The Catholic Church in the US Has Failed to Address the Climate Crisis with the Urgency Required

via NCR:

The Catholic Church in the U.S. is failing in its capacity to respond to climate change and to live up to its mission to safeguard God’s creation, a theologian said this week during a lecture that spawned an act of contrition from the archbishop in attendance.

Daniel DiLeo, an assistant theology professor at Creighton University and director of its justice and peace studies program, made the comments March 22 during the annual Schemmel theology lecture at Clarke University, in Dubuque, Iowa. The online talk provided an overview of Catholic teaching on the environment, climate science and how the two intertwine.

Toward the end of his presentation, DiLeo, who is also a consultant for Catholic Climate Covenant, said the U.S. church is in an “almost ideal” position to respond to climate change. “We’ve got the mission, we’ve got the ethics” and the call to evangelization, he said, but moreover, it has the logistics to make a serious difference — in terms of people (about 70 million Catholics in the U.S., or 20% of the population), institutions (176 dioceses, nearly 17,000 parishes and thousands of schools, hospitals and advocacy networks), infrastructure (more than 100,000 buildings and millions of acres of land) and money.

“The Catholic tradition has a tremendous amount of potential,” DiLeo said. “Unfortunately, we have not realized this potential.”

He continued: “The U.S. Catholic response has not been anywhere near what is commensurate with the science and the magnitude of what [Pope] Francis describes as the climate emergency. So we’ve done some things, but it’s not anywhere near commensurate with what’s required.”

You can watch the lecture here:

Why Democrats Should Care About ‘Pope Francis Voters’

Michael Sean Winters is an award-winning columnist at the National Catholic Reporter, where he often writes about the intersection of faith and politics. He is also the author of Left At the Altar: How Democrats Lost The Catholics And How Catholics Can Save The Democrats. In this episode, he talks about the 2020 and 2022 elections, the state of the parties, “Pope Francis voters”, the role of money in politics, and the Biden administration.

Co-hosts Kristen Day and Millennial editor Robert Christian discuss the recent passage of the COVID-relief package, the possibility of an increase in the minimum wage, and upcoming whole life events, along with the question of the month: “Should we care what men think about abortion?”

It can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and below. You can support the show here:

May We Pour Out Mercy to Those Most in Need

Preaching for Palm Sunday for Catholic Women Preach, Millennial writer Nichole Flores offers a reflection which names the words and feelings of woe and abandonment, but calls us to focus on words and actions of healing and mercy:

“As we approach this Holy Week, May we find comfort in the words of mercy poured out Even in the midst of trial. May we pour our mercy to those around us, especially as we all continue to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death of this pandemic. And may we pour out mercy to those most in need, doing all that we can to defend the lives and dignity of the children of God Crying out for God’s mercy.”

Fragile Democracy: Technocratic Takeover and Popular Renewal

via the Lumen Christi Institute:

A conversation with Charles Taylor (McGill University), Patrizia Nanz (German Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management), and Jason Blakely (Pepperdine University), moderated by Fr. Patrick Gilger, SJ.

We are experiencing a crisis of democracy more powerful than anything seen in a generation: inequality continues at a galloping pace; policing is increasingly racialized and militarized; political decision-making appears remote and divorced from the lives of ordinary people. This panel discussion…will consider sources and solutions to the present crisis of democracy by drawing on two recent books: Reconstructing Democracy by Charles Taylor, Patrizia Nanz, and Madeleine Beaubien Taylor and We Built Reality by Jason Blakely.  Both works identify within our political and cultural crisis the loss of democratic participation and the rise of top-down technocratic, managerial rule.

The US Bishops Criticized Obama More than Trump, and More Often by Name

Photo by Stephen Mayes on Unsplash

Sabrina Danielsen, Emily Burke, and Millennial writer Dan DiLeo write:

Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese observes that since inauguration day, U.S. bishops’ conference press releases about Biden’s policies have been notably positive. However, our research about the disparities in how the bishops’ conference publicly discussed Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama leads us to anticipate that church leaders may be more overtly critical and less overtly praising of Biden moving forward.

We suspect this will be the case out of the conference’s desire to preserve an informal alliance with the Republican Party especially based on shared legislative priorities and strategies around abortion, religious freedom, and same-sex marriage. If this occurs, it is likely to damage the relationship between the bishops’ conference and Biden and prevent fruitful collaboration on pressing issues.

Our research began after a series of viral tweets in 2019 claimed a bias in how the conference’s press releases criticized Trump and Obama. The tweets alleged the bishops’ conference was more likely to criticize Obama by name, whereas criticisms of Trump referred vaguely to “the administration” or “the federal government.”

We set out to test these claims in a more comprehensive, systematic and nuanced way, looking both at statements by individual bishops at the diocesan level as well as statements from the body of bishops….

The U.S. bishops’ conference was less willing to criticize Trump by name than Obama by name, it was less likely to praise Obama by name than Trump by name, and it had a higher percentage of unnamed criticism for Trump than Obama.

According to our research of USCCB statements:

    • 17% of sentences that criticized Trump did so by name while 36% of sentences that criticized Obama named him.
    • 15% of sentences praised Obama did so by name while 31% of sentences that praised Trump named him.
    • And 56% of sentences that criticized Obama did not do so by name while 80% of sentences that criticized Trump did not do so by name.

The U.S. bishops’ shift toward the Republican Party can also be attributed to several related dynamics: shared prioritization of abortion as the “preeminent” social problem and a corresponding judiciary-focused strategy to address this issue; “the rise of neoconservative Catholics” that current USCCB staff member Todd Scriber recognizes in A Partisan Church and who shape Catholic discourse; wealthy political conservatives who support bishops’ activities and advocate a “uniquely American version of Catholicism;” the influence of organizations like the Knights of Columbus that fund the bishops’ conference along with politically conservative initiatives; the increasing political partisanship of conservative Catholic media like EWTN that provide platforms for “neoconservative Catholics” and has been described as having become the ” ‘Fox News’ of religious broadcasting;” and increasing numbers of U.S. bishops’ conference staff coming from conservative colleges and institutions, as John Gehring — himself a former USCCB staffer — describes in The Francis Effect.

The idea that the U.S. bishops’ conference distanced their criticism of Trump compared to Obama to preserve an alliance with the Republican Party is further supported by our research into the most common topics addressed in the bishops’ sentences of praise and criticism.

Republicans Rightly Love Joe Biden’s Covid Relief Bill

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

Christopher Hale writes:

The American Rescue Plan that Biden signed into law last week is perhaps the most popular piece of major legislation in modern American history. A poll released earlier this month suggested that even 59% of Republicans support the legislation.

While the bill didn’t receive a single Republican vote, Republicans are already touting the benefits of the bill to their constituents. Much to the dismay of many on my side of the aisle, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi)—who voted against the bill—tweeted out about his advocacy and support for the plan’s $29 billion in direct relief to restaurants whose sales have plummeted in the past year….

It’s a conservative principle at play: the government (rightly) told businesses to shut down their operations, so the government should foot the bill. This isn’t welfare. It’s basic fairness.