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.”


Bishop Stowe: Neither Party Consistently Defends Life

Bishop John Stowe writes:

Many prominent Catholics, including clerics, have taken to social media and other outlets to denounce those who would vote for one or the other party. Some seem to want to make the moral decision for everyone else and have proclaimed that voting for a particular candidate is either a matter of serious sin or outside the realm of possibility for “real” Catholics. None of this is consistent with the teaching of the church nor the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops releases in advance of each presidential election cycle.

There is no political party that fully embraces Catholic teaching. The church insists on its right to a voice in the public square to argue how its teachings are aimed toward the common good and therefore promote good public policy. There is no current candidate who embraces the fullness of Catholic teaching. It is well known that the Catholic candidate, Joe Biden, supports upholding Roe v. Wade and thus the legality of abortion. This is clearly in opposition to the Catholic Church’s teaching and expectations for its members in public office. It is also well known that the current president has spoken and acted in opposition to many life issues as described by Pope Francis, who affirms the continuous teaching of the church on abortion and insists that defense of the unborn needs to be “clear, firm and passionate.” The pope says further, “equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.”

Just this week, we have learned that 545 children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border cannot be reunited despite court orders to do so because the parents cannot be located. The Trump administration has recently resumed federal executions, also against the teaching of the Catholic Church. The president’s refusal to renounce white supremacists, the derogatory language he has used against women, people of color, and the handicapped are all in opposition to the church’s teaching about the dignity of the human person. The refusal to admit asylum seekers, seriously diminishing the number of refugees admitted to the country and abusing the human rights of those in immigration custody are all acts that go against Catholic teaching.


Why Defending Human Dignity Requires a Whole Life Approach, Racial Justice, and Secure Voting Rights

Justin Giboney, an attorney and political strategist in Atlanta, GA, is the co-founder and president of the AND Campaign. In the debut episode of the Whole Life Podcast, a new podcast from Millennial and Democrats for Life of America, he discusses the AND Campaign and its Whole Life Project, efforts to advance racial justice, the importance of democracy and voting rights, how religious and secular political activists can work together to protect human dignity, and more with co-hosts Kristen Day and Robert Christian. He also discusses his new book, Compassion (&) Conviction.

Day and Christian cover the latest news affecting the whole life movement, answer the question of the month (How can you remain a Democrat when you are pro-life?), and discuss the upcoming elections.

It can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and below. You can support the show here: https://support.democratsforlife.org/product/2EFF09A/whole-life-rising


Our Moral Obligations Are Not Bound by Borders

Meghan Clark writes:

Our moral obligation to our neighbor, as explicated in Chapter 2, provides the lens through which the encyclical’s passages on international economics, private property and the universal destination of goods should be examined. While they are fiery in tone and uncompromising in judgment, the economic passages in Fratelli Tutti mostly restate the longstanding Catholic moral tradition and apply it to today’s context.

Reminding us that this goes back to the very beginning, Francis quotes fourth-century St. John Chrysostom: “Not to share our wealth with the poor is to rob them and take away their livelihood. The riches we possess are not our own, but theirs as well.” The universal destination of goods — this belief that the goods of creation are destined for humankind as a whole — helps us imagine what it means to be one human family and who we are called to be.

Positive obligations toward my neighbor should govern questions of economic justice. And when one’s neighbor is in need, meeting basic needs trumps any questions of their moral character. The universal destination of goods is primary. The right to individual private property is secondary, and always in service of the common good.

Fratelli Tutti helpfully argues with precise clarity that positive moral obligations of the universal destination of goods are not bound by borders and are operative on levels of the global economic apparatus.

In particular, Francis identifies both positive and negative moral obligations of nations, stating, “If every human being possesses an inalienable dignity,” then “it matters little whether my neighbor was born in my country or elsewhere.” Every nation has responsibilities to the one human family; and this responsibility can be met either by offering “a generous welcome to those in urgent need, or work to improve living conditions in their native lands by refusing to exploit those countries or to drain them of natural resources, backing corrupt systems that hinder the dignified development of their peoples” (Paragraph 125).

Taking to heart Fratelli Tutti, and especially its economic and political moral obligations, would drastically change the calculation for what is asked of Americans — as individuals, communities and as one nation — with respect to those migrants journeying to seek asylum. We are not only asked to provide welcome, but also both to avoid participating in their oppression and positively support their development.

Our responsibilities are not bound by borders but by our common humanity. Repeatedly, the encyclical calls for listening at the margins, developing policies from the bottom up, and building a radically different social, civil and political global community.