Father Jacques Hamel’s Martyrdom and Church Unity

Millennial writer Christopher White writes:

I spent the better part of June in France, much of it talking to Catholic leaders, seminarians, and rectors. The subject of Hamel’s death was always among the first to come up and I was particularly curious how younger priests viewed the witness of this older martyr.

One young priest in Paris put it to me like this: “Hamel was an ordinary priest from a very different generation than mine. Too often we’ve tended to label priests of his era as more liberal, or even less Catholic, than the priests of my generation. His martyrdom now serves as a bridge and I think many of us in the younger generation now have a special devotion to him.”

The turbulent years following Vatican II presented undeniable changes and challenges for the priesthood and the universal Church. Different factions within the Church effectively took sides-be it in debates over liturgical matters or political engagement – and many of the results have been less than edifying. Such tribalism has persisted and is particularly evident in the Francis era where there has been no shortage of those willing to exploit these divisions within the Church.

The extraordinary response to Hamel’s martyrdom throughout France has been one of unity and an abiding belief that his sacrifice would yield a greater good for both the Church and the country. It was a moment in which differences between self-described “traditionalists” and “Vatican II” Catholics were put aside and as that young Parisian priest said to me, “we were reminded that we were primarily all Catholics first.”

You can read the full article here.


How are Parishes Welcoming Young Adults?

Millennial writer Christopher White and Elise Italiano write:

For me (Christopher), growing up in a Protestant church, coffee hours after church were a regular function. It was an occasion where cross sections of our community could gather and continue our fellowship beyond the church service. It was, in some respects, a chance to build that culture of encounter that Pope Francis speaks about so frequently.

After converting to Catholicism, I was dismayed that my parish failed to offer anything similar. So, I urged our parish council to institute a wine and cheese hour after the Sunday evening masses.

It was here where I met not just other members of my parish, but my neighbors, as well. This would later lead to subsequent dinner party invitations, concerts and shows, art gallery viewings and, ultimately, new and true friendships….

I have been incredibly blessed to attend a parish in the greater Washington metro area where being a single professional is the norm. The genius of this particular parish is that it engages its parishioners (more than 50 percent of them are between the ages of 25-50) with a variety of options:

There are adult catechetical series for those interested in study; small faith groups for personal support; a weekly event in which confession and adoration are followed by drinking at the local Irish pub (and the priests do come); and there are opportunities for local service and international mission trips….

But these events cannot merely be instituted from on high; they must take into consideration the needs and realities of young people.

That’s why we believe it’s critical for young people to be given a welcome spot on parish councils.



Building an Economy that Serves and Uplifts the Vulnerable: An Interview with Eric LeCompte

Eric LeCompte is the executive director of Jubilee USA. Millennial editor Robert Christian interviewed him on his work to address global inequality and build an economy that serves all persons, particularly the poor and vulnerable.

What does Jubilee USA do?

Ahead of the Jubilee Year, when Christian churches were preparing to celebrate the 2000th Anniversary of Christ’s birth, global religious leaders called us to celebrate by tackling the root causes of poverty. Pope John Paul ll encouraged us to reflect on the true scriptural meaning of Jubilee during the Church’s Jubilee 2000 celebration. Jubilee is a central them in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. The Jubilee story starts in Genesis. God loves us so much that God created a resource rich world for us to share in seven days. We are closest to the Creator when we are sharing those resources amongst us. Then we have the early law books of scripture that attempt to legislate how we live according to Jubilee laws. Deuteronomy and Leviticus lay out how we can be in right relationship with one another and our God. They dictate that every seven years we should forgive debts, let the land rest, and set free slaves. They establish a set of laws that protect all of us from having too little or too much. Then the prophets come to remind the people they are no longer living according to the laws of Jubilee. And then in Luke, in the first public act of our Lord, He reads from Isaiah ‎about setting captives free and proclaiming the Year of the Lord’s Favor or the great Jubilee year. This is seven times seven years where there is a restoration of equality among all of God’s people.

From the call of Pope John Paul ll and other faith leaders, the Catholic Church took on an incredible leadership role to win debt relief for the world’s poorest countries and move forward greater protections for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

That’s the story of how Jubilee USA started as an interfaith coalition of Jews, Muslims, and Christians to address the structures that cause poverty and inequality. To this day, we take on US and global policies on debt, tax, trade, and transparency issues. When we address these issues, we impact millions of people living in poverty in the US and across our world. From resolving Puerto Rico’s financial crisis to corporate transparency to student debt, Jubilee USA wins solutions that impact our global community. Ultimately, we are building an economy that serves, protects, and promotes participation of the most vulnerable.

Congressional Quarterly cites our interfaith efforts as the last successful bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill.

What are some of the accomplishments that Jubilee USA has achieved?

We’ve won more than $130 billion in debt relief for the world’s poorest economies. Because of the US and global agreements we’ve won, that $130 billion is invested in schools, hospitals, and other social infrastructure. In Sub Saharan Africa alone, 54 million kids have gone to‎ school who never would have seen the inside of a classroom. Recently, Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank President, cited Jubilee’s efforts as the reason for economic growth in parts of Africa.

Debt and financial crises‎ often affect the most vulnerable in the most extreme ways. It’s tragic that the global financial crisis punished those who had nothing to do with creating the crisis. Nearly 100 million people, mostly women and children, were cast into extreme poverty because of the crisis. Beyond debt relief, Jubilee USA transforms the debt, tax, and trade policies that cause poverty and inequality. For every 10 dollars in aid developing economies receive, they lose more than150 dollars from debt payments, tax evasion, and corruption.

In the last few years, here are some of the strategic campaigns we’ve won:‎ debt relief in Haiti and the 3 Ebola-impacted West Africa countries, a new International Monetary Fund trust fund to aid poor countries struck by disasters, multiple anti-corruption measures impacting low income countries, ‎super bankruptcy legislation for Puerto Rico‎, three international agreements to promote responsible lending and stop predatory lending, two victories to keep student loan interest rates low, G7 and G20 agreements to curb tax evasion and corruption, pushing trade agreements‎ that help end poverty, and securing zero interest loans for poor communities. Read More


Democratic Campaign Chair Rejects Abortion Litmus Test, Calls for Broad Coalition

via The Hill:

Democrats will not withhold financial support for candidates who oppose abortion rights, the chairman of the party’s campaign arm in the House said in an interview with The Hill.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) said there will be no litmus tests for candidates as Democrats seek to find a winning roster to regain the House majority in 2018.

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” said Luján, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman. “As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America.”…

Luján, serving his second term as the DCCC’s chairman, has cast a wide net for candidates. A map on his office wall highlights districts held by dozens of Republican that he hopes to oust in the 2018 midterm elections.

“To pick up 24 [seats] and get to 218, that is the job. We’ll need a broad coalition to get that done,” Luján said. “We are going to need all of that, we have to be a big family in order to win the House back.”

The Missouri Democratic Party has also said that it rejects a litmus test on abortion:

If Democrats interested in running for office are pro-life, Missouri Democratic Party chairman Stephen Webber says, so be it. He tells Missourinet candidate recruitment is one of his top priorities.

“We’re looking for candidates that will work hard and are willing to communicate their deeply held convictions,” says Webber.

During a town hall meeting earlier this month, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, said her party is recruiting pro-life Democrats. McCaskill made her comments to reporters in Ashland, in response to a Fulton woman who told the audience pro-lifers “are no longer welcome” in the Missouri Democratic Party.