News & Views
Check in each week to read interesting articles from Catholic writers, discover what Catholics are talking about in the wider world, find out what's happening in the lives of Catholic leaders, and keep up with the latest news from the Sisters of Bon Secours!

IN PURSUIT OF THE COMMON GOOD

Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter |  September 23, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. Pope Francis has gently but firmly reminded U.S. political leaders they have a responsibility to work for the common good of humanity, citing a president, a minister, and two Catholics radically dedicated to social justice and peace-building as examples for their work.

In the first papal address to a joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate on Thursday, Francis made his main message clear almost immediately.

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POPE FRANCIS MEETS WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA

Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter| September 23, 2015

WASHINGTON

Pope Francis met with U.S. President Barack Obama in an extraordinarily crowded public encounter outside the White House Wednesday morning, and praised the president for his work fighting climate change but also asked that he protect religious liberty in the country.In the presence of a record-breaking crowd of some 15,000 invited guests, many of whom had arrived before dawn to glimpse the pope, Francis first thanked Obama for welcoming him — a “son of an immigrant family” — to the U.S.

The pope then expressed hope that the president would be “vigilant” in respecting religious liberty, but also said he and U.S. Catholics do not seek to practice any sort of discrimination.

“Together with their fellow citizens, American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination,” the pontiff told the president.

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A POPE FOR ALL PEOPLE

Rosemary Nassif, Global Sisters Report| September 17, 2015

St. Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite Sister who lived from 1515 to 1582, describes prayer as “looking at God looking at me.” I believe this is the goal of all spirituality — whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist — to see others, our world and ourselves with the eyes of God.

There are a few extraordinary people who inspire us to see as God sees. I had the opportunity to look into the eyes of Pope Francis for the first time in May 2014 in St. Peter’s Square. As I watched him address the crowd and warmly, even intimately, greet so many, I realized that he was seeing them with the eyes of God, unconditionally loving the reality and mystery of each and every one. Perhaps this is why one man aligned to so many specific moral and theological beliefs can have such universal attraction and appeal. His very person inspires one to reach beyond religions and issues and connect to the God within.

This coming week Pope Francis will be among us.  (more…)

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LIVING THE CALL

If the Vatican were looking for someone who models the kind of church Pope Francis envisions, it would be difficult to do better than Mercy Sr. Mary Scullion, a North Philadelphia icon, founder of Project HOME and fierce, if jovial, advocate for the city’s poor and homeless for the past 40 years.

The mention of Francis recently brought a huge smile to Scullion, who was asked by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput to head up the Committee on Hunger and Homelessness for the Sept. 22-25 World Meeting of Families. Pope Francis speaks a language — about the margins, about the need for the church to get out of the sanctuary, about the art of accompaniment — that has defined Scullion’s life and ministry since 1976.   (more…)

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THE POPE’S VISIT TO THE USA

Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter | September 5, 2015

The pope’s visit to the United States is going to be a whirlwind affair with scores of events and activities. In the midst of this papal storm, here are five things to focus on.

First, Francis the man.

This will be America’s first opportunity to see the pope up-close and personal. He is going to be treated like a rock star, but he is no ordinary celebrity. What people will notice is that, for the pope, the visit is not all about himself. It is about the Gospel message of God’s love and compassion and our responsibility to respond to that love by loving our brothers and sisters, especially the poor.

In other words, he is not selling himself; he is selling the Gospel message of Jesus.

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HOMELESS JESUS

Chaz Muth- Catholic News Service  8/25/15

WASHINGTON — When Pope Francis approaches the Catholic Charities building in downtown Washington during his U.S. visit in September, he will encounter a “homeless person” covered in a blanket laying on a park bench.

The scene actually is a sculpture. And it’s not a work of art depicting any homeless person; it’s the bronze image of “Homeless Jesus.”

“I hope Pope Francis blesses our ‘Homeless Jesus’ when he’s here,” said Roland Woody, a Washington resident who was homeless until earlier this year. “It’s kind of a symbol of hope for the homeless in D.C. If the pope blesses it, it will be even more special.”   (more…)

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THE HUMANITY WITHIN US

Joan Chittister-National Catholic Reporter: June 9, 2015

NASA is quiet about it, but the fact remains: It is looking for aliens in outer space. What’s more, these days, the rest of us almost expect to see them in our own lifetime. They’re out there somewhere, we figure. And if they don’t find us first, we are certainly going to find them. Maybe under a rock on Mars; maybe in the water beneath the crust of Ceres. Surely somewhere.

If nothing else, the odds alone demand it. Of the 200 billion to 300 billion stars in our own Milky Way and the 100 billion to 200 billion galaxies in the universe, who really believes that we are alone out here?

The problem we’re overlooking is that they are already here. Only now, we call them “robots.” They, too, are alien to our society but moving in fast. In fact, now we hardly notice them anymore.

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WALK IN THE MARGINS

National Catholic Reporter| Editorial Staff | July 27, 2015

Editorial

In the growing corpus of Pope Francis pronouncements — in homilies and speeches and encyclicals — an eloquence adheres that might safely be characterized as singular in quality in the long history of papal literature. It is an eloquence eminently accessible, born of personal experience and shaped primarily by his love of the poor.

It is not a distant love or a romanticized notion out of which he speaks. He doesn’t make heroes of poor people or conjure some noble purpose out of poverty that will somehow be fully realized in the next life.

Quite the opposite. Transcendence is not reserved for some other reality. For Francis, the Christ we worship in the quiet of the sanctuary is the Christ of the streets. Francis is about real here-and-now situations in very plain language, and that language at times is disarmingly undiplomatic.  (more…)

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RADICAL FORGIVENESS

Ilia Delio | Global Sisters Report, May 30, 2015

Nature is fickle. Just when you think you know something about something else, say another human person, a tree or your new cat, you are taken off guard because the other can spring from the plane of the predictable and do surprising things. Just about a month ago, we adopted two six-month-old kittens who had struggled through the first few months of life. We brought them home from the shelter thinking that these two would be fragile and weak, but in a month’s time and with lots of food and rest, they have come alive. Despite their fragile beginnings, they are playful and carefree and remind me of nature’s creative resiliency, as they romp down the hallway throwing their toys into the air, as if the abandoned alley never existed.

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FAITH LEADERS HONORED BY WHITE HOUSE

Dennis Sadowski | Catholic News Service, July 17, 2015

Two Catholics are among a dozen faith leaders who will be honored at the White House July 20 for their work on climate change.

Franciscan Sister Joan Brown, executive director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, and Patrick Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, were named Champions of Change by President Barack Obama.

Both told Catholic News Service they were surprised by the honor.

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