Quote of the Day

Pope Francis: “We should never attempt to separate these three graces of the Gospel: its truth, which is non-negotiable; its mercy, which is unconditional and offered to all sinners; and its joy, which is personal and open to everyone.”

Listen as Donald Trump Attempts to Steal the Election and Destroy American Democracy

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The Washington Post reports:

President Trump urged fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call Saturday that election experts said raised legal questions.

The Washington Post obtained a recording of the conversation in which Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking “a big risk.”

Throughout the call, Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected Trump’s assertions, explaining that the president is relying on debunked conspiracy theories and that President-elect Joe Biden’s 11,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate.

You can listen to the full call here.


Pope Praises Those Who Have Sacrificed For Others in 2020

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

via Vatican News:

Pope Francis praised the “many people who, without making noise, have tried to make the weight of the trial more bearable.” He singled out not only healthcare workers, and priests and religious on the front lines, but also “all those who strive every day in the best way possible to carry on their service to their families and to those who are committed in their service to the common good.” He singled out especially teachers and school administrators, as well as civic leaders who put the good of others, especially the most disadvantaged, ahead of their own private interests.

“All this cannot happen without the grace, without the mercy of God,” Pope Francis said. “How is it possible… that so many people, without any other reward than of doing good, found the strength to be concerned about others?” he asked. “In the end, even if they themselves are not aware of it, what fortifies them is God’s strength which is more powerful than our selfishness.” And so, the Pope said, “For this reason, this evening we give praise to Him, because we believe and we know that all the good that is accomplished day after day on earth, in the end, comes from Him, comes from God.”

Individuality and Solidarity without Individualism

Photo by Étienne Godiard on Unsplash

Millennial Catholic Ellen Koneck writes:

It’s easy to confuse individuality with individualism—but if you’ve got a minute and you don’t mind, I’d like to strongly insist on the difference.

Individuality, last month’s theme on Wit & Delight, is a gift: it’s all about the unique presence and perspective each person brings to the world. Your capacities and curiosities, your skills and interests; the shape of your soul, the sound of your sigh, the signature slant of your handwriting. It’s a celebration of the utterly unrepeatable expression of your specific existence. And frankly, it matters little whether you believe that the expression is reincarnated or brand new; discovered or created; nurtured or natured (or both)—because the point stands: you are a singular instance of being-in-the-world, and that’s extremely rad.

Individualism, on the other hand, is a social theory that emphasizes the importance of independence over dependence or even interdependence. There are many strains of individualism, and many effects and outcomes that stem from this social theory—more than I can unpack here. The fact of the matter is, many people in modern, Western cultures (and elsewhere, of course), have internalized a consequence of individualism that sees, even subconsciously, dependence on others as weakness. Intentionally or not, we seem to believe that freedom is freedom from, rather than freedom for. Freedom from the needs of others, rather than freedom for meeting the needs of others (and having our needs met). But we’re most free when we’re free to give and receive: I have something unique to benefit and serve you, and you have something unique to benefit and serve others. If this sounds like love, that’s because it is. And it’s also the basis of community….

My way of being in the world, my individuality and identity, impact others, for better or for worse. And even though I haven’t left my house in goodness-knows-how-long, the individual choices, actions, and ideas of others have a direct impact on my world—on my loved ones, on our country.

It seems that 2020 has solidarity in the spotlight. Our interconnection, our dependence on each other, has never been clearer. For many of us, never before have the questions solidarity asks felt more urgent: What do we owe to each other? How are we bound to each other?  

But it’s not just the happy realization of our interconnection with each other that has made solidarity front and center this year. The ways we’ve failed to live in solidarity with our fellow humans has been front and center, too…

Pope Commits Vatican to Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

via the Vatican:

The current pandemic and climate change, which have not only environmental, but also ethical, social, economic and political relevance, affect above all the life of the poorest and most fragile. In this way they appeal to our responsibility to promote, through collective and joint commitment, a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the centre.

Aside from adopting various measures that cannot be postponed any further, a strategy is necessary to reduce net emissions to zero (net-zero emission).

The Holy See joins in this aim, moving on two levels:

1. On the one hand, Vatican City State is committed to reducing net emissions to zero before 2050, intensifying the efforts at environmental management that have already been in process for some years, and which make possible the rational use of natural resources such as water and energy, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, reforestation, and the circular economy also in waste management.

2. On the other, the Holy See is committed to promoting education in integral ecology. Political and technical measures must be united with an educational process that favours a cultural model of development and sustainability based on fraternity and the alliance between the human being and the environment.

Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Face the Bitter Truth by George Packer: “Tens of millions of Americans love MAGA more than they love democracy. After four years of lawbreaking and norm-busting, there can be no illusions about President Donald Trump. His first term culminated in an open effort to sabotage the legitimacy of the election and prevent Americans from voting. His rallies in the final week of the campaign were red-drenched festivals of mass hate, autocratic self-absorption, and boredom, without a glimmer of a better future on offer—and they might have put Trump over the top in Florida and elsewhere. Even as “freedom-loving people” came out in unprecedented millions to vote, their readiness to throw away their republican institutions along with their dignity and grasp of facts suggests that many Americans have lost the basic qualities that the Founders believed essential to self-government. There is no obvious way to reverse this decline, which shows signs of infecting elements of the other side as well.”

The wrong people are in charge of protecting our children from sexual abuse by J.D. Long-García: “With the publishing of the McCarrick report, we undoubtedly learned that the church still has a lot of work to do regarding sexual abuse. These lessons are long overdue. Yes, we do need lay supervisory boards. And yes, we need transparency. And yes, we need accountability and recompense. But as a layperson, and as a father, I cannot continue to make myself dependent on ordained men. Not for this.”

The boy who assaulted me watched porn since he was 7. Can the Eucharist help us fight this evil? by Ashleen Menchaca-Bagnulo: “We have to realize that we cannot consume images without them changing our appetites and prospects for a good life, individually and collectively—whether we are the consumers or the consumed. And once a culture’s desires are shaped into darker forms, it is very difficult to return from that, to relearn what we should long for and to restructure our relationships, norms and expectations accordingly.”

What Did the Democrats Win? Michael Tomasky : “The election demonstrated, more intensely than any other before, that Americans inhabit two different moral universes. In our personal lives, we may share broadly similar ideas about what constitutes right and wrong: how to raise children, how to be responsible friends and family members. But on political matters, we see two opposite realities.”

A Dangerous Bishop by Mike Lewis: “In many cases, Pope Francis’s decision to remain silent over an outspoken critic or rogue bishop has been justified. In the case of Bishop Strickland, however, decisive action is, arguably, long overdue. First of all, as a diocesan bishop, he has the authority to impose obligations on the faithful. Unlike retired or sidelined dissenting bishops like Cardinal Raymond Burke, there are everyday Catholics under his authority. There is a real danger that he may put their physical and spiritual health at risk. Secondly, his influence is growing. Ignoring him appears to only have emboldened him. Popular Catholic apostolates like Catholic Answers and associations have given him global platforms. His invitation to address the Napa Conference suggests that he has backers among wealthy and influential Catholics.”

Working It Out by Katie Daniels: “Millennials joined the workforce during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression; we’re deeply in debt (an estimated $37,000 per debtor); and we live with a sense that to get into college, find “good” jobs, and maintain our value in society, we need to be, as Jia Tolentino puts it, “always optimizing.” Little wonder we’re so tired.”

No one talks about how difficult breastfeeding is. That’s hurting all moms. by Stephanie Murray: “Kristin Tully, a breastfeeding and infant-sleep expert at the Center for Maternal and Infant Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says a better understanding of the varying challenges nursing mothers face could help foster more empathetic and supportive environments.”

Europe’s Highest Court Gives Its Approval to Attempts to Outlaw Jewish and Muslim Life by Yair Rosenberg: “This is how anti-Semitism, among other bigotries, has often operated: as cost-free virtue signaling that enables the majority to claim that it cares about a moral problem, while scapegoating minorities for it and never sacrificing anything themselves.”

The Bronx vs. Manhattan by David Leonhardt: “For Democrats to do better with the working class, they probably need to moderate their liberal image on social issues — and double down on economic populism.”

I’m a Catholic who’s struggled with eating disorders. You aren’t alone if you do, too. by Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg: “I had hoped to find solace in my faith as a teenager, but I quickly learned that even faithful Catholics believed the concept “your body is a temple” meant “your body is a temple if you are a size 4, have thin arms, and thighs that don’t touch.” As I grew older, this same message was tangled up in the women’s talks I heard at conferences and retreats, in the speakers who were chosen to speak at those events and in the narrow way Catholic women around me talked about “body positivity.””