards of the earth and, in so doing, be more responsive to the plight of the poor around the world. His call for an “integral ecology” to be lived out joyfully respects the dignity of each person, identifies a moral obligation to protect the environment, and promotes social justice by supporting responsible economic development with respect for all people and the earth….

We are called to act with hope and to respond to this challenge with urgency in all facets of our life: as individuals making an ecological conversion in our personal lives; as members of our parishes, schools and businesses striving for structural changes that reduce environmental impactand as citizens participating in political discussions and fulfilling our civic responsibilities. We are asking everyone to examine their personal vocations and opportunities to take action to take better care of our common home.


CRS Responds to Trump Administration’s Immoral Refugee Cap

via CRS:

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) issued a statement today on the administration’s proposal to Congress to reduce the refugee resettlement cap to 18,000. CRS supports the call for a minimum of 95,000 refugees to be resettled in the United States this upcoming year.

Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ executive vice president for Mission and Mobilization, said:

“The world depends on the United States taking in its share of the 26 million vulnerable refugees. How can we ask a country like Uganda, a developing country smaller than Wyoming, to take in a million South Sudanese refugees unless we step up and take in at least 95,000 of the most vulnerable?”

“We all want to end conflict and violence so families can safely remain in their countries of origin. But in the meantime, as the richest country in the world, we need to do our part to help those most vulnerable displaced refugees.”

“These mothers, fathers and children have fled war, violence and persecution. CRS works in over 100 countries. With our Church partners we see firsthand the suffering that has driven people to leave their homes.”

“Fundamentally, we are talking about other human beings – children and families – seeking safety and a decent life. Admitting refugees reflects the values on which this nation was built, the teaching of Christianity and other faiths, and basic human decency.”