Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pope: “transform the world by forming a family”: via @YouTube

  Instead of violent revolution to transform the world, build a family. Faith lived historically in this material world and at this time in ordinary life - economic, family, rest - always involves a getting out of self. This is the great, exciting and challenging task set before us. Watch the Pope here.

What's Happening Out There? The Discernment of Pope Francis on Technology and the Perceptiveness of Dr. Sherry Turkle

Laudato Si

107: “It can be said that many problems or today’s world stem from the tendency, at times unconscious, to make the method and aims of science and technology an epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individuals and the workings of society. The effects of imposing this mode on reality as a whole, human and social, are seen in the deterioration of the environment, but this is just one sign of a reductionism which affects every aspect of human and social life. We have to accept that technological products are not neutral, for they create a framework which ends up conditioning lifestyles and sharing social possibilities along the lines dictated by the interests of certain powerful groups. Decisions which may seem purely instrumental are in reality decisions about the kind of society we want to build.”

Now, consider Professor Sherry Turkle’s, “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.”

"Stop Googling. Let’s Talk"

By SHERRY TURKLE    SEPT. 26, 2015

COLLEGE students tell me they know how to look someone in the eye and type on their phones at the same time, their split attention undetected. They say it’s a skill they mastered in middle school when they wanted to text in class without getting caught. Now they use it when they want to be both with their friends and, as some put it, “elsewhere.”
These days, we feel less of a need to hide the fact that we are dividing our attention. In a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of cellphone owners said they had used their phones during the last social gathering they attended. But they weren’t happy about it; 82 percent of adults felt that the way they used their phones in social settings hurt the conversation.
I’ve been studying the psychology of online connectivity for more than 30 years. For the past five, I’ve had a special focus: What has happened to face-to-face conversation in a world where so many people say they would rather text than talk? I’ve looked at families, friendships and romance. I’ve studied schools, universities and workplaces. When college students explain to me how dividing their attention plays out in the dining hall, some refer to a “rule of three.” In a conversation among five or six people at dinner, you have to check that three people are paying attention — heads up — before you give yourself permission to look down at your phone. So conversation proceeds, but with different people having their heads up at different times. The effect is what you would expect: Conversation is kept relatively light, on topics where people feel they can drop in and out.
Young people spoke to me enthusiastically about the good things that flow from a life lived by the rule of three, which you can follow not only during meals but all the time. First of all, there is the magic of the always available elsewhere. You can put your attention wherever you want it to be. You can always be heard. You never have to be bored. When you sense that a lull in the conversation is coming, you can shift your attention from the people in the room to the world you can find on your phone. But the students also described a sense of loss.
One 15-year-old I interviewed at a summer camp talked about her reaction when she went out to dinner with her father and he took out his phone to add “facts” to their conversation. “Daddy,” she said, “stop Googling. I want to talk to you.” A 15-year-old boy told me that someday he wanted to raise a family, not the way his parents are raising him (with phones out during meals and in the park and during his school sports events) but the way his parents think they are raising him — with no phones at meals and plentiful family conversation. One college junior tried to capture what is wrong about life in his generation. “Our texts are fine,” he said. “It’s what texting does to our conversations when we are together that’s the problem.”
It’s a powerful insight. Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. People keep the conversation on topics where they won’t mind being interrupted. They don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us.
In 2010, a team at the University of Michigan led by the psychologist Sara Konrath put together the findings of 72 studies that were conducted over a 30-year period. They found a 40 percent decline in empathy among college students, with most of the decline taking place after 2000.
Across generations, technology is implicated in this assault on empathy. We’ve gotten used to being connected all the time, but we have found ways around conversation — at least from conversation that is open-ended and spontaneous, in which we play with ideas and allow ourselves to be fully present and vulnerable. But it is in this type of conversation — where we learn to make eye contact, to become aware of another person’s posture and tone, to comfort one another and respectfully challenge one another — that empathy and intimacy flourish. In these conversations, we learn who we are.
Of course, we can find empathic conversations today, but the trend line is clear. It’s not only that we turn away from talking face to face to chat online. It’s that we don’t allow these conversations to happen in the first place because we keep our phones in the landscape.
In our hearts, we know this, and now research is catching up with our intuitions. We face a significant choice. It is not about giving up our phones but about using them with greater intention. Conversation is there for us to reclaim. For the failing connections of our digital world, it is the talking cure.
The trouble with talk begins young. A few years ago, a private middle school asked me to consult with its faculty: Students were not developing friendships the way they used to. At a retreat, the dean described how a seventh grader had tried to exclude a classmate from a school social event. It’s an age-old problem, except that this time when the student was asked about her behavior, the dean reported that the girl didn’t have much to say: “She was almost robotic in her response. She said, ‘I don’t have feelings about this.’ She couldn’t read the signals that the other student was hurt.”
The dean went on: “Twelve-year-olds play on the playground like 8-year-olds. The way they exclude one another is the way 8-year-olds would play. They don’t seem able to put themselves in the place of other children.”
One teacher observed that the students “sit in the dining hall and look at their phones. When they share things together, what they are sharing is what is on their phones.” Is this the new conversation? If so, it is not doing the work of the old conversation. The old conversation taught empathy. These students seem to understand each other less.
But we are resilient. The psychologist Yalda T. Uhls was the lead author on a 2014 study of children at a device-free outdoor camp. After five days without phones or tablets, these campers were able to read facial emotions and correctly identify the emotions of actors in videotaped scenes significantly better than a control group. What fostered these new empathic responses? They talked to one another. In conversation, things go best if you pay close attention and learn how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This is easier to do without your phone in hand. Conversation is the most human and humanizing thing that we do.
I have seen this resilience during my own research at a device-free summer camp. At a nightly cabin chat, a group of 14-year-old boys spoke about a recent three-day wilderness hike. Not that many years ago, the most exciting aspect of that hike might have been the idea of roughing it or the beauty of unspoiled nature. These days, what made the biggest impression was being phoneless. One boy called it “time where you have nothing to do but think quietly and talk to your friends.” The campers also spoke about their new taste for life away from the online feed. Their embrace of the virtue of disconnection suggests a crucial connection: The capacity for empathic conversation goes hand in hand with the capacity for solitude.
In solitude we find ourselves; we prepare ourselves to come to conversation with something to say that is authentic, ours. If we can’t gather ourselves, we can’t recognize other people for who they are. If we are not content to be alone, we turn others into the people we need them to be. If we don’t know how to be alone, we’ll only know how to be lonely.
A VIRTUOUS circle links conversation to the capacity for self-reflection. When we are secure in ourselves, we are able to really hear what other people have to say. At the same time, conversation with other people, both in intimate settings and in larger social groups, leads us to become better at inner dialogue.
But we have put this virtuous circle in peril. We turn time alone into a problem that needs to be solved with technology. Timothy D. Wilson, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, led a team that explored our capacity for solitude. People were asked to sit in a chair and think, without a device or a book. They were told that they would have from six to 15 minutes alone and that the only rules were that they had to stay seated and not fall asleep. In one experiment, many student subjects opted to give themselves mild electric shocks rather than sit alone with their thoughts.
People sometimes say to me that they can see how one might be disturbed when people turn to their phones when they are together. But surely there is no harm when people turn to their phones when they are by themselves? If anything, it’s our new form of being together.
But this way of dividing things up misses the essential connection between solitude and conversation. In solitude we learn to concentrate and imagine, to listen to ourselves. We need these skills to be fully present in conversation.
Every technology asks us to confront human values. This is a good thing, because it causes us to reaffirm what they are. If we are now ready to make face-to-face conversation a priority, it is easier to see what the next steps should be. We are not looking for simple solutions. We are looking for beginnings. Some of them may seem familiar by now, but they are no less challenging for that. Each addresses only a small piece of what silences us. Taken together, they can make a difference.
One start toward reclaiming conversation is to reclaim solitude. Some of the most crucial conversations you will ever have will be with yourself. Slow down sufficiently to make this possible. And make a practice of doing one thing at a time. Think of unitasking as the next big thing. In every domain of life, it will increase performance and decrease stress.
But doing one thing at a time is hard, because it means asserting ourselves over what technology makes easy and what feels productive in the short term. Multitasking comes with its own high, but when we chase after this feeling, we pursue an illusion. Conversation is a human way to practice unitasking.
Our phones are not accessories, but psychologically potent devices that change not just what we do but who we are. A second path toward conversation involves recognizing the degree to which we are vulnerable to all that connection offers. We have to commit ourselves to designing our products and our lives to take that vulnerability into account. We can choose not to carry our phones all the time. We can park our phones in a room and go to them every hour or two while we work on other things or talk to other people. We can carve out spaces at home or work that are device-free, sacred spaces for the paired virtues of conversation and solitude. Families can find these spaces in the day to day — no devices at dinner, in the kitchen and in the car. Introduce this idea to children when they are young so it doesn’t spring up as punitive but as a baseline of family culture. In the workplace, too, the notion of sacred spaces makes sense: Conversation among employees increases productivity.
We can also redesign technology to leave more room for talking to each other. The “do not disturb” feature on the iPhone offers one model. You are not interrupted by vibrations, lights or rings, but you can set the phone to receive calls from designated people or to signal when someone calls you repeatedly. Engineers are ready with more ideas: What if our phones were not designed to keep us attached, but to do a task and then release us? What if the communications industry began to measure the success of devices not by how much time consumers spend on them but by whether it is time well spent?
It is always wise to approach our relationship with technology in the context that goes beyond it. We live, for example, in a political culture where conversations are blocked by our vulnerability to partisanship as well as by our new distractions. We thought that online posting would make us bolder than we are in person, but a 2014 Pew studydemonstrated that people are less likely to post opinions on social media when they fear their followers will disagree with them. Designing for our vulnerabilities means finding ways to talk to people, online and off, whose opinions differ from our own.
Sometimes it simply means hearing people out. A college junior told me that she shied away from conversation because it demanded that one live by the rigors of what she calls the “seven minute rule.” It takes at least seven minutes to see how a conversation is going to unfold. You can’t go to your phone before those seven minutes are up. If the conversation goes quiet, you have to let it be. For conversation, like life, has silences — what some young people I interviewed called “the boring bits.” It is often in the moments when we stumble, hesitate and fall silent that we most reveal ourselves to one another.
The young woman who is so clear about the seven minutes that it takes to see where a conversation is going admits that she often doesn’t have the patience to wait for anything near that kind of time before going to her phone. In this she is characteristic of what the psychologists Howard Gardner and Katie Davis called the “app generation,” which grew up with phones in hand and apps at the ready. It tends toward impatience, expecting the world to respond like an app, quickly and efficiently. The app way of thinking starts with the idea that actions in the world will work like algorithms: Certain actions will lead to predictable results.
This attitude can show up in friendship as a lack of empathy. Friendships become things to manage; you have a lot of them, and you come to them with tools. So here is a first step: To reclaim conversation for yourself, your friendships and society, push back against viewing the world as one giant app. It works the other way, too: Conversation is the antidote to the algorithmic way of looking at life because it teaches you about fluidity, contingency and personality.
This is our moment to acknowledge the unintended consequences of the technologies to which we are vulnerable, but also to respect the resilience that has always been ours. We have time to make corrections and remember who we are — creatures of history, of deep psychology, of complex relationships, of conversations, artless, risky and face to face.

Sherry Turkle is a professor in the program in Science, Technology and Society at M.I.T. and the author, most recently, of “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,” from which this essay is adapted.

The Pope’s Mind on Annulments – on the plane back to Rome from Philadelphia 9/27/15

“He elaborated on questions regarding the upcoming Synod on the Family pointing out that there is no such thing as a “Catholic divorce” and that the Church has the responsibility of preparing couples much better for their life-long commitment to marriage.

From Robert Moynihan’s, Sept. 29, 2015.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jail: Following his address, the Pope then greeted each inmate individually, going to each one present in the room. Visibly moved, several inmates even asked him for a hug, to which the Pontiff readily obliged.

Pope to Inmates: ‘I Come Not Only as a Pastor, But as a Brother’
Meets with Detainees of the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Rome, September 27, 2015 (

Meeting with inmates at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Pope Francis said that he came to visit them not only as a pastor but as a brother.

Immediately following his meeting with Bishops attending the World Meeting of Families at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, the Pope boarded a Marine helicopter to the prison.

Thanking them for the warm welcome, the Pope said he came to share with them their sufferings and struggles on the difficult path towards rehabilitation.

“I have come so that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causes us pain, but also everything that gives us hope, so that we can receive from him the power of the resurrection,” he said.

The Pope reminded the inmates of the Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, which were covered in dust bruises or cuts from stones.

“That is why we see Jesus washing feet, our feet, the feet of his disciples, then and now,” he said. “Life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us.”

“He doesn’t ask us where we have been, he doesn’t question us about what we have done. Rather, he tells us: “Unless I wash your feet, you have no share with me”. Unless I wash your feet, I will not be able to give you the life which the Father always dreamed of, the life for which he created you.”

The Jesuit Pope said that life “means getting our feet dirty” and encouraged the inmates to allow Christ to cleanse them.

“All of us need to be cleansed, to be washed. All of us, and me in first place. All of us are being sought out by the Teacher, who wants to help us resume our journey.”

He also expressed his sorrow at seeing some prison systems that don’t tend to the wounds of those imprisoned. The theme of proper rehabilitation, especially those who have committed serious crimes, is a theme that has been by Pope Francis during his visit to the U.S.

In his speech to Congress earlier this week, the Pope called for an end to the death penalty and encouraged those who believe that “a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”

Reiterating his statements, the Pope told the inmates that their time of incarceration serves the purpose of “coming back to the table.”

“The Lord tells us this clearly with a sign: he washes our feet so we can come back to the table. The table from which he wishes no one to be excluded. The table which is spread for all and to which all of us are invited,” he said.

“This time in your life can only have one purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part of that effort, all of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation. A rehabilitation which everyone seeks and desires: inmates and their families, correctional authorities, social and educational programs. A rehabilitation which benefits and elevates the morale of the entire community and society.”

Following his address, the Pope then greeted each inmate individually, going to each one present in the room. Visibly moved, several inmates even asked him for a hug, to which the Pontiff readily obliged.
Before departing, Pope Francis thanked the inmates for the chair which they built for him. “The chair is beautiful. Thank you very much for the hard work!” he said.
--- --- ---

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Francis' last message to America: Don't be afraid of new things!

·         Joshua J. McElwee  |  Sep. 27, 2015
Francis in United States
Blogger: this is an extraordinary exegesis on the prophesying of Eldad and Medad: Moses: "Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!" And then "do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me."
   Notice that is not "religion" that saves but "anthopology." It's not what Church as denomination. It's growing a family by giving self-gift. It's not doctrine that saves, but the kerygma of proclaiming Christ. The true Church of Christ is the one that empowers one to make the gift of self. That is, it's not the categories one is in, but the projection out of self in service. The Catholic Church is true in that Jesus Christ subsists ("subsists" means Christ "exists" as Person) in it: Eucharist and sacraments. This has always been the problem with the Pharisee. The one saved has been the publican (Matthew), the Samaritan woman, Zaccheus and the prostitute. They made the gift and enter the Kingdom (Christ Himself) before  the others. Hear the pope.

* * * * 

Pope Francis ended his exhaustive six-day, three-city tour of the U.S. Sunday with a strong exhortation to American Catholics to be unafraid of trying new things, even if they seem to threaten long-practiced traditions or existing church structures.
In a homily to hundreds of thousands at an outdoor Mass packing Philadelphia's iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Francis said that Jesus' disciples were also afraid of new things -- but that Jesus broke down all barriers to allow the Spirit to do its work.
"Jesus encountered hostility from people who did not accept what he said and did," 
"For them, his openness to the honest and sincere faith of many men and women who were not part of God’s chosen people seemed intolerable," said the pontiff.
"The disciples, for their part, acted in good faith," he said. "But the temptation to be scandalized by the freedom of God, who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike, bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. Hence it must be vigorously rejected."
"For Jesus, the truly 'intolerable' scandal consists in everything that breaks down and destroys our trust in the working of the Spirit!" said Francis.
God, the pope said, "will not be outdone in generosity and he continues to scatter seeds."
"He scatters the seeds of his presence in our world, for 'love consists in this, not that we have loved God but that he loved us' first," said the pontiff. "That love gives us a profound certainty: We are sought by God; he waits for us."
"It is this confidence that makes disciples encourage, support and nurture the good things happening all around them," said Francis. "To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not 'part of our group,' who are not 'like us,' is a dangerous temptation."
"Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith!" he said.
Francis was speaking Sunday in a Mass that had attracted an incredible number of people to Philadelphia's downtown area. On the way to the ceremony, the pope greeted people from the pope-mobile, struggling to make its way through the densely packed crowds.
The pontiff stopped the vehicle dozens of times, pointing at and calling forth babies to bless and kiss.
Security for Francis' visit to Philadelphia has been extraordinary. The downtown area has essentially been shut down for a several mile radius, with all vehicle traffic barred and people forced to go on foot through airport-style security checkpoints.
Uniformed police and military have been patrolling streets, crowds, and local stores -- sometimes outnumbering pilgrims.
The security measures caused issues for many planning to attend the Mass, who endured mile-long lines to enter the security checkpoints but were unable to be cleared in time. One group from New Jersey had entered the line at 10 a.m. for the 4 p.m. Mass but was eventually forced to give up.
Francis' homily Sunday was the last in a series of powerful speeches he has made on his U.S. trip, directed at a wide range of constituencies. He has been in the U.S. since Tuesday, visiting the cities of Washington, New York, and Philadelphia.
In Washington, he spoke to President Barack Obama, Congress and political leaders, and the U.S. bishops; in New York to the United Nations; in Philadelphia to lay people and a group of international bishops.
In Sunday's homily, Francis reflected on a Gospel reading that sees the disciples ask Jesus whether they should rebuke others who are healing in his name. Jesus replies: "There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me."
The pope said that just like happiness, holiness is "tied to little gestures."
"These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different," he said. "They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children."
francis_0.jpg"Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love," said the pope. "That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith."
Commenting on how many had gathered for the Mass, Francis said: "This is itself something prophetic, a kind of miracle in today’s world."
"Would that we could all be prophets!" he said. "Would that all of us could be open to miracles of love for the sake of all the families of the world, and thus overcome the scandal of a narrow, petty love, closed in on itself, impatient of others!"
The pontiff then offered an expansive gesture of gratitude to all families.
"Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil -- a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work -- will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation," said Francis. "Whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong!"
Francis heads back to Rome Sunday evening, after one last short meeting with some 500 members of the World Meeting of Families, a Vatican sponsored every three-year event that was held in Philadelphia last week.

The pontiff will be sent off from Philadelphia by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, who have traveled from Washington to offer a formal goodbye to the pope from the country.

Love and Truth are not in conflict. They are one and the same thing in the person as imaging the Divine Person

After reading about the conflict between love and truth for the umpteenth time, it should be stated with straightforward simplicity that the truth of love is the gift of self. The New York Times today (Sunday, September   27, 2015 – page 1) offers the contrast in Cardinal Muller of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith sitting in front of a TV watching Pope Francis in Philadelphia and commenting: “If the pope speaks about social justice, everybody will embrace him, no? It’s not so difficult. But to speak about moral values, and the field of sexuality and matrimony and abortion and these values, is more conflictive.”

                Notice what is presupposed in Cardinal Muller’s remarks. Morality is truth based, and therefore depends on nature. The pope’s attitude and rhetoric is social and love-based, and therefore presumed not to be truth-based, but subjective. The presumption is that the subject is misty consciousness, feeling and therefore not necessarily true.

                But suppose that truth is a person, and by person we mean divine person as the Son of the Father who declares Himself to be the way, the Truth and the Life, and that He reveals Himself as true by obeying to death on the Cross for us. That is, truth is an action of being for others; in short, the truth is the giving of the self.

   I would dare say that this is the underlying topsyturvydom that is at the basis of John Paul’s “Veritatis Splendor.” It began: “The splendor of truth shines forth… in a very special way in man, created in the image and likeness of God. It seems that the core of the encyclical’s argument is to engage the notion of ‘image’ as the coupling between freedom [love] and truth in God and freedom [love]  in man. It consists in affirming that if only God is good [Mark 10], and if the meaning of freedom [love] and truth takes on different dimensions within the noetic of the trinity, and if man has been created in the image and likeness of God, then the Trinitarian meaning of freedom/love and truth… will apply (analogically) to the human person.

                Notice that the truth about worshipping God is equivalent to loving the other. The lawyer who engaged Christ about the law: Thou shalt love the Lord your God with your whole heart, whole soul…. and your neighbor as yourself. The lawyer asks: And who is my neighbor? Christ responds with the Good Samaritan – with whomever meet on your way in life. The truth of God is service of self gift to the other.

Notice, the entire truth of  sexual morality is found in the radical giving of the self to the other, and a fortiori, the truth of the union between man and woman because only between a man as donation and a woman as reception can there be a one flesh union, an unum in the flesh (a sacrament) , that images the one triune God.

Friday, September 25, 2015


The Split between “Conservative” and “Liberal” Is a Hidden Atheism: the Manifestation of an Anthropocentric Immanentism: The exaltation of the unencumbered Self.

Pope Francis to Congress: 9-24-15
“All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.”
Now consider his remarks “The Joy of the Gospel” on spiritual worldliness in the Church:
The Joy of the Gospel: #93- 94:  No to spiritual worldliness:

The Meaning of Spiritual Worldiness[1]

93. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “it would be infinitely more disastrous than any other worldliness which is simply moral”.[71]

  This “worldliness” emerges as “conservative” and “liberal.”

The Meaning of “Worldliness
“94. This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One ["liberalism"] is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other ["conservatism"] is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.”

 Charles Taylor on Modernity as the secularization of Western culture and the widespread disbelief in God "have arisem in close symbiosis with this belief in a moral order of rights-bearing individuals who are destined (by God or Natuare) to act for mututal benefit. Such an order thus rejects the earlier honor ethic which exalted  the warrior, just as the new order also tends to occlude any transacendent horizon... This  understanding of order has profoundly shaped  th e modern West's dominant forms of social imaginary: the market economy,  thepublic sphere,  the soverein 'people.'

   This, in bare outline, is my account of secularization, onein which Ithink Illich basically concurs. But he describes it as the corrup ting of Christianity. To illustrate he draws, again and again, on the familliar par able of the Good Samarityan, Jedsdus

 stpru about an outsider whohelps a wounded jew . For Illich this story represents  the possibility of mutual belonging be tw een two strangers. Jesus pointstoanew kind of fi ttingness, belonging together ina porpori tonalit ywhich comes f rom God, which isthat of agape, and  which became possible because Godbecame flesh. T heenfleshmen tofGod ex tends outward,  throughsuch new links as the Samaritan makes with the Jew, into a network which we call the Church. But this is a ne twor k, not a categorical g roupoing ; t hat is, itis a skein of r ela tions which link pariocular, uniq ue, enlfleshed people to  each other,ra ther  thana groupoing of peopole  toge ther on   the g r ounds of t heir sharing somje imor tant  proper t. Corrup;t ion occurs w hen the Church begins to respond  to t he failur e and inade   q  uacy ofa motivation grounded in a sense of mu tual beloing oby erecting a osys tem. T his system incorpora tes a code or set of  rules, a swer of discipline     s  to make us in ternalize  these r ules, and a system of ra tionally constroucted organizations-private and poublic cureaucracies, univesti es, scholls - t o make sure we car ry ou t what the  rules de mand. All  these become sond nature toous. We growaccoustomed to decentring ourselves fo rm our  lived, embodied exoeruebce in order to become disciplined, rational, disengaged oisubjec ts. F romwithinth is perspective,the significance ofthe Good Samaritan story ooapopears obvious: it isa stage on the road to a universal morality ofrules.
   Modern ethics illustrates this fetishism of rules and norms, as Illich observes... Not just law but ethics is seen in terms of rules - [Kant].The spirit of the law is important, where it is so,, becausse it too expresses some general principle. For Kant the principle is that we should put regulation by reason, for humanity as rational agency, first. In contrast, as we have seen, the netwrok of agape puts first the gut-driven response to a particular person. This reponse cannot be deduced to a general rule. Because we cannot live up to this - 'Becauseof the hardness of your hearts' - we need rules. It is not that we could just abolish them, but modern liberal civilization fetishizes them. We think we have to find the right  system  of rules, of norms, and then follow them  through unfailingly. We cannot see any more the awkward way t hese ru les fit enfleshed human beings, we fail to notice the dilemmas they have to sweep under thde carpet; for instance, justice versus mercy; or justice versus a renewed relation..." 

Me: The ideal, then, is to master contingency and reduce it to a minimum. But contingency is the hallmark of the Creator, and to extirpate it, is to attempt against  Crea tion (which we have succeeded in doing)

   "By contast, contingency is an essential feature of the story of the Good Samaritan as an answer  to the question that prompted it. Who is my neighbor? The one you happen across, stumble across, who is wounded there in the road. Sheer accident also has a hand in shaping the proportionate, the appropriate response. It is telling us some thing, answering our deepest questions:  this is your neighbor. But in order to hear this, we have to escape from the monomanical perspective in which contingency can only be an adversary requiring control" C. Taylor, in the foreword to "The Rivers North of the Future" Anansi (2005). 

Me: But contingency is precisely God's free creative act where He gives esse and I give myself in response to this detail in esse. And of course control consconces us in the driver's seat at the control panel: the god of the self.

[1] Reference to Henri de Lubac and his Surnaturel

Francis' Address to American Bishops - Washington, D.C.

Dear Brother Bishops,
I am pleased that we can meet at this point in the apostolic mission which has brought me to your country. I thank Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Kurtz for their kind words in your name. I am very appreciative of your welcome and the generous efforts made to help plan and organize my stay.
As I look out with affection at you, their pastors, I would like to embrace all the local Churches over which you exercise loving responsibility. I would ask you to share my affection and spiritual closeness with the People of God throughout this vast land.    
The heart of the Pope expands to include everyone. To testify to the immensity of God’s love is the heart of the mission entrusted to the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of the One who on the cross embraced the whole of mankind. May no member of Christ’s Body and the American people feel excluded from the Pope’s embrace. Wherever the name of Jesus is spoken, may the Pope’s voice also be heard to affirm that: “He is the Savior”! From your great coastal cities to the plains of the Midwest, from the deep South to the far reaches of the West, wherever your people gather in the Eucharistic assembly, may the Pope be not simply a name but a felt presence, sustaining the fervent plea of the Bride: “Come, Lord!”

Whenever a hand reaches out to do good or to show the love of Christ, to dry a tear or bring comfort to the lonely, to show the way to one who is lost or to console a broken heart, to help the fallen or to teach those thirsting for truth, to forgive or to offer a new start in God… know that the Pope is at your side and supports you. He puts his hand on your own, a hand wrinkled with age, but by God’s grace still able to support and encourage.
My first word to you is one of thanksgiving to God for the power of the Gospel which has brought about remarkable growth of Christ’s Church in these lands and enabled its generous contribution, past and present, to American society and to the world. I thank you most heartily for your generous solidarity with the Apostolic See and the support you give to the spread of the Gospel in many suffering areas of our world. I appreciate the unfailing commitment of the Church in America to the cause of life and that of the family, which is the primary reason for my present visit. I am well aware of the immense efforts you have made to welcome and integrate those immigrants who continue to look to America, like so many others before them, in the hope of enjoying its blessings of freedom and prosperity. I also appreciate the efforts which you are making to fulfill the Church’s mission of education in schools at every level and in the charitable services offered by your numerous institutions. These works are often carried out without appreciation or support, often with heroic sacrifice, out of obedience to a divine mandate which we may not disobey.
I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realize howmuch the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.
I speak to you as the Bishop of Rome, called by God in old age, and from a land which is also American, to watch over the unity of the universal Church and to encourage in charity the journey of all the particular Churches toward ever greater knowledge, faith and love of Christ. Reading over your names, looking at your faces, knowing the extent of your churchmanship and conscious of the devotion which you have always shown for the Successor of Peter, I must tell you that I do not feel a stranger in your midst. I am a native of a land which is also vast, with great open ranges, a land which, like your own, received the faith from itinerant missionaries. I too know how hard it is to sow the Gospel among people from different worlds, with hearts often hardened by the trials of a lengthy journey. Nor am I unaware of the efforts made over the years to build up the Church amid the prairies, mountains, cities and suburbs of a frequently inhospitable land, where frontiers are always provisional and easy answers do not always work. What does work is the combination of the epic struggle of the pioneers and the homely wisdom and endurance of the settlers. As one of your poets has put it, “strong and tireless wings” combined with the wisdom of one who “knows the mountains”.1
I do not speak to you with my voice alone, but in continuity with the words of my predecessors. From the birth of this nation, when, following the American Revolution, the first diocese was erected in Baltimore, the Church of Rome has always been close to you; you have never lacked its constant assistance and encouragement. In recent decades, three Popes have visited you and left behind a remarkable legacy of teaching. Their words remain timely and have helped to inspire the long-term goals which you have set for the Church in this country.
It is not my intention to offer a plan or to devise a strategy. I have not come to judge you or to lecture you. I trust completely in the voice of the One who “teaches all things” (Jn 14:26). Allow me only, in the freedom of love, to speak to you as a brother among brothers. I have no wish to tell you what to do, because we all know what it is that the Lord asks of us. Instead, I would turn once again to the demanding task – ancient yet never new – of seeking out the paths we need to take and the spirit with which we need to work. Without claiming to be exhaustive, I would share with you some reflections which I consider helpful for our mission.
We are bishops of the Church, shepherds appointed by God to feed his flock. Our greatest joy is to be shepherds, and only shepherds, pastors with undivided hearts and selfless devotion. We need to preserve this joy and never let ourselves be robbed of it. The evil one roars like a lion, anxious to devour it, wearing us down in our resolve to be all that we are called to be, not for ourselves but in gift and service to the “Shepherd of our souls” (1 Pet 2:25).

The heart of our identity is to be sought in constant prayer, in preaching (Acts 6:4) and in shepherding the flock entrusted to our care (Jn 21:15-17; Acts 20:28-31).
Ours must not be just any kind of prayer, but familiar union with Christ, in which we daily encounter his gaze and sense that he is asking us the question: “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” (Mk 3:31-34). One in which we can calmly reply: “Lord, here is your mother, here are your brothers! I hand them over to you; they are the ones whom you entrusted to me”. Such trusting union with Christ is what nourishes the life of a pastor.
It is not about preaching complicated doctrines, but joyfully proclaiming Christ who died and rose for our sake. The “style” of our mission should make our hearers feel that the message we preach is meant “for us”. May the word of God grant meaning and fullness to every aspect of their lives; may the sacraments nourish them with that food which they cannot procure for themselves; may the closeness of the shepherd make them long once again for the Father’s embrace. Be vigilant that the flock may always encounter in the heart of their pastor that “taste of eternity” which they seek in vain in the things of this world. May they always hear from you a word of appreciation for their efforts to confirm in liberty and justice the prosperity in which this land abounds. At the same time, may you never lack the serene courage to proclaim that “we must work not for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures for eternal life” (Jn 6:27).
Shepherds who do not pasture themselves but are able to step back, away from the center, to “decrease”, in order to feed God’s family with Christ. Who keep constant watch, standing on the heights to look out with God’s eyes on the flock which is his alone. Who ascend to the height of the cross of God’s Son, the sole standpoint which opens to the shepherd the heart of his flock.
Shepherds who do not lower our gaze, concerned only with our concerns, but raise it constantly toward the horizons which God opens before us and which surpass all that we ourselves can foresee or plan. Who also watch over ourselves, so as to flee the temptation of narcissism, which blinds the eyes of the shepherd, makes his voice unrecognizable and his actions fruitless. In the countless paths which lie open to your pastoral concern, remember to keep focused on the core which unifies everything: “You did it unto me” (Mt 25:31-45).
Certainly it is helpful for a bishop to have the farsightedness of a leader and the shrewdness of an administrator, but we fall into hopeless decline whenever we confuse the power of strength with the strength of that powerlessness with which God has redeemed us. Bishops need to be lucidly aware of the battle between light and darkness being fought in this world. Woe to us, however, if we make of the cross a banner of worldly struggles and fail to realize that the price of lasting victory is allowing ourselves to be wounded and consumed (Phil 2:1-11).
We all know the anguish felt by the first Eleven, huddled together, assailed and overwhelmed by the fear of sheep scattered because the shepherd had been struck. But we also know that we have been given a spirit of courage and not of timidity. So we cannot let ourselves be paralyzed by fear.
I know that you face many challenges, that the field in which you sow is unyielding and that there is always the temptation to give in to fear, to lick one’s wounds, to think back on bygone times and to devise harsh responses to fierce opposition.
And yet we are promoters of the culture of encounter. We are living sacraments of the embrace between God’s riches and our poverty. We are witnesses of the abasement and the condescension of God who anticipates in love our every response.
Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One who never wearies of visiting the marketplace, even at the eleventh hour, to propose his offer of love (Mt 20:1-16).HOW|11 Photos
Pope Francis
 The path ahead, then, is dialogue among yourselves, dialogue in your presbyterates, dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with families, dialogue with society. I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly. The richer the heritage which you are called to share with parrhesia, the more eloquent should be the humility with which you should offer it. Do not be afraid to set out on that “exodus” which is necessary for all authentic dialogue. Otherwise, we fail to understand the thinking of others, or to realize deep down that the brother or sister we wish to reach and redeem, with the power and the closeness of love, counts more than their positions, distant as they may be from what we hold as true and certain. Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.
We need to let the Lord’s words echo constantly in our hearts: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, who am meek and humble of heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls” (Mt 11:28-30). Jesus’ yoke is a yoke of love and thus a pledge of refreshment. At times in our work we can be burdened by a sense of loneliness, and so feel the heaviness of the yoke that we forget that we have received it from the Lord. It seems to be ours alone, and so we drag it like weary oxen working a dry field, troubled by the thought that we are laboring in vain. We can forget the profound refreshment which is indissolubly linked to the One who has made us the promise.
We need to learn from Jesus, or better to learn Jesus, meek and humble; to enter into his meekness and his humility by contemplating his way of acting; to lead our Churches and our people – not infrequently burdened by the stress of everyday life – to the ease of the Lord’s yoke. And to remember that Jesus’ Church is kept whole not by “consuming fire from heaven” (Lk 9:54), but by the secret warmth of the Spirit, who “heals what is wounded, bends what is rigid, straightens what is crooked”.
The great mission which the Lord gives us is one which we carry out in communion, collegially. The world is already so torn and divided, brokenness is now everywhere. Consequently, the Church, “the seamless garment of the Lord” cannot allow herself to be rent, broken or fought over.
Our mission as bishops is first and foremost to solidify unity, a unity whose content is defined by the Word of God and the one Bread of Heaven. With these two realities each of the Churches entrusted to us remains Catholic, because open to, and in communion with, all the particular Churches and with the Church of Rome which “presides in charity”. It is imperative, therefore, to watch over that unity, to safeguard it, to promote it and to bear witness to it as a sign and instrument which, beyond every barrier, unites nations, races, classes and generations.
May the forthcoming Holy Year of Mercy, by drawing us into the fathomless depths of God’s heart in which no division dwells, be for all of you a privileged moment for strengthening communion, perfecting unity, reconciling differences, forgiving one another and healing every rift, that your light may shine forth like “a city built on a hill” (Mt 5:14).
This service to unity is particularly important for this nation, whose vast material and spiritual, cultural and political, historical and human, scientific and technological resources impose significant moral responsibilities in a world which is seeking, confusedly and laboriously, new balances of peace, prosperity and integration. It is an essential part of your mission to offer to the United States of America the humble yet powerful leaven of communion. May all mankind know that the presence in its midst of the “sacrament of unity” (Lumen Gentium, 1) is a guarantee that its fate is not decay and dispersion.
This kind of witness is a beacon whose light can reassure men and women sailing through the dark clouds of life that a sure haven awaits them, that they will not crash on the reefs or be overwhelmed by the waves. I encourage you, then, to confront the challenging issues of our time. Ever present within each of them is life as gift and responsibility. The future freedom and dignity of our societies depends on how we face these challenges.
The innocent victim of abortion, children who die of hunger or from bombings, immigrants who drown in the search for a better tomorrow, the elderly or the sick who are considered a burden, the victims of terrorism, wars, violence and drug trafficking, the environment devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature – at stake in all of this is the gift of God, of which we are noble stewards but not masters. It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent. No less important is the Gospel of the Family, which in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia I will emphatically proclaim together with you and the entire Church.
These essential aspects of the Church’s mission belong to the core of what we have received from the Lord. It is our duty to preserve and communicate them, even when the tenor of the times becomes resistent and even hostile to that message (Evangelii Gaudium, 34-39). I urge you to offer this witness, with the means and creativity born of love, and with the humility of truth. It needs to be preached and proclaimed to those without, but also to find room in people’s hearts and in the conscience of society.
To this end, it is important that the Church in the United States also be a humble home, a family fire which attracts men and women through the attractive light and warmth of love. As pastors, we know well how much darkness and cold there is in this world; we know the loneliness and the neglect experienced by many people, even amid great resources of communication and material wealth. We see their fear in the face of life, their despair and the many forms of escapism to which it gives rise.
Consequently, only a Church which can gather around the family fire remains able to attract others. And not any fire, but the one which blazed forth on Easter morn. The risen Lord continues to challenge the Church’s pastors through the quiet plea of so many of our brothers and sisters: “Have you something to eat?” We need to recognize the Lord’s voice, as the apostles did on the shore of the lake of Tiberius (Jn 21:4-12). It becomes even more urgent to grow in the certainty that the embers of his presence, kindled in the fire of his passion, precede us and will never die out. Whenever this certainty weakens, we end up being caretakers of ash, and not guardians and dispensers of the true light and the warmth which causes our hearts to burn within us (Lk 24:32).
Before concluding these reflections, allow me to offer two recommendations which are close to my heart. The first refers to your fatherhood as bishops. Be pastors close to people, pastors who are neighbors and servants. Let this closeness be expressed in a special way towards your priests. Support them, so that they can continue to serve Christ with an undivided heart, for this alone can bring fulfillment to ministers of Christ. I urge you, then, not to let them be content with half-measures. Find ways to encourage their spiritual growth, lest they yield to the temptation to become notaries and bureaucrats, but instead reflect the motherhood of the Church, which gives birth to and raises her sons and daughters. Be vigilant lest they tire of getting up to answer those who knock on their door by night, just when they feel entitled to rest (Lk 11:5-8). Train them to be ready to stop, care for, soothe, lift up and assist those who, “by chance” find themselves stripped of all they thought they had (Lk 10:29-37).
My second recommendation has to do with immigrants. I ask you to excuse me if in some way I am pleading my own case. The Church in the United States knows like few others the hopes present in the hearts of these “pilgrims”. From the beginning you have learned their languages, promoted their cause, made their contributions your own, defended their rights, helped them to prosper, and kept alive the flame of their faith. Even today, no American institution does more for immigrants than your Christian communities. Now you are facing this stream of Latin immigration which affects many of your dioceses. Not only as the Bishop of Rome, but also as a pastor from the South, I feel the need to thank and encourage you. Perhaps it will not be easy for you to look into their soul; perhaps you will be challenged by their diversity. But know that they also possess resources meant to be shared. So do not be afraid to welcome them. Offer them the warmth of the love of Christ and you will unlock the mystery of their heart. I am certain that, as so often in the past, these people will enrich America and its Church.

May God bless you and Our Lady watch over you!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton: the Catholic "radicals" Francis cited

  • Dorothy Day in April 1972 (NCR photo)
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Pope Francis touched the souls of Catholic progressives everywhere this morning by mentioning in his address to the U.S. Congress the names of three radicals they have revered for decades. Most of the millions who watched the pontiff speak were familiar with Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights advocate, preacher of nonviolence, and Nobel prize laureate assassinated in 1968. They are less familiar with two other Americans equally dedicated to nonviolent principles, Trappist Monk Thomas Merton and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement Dorothy Day.
Merton and Day were the two most noted radical US Catholics of the 20th century. Both based their visions of life and society on the Christian Gospels, especially their rejections of violence and commitments to the poor.
By citing these two figures, Francis appears to be elaborating on his own radical vision of Catholicism while placing this vision in a context more recognizable and understandable to U.S. Catholics.
Thomas Merton
Lawrence Cunningham, emeritus professor of theology at Notre Dame University, writing about Merton, once called him “the greatest spiritual writer and spiritual master of the twentieth century in English speaking America.”

In 1939, after graduating from Columbia University, while reading a book on Gerard Manley Hopkins’ conversion to Catholicism Merton found himself wanting to convert to the Catholic faith. He was baptized and eventually entered monastic life as a Trappist monk, finding his home at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani near Bardstown, Kentucky. He took his solemn vows in 1947 and in 1948 published his autobiography,The Seven Storey Mountain.
Over the years he became a prolific writer, publishing deeply spiritual reflections and maintaining copious correspondence with a wide range of public figures and private individuals and all the while growing to be a radical critic of U.S. militarism. He became a strong opponent to the Vietnam War and to the growing arms race. From his hermitage at Gethsemani, he used his writing to speak out against threats to the soul and society that nuclear weapons were causing.
He wrote that violence was shaping the very psyche of the nation.  
“The real focus of American violence is not in esoteric groups but in the very culture itself, its mass media, its extreme individualism and competitiveness, its inflated myths of virility and toughness, and its overwhelming preoccupation with the power of nuclear, chemical, bacteriological, and psychological overkill,” he once wrote. “If we live in what is essentially a culture of overkill, how can we be surprised at finding violence in it?
He once wrote in a letter to his friend, Jim Forest that he was not a “pure pacifist,” going on to say “though today in practice I don’t see how anyone can be anything else since limited wars (however ‘just’) present an almost certain danger of nuclear war on an all-out scale. It is absolutely clear to me that we are faced with the obligation, both as human beings and as Christians, of striving in every way possible to abolish war.”
He once wrote words that seem to echo Francis today. Yesterday Francis told the US bishops not to fight culture but rather to engage it.
Wrote Merton decades back: “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
Throughout his adult life, Merton consistently maintained an antiwar outlook.
Merton once referred to the Vietnam was as “an overwhelming atrocity.”
Merton believed and stated unequivocally that “the root of all war is fear,” not so much the fear people have of one another as “the fear they have of everything.” Merton is widely viewed today at one of the two or three most influential peacemakers in the entire Catholic tradition.
Merton embraced inter-religious dialogued, still a relatively new idea in the 1960s. He traveled to Thailand to participate in a gathering hosted by Buddhist monks and died in a freak accident on Dec. 10, 1968.
Dorothy Day
Day, like Merton, has animated progressive Catholics for decades and continues to do so in the hundreds of Catholic Worker Houses that dot the inner cities of the United States and beyond.
It was in the 1930s, she met follow activist Peter Maurin and the two established the Catholic Worker Movement, a pacifist movement that combines hospitality to the homeless with nonviolent direct action. She served as editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper, which she and Maurin founded, from 1933 until her death in 1980.
Day was born in 1897 in Brooklyn, New York, and initially lived a bohemian life. It involved various love affairs and an abortion. A Day biographer, Robert Coles, described her as “a woman who had been, in her twenties, a well-known journalist and essayist, a novelist, a close friend of writers such as Eugene O’Neill, Mike Gold, John Dos Passos, and Malcolm Cowley.”
It was in 1932 she met, Maurin, a French immigrant, and a man of deep intellect.  The two began publishing The Catholic Worker May 1, 1933, priced at one cent, and published to this day at the same price.
Day had an affinity toward anarchists and Catholic Workers to this day often view their own hospitality actions in light of Day’s anarchistic tendencies.
In June 1955, Day joined a group of pacifists in refusing to participate in civil defense drills. Day and six others took the position that their refusal was not a legal dispute but rather one of philosophy.  As quoted on her Wikipedia page, Day said she was doing “public penance” for the United States’ first use of an atom bomb.
Like other reform minded Catholics at the time, Day became an enthusiastic supporter of the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s. She hoped it would endorse nonviolence as a fundamental tenet of the Catholic faith, rejecting the church’s “just war” theory, which she argued no longer made sense and violated the mandates of the gospels. She spoke out, as being immoral, not only the use but also the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, calling them acts of terror.
She lobbied bishops in Rome and joined with other women in a 10-day fast, attempting to draw attention to her nonviolent views. She wrote that she was pleased when the when the Vatican Council issued a document saying that nuclear warfare was incompatible with traditional Catholic just war theory. The document read: “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.”
The Catholic hierarchy viewed her as a renegade through most of her life. Apparently more manageable after her death, Catholic bishops warmed to her. In 2000, the late Cardinal John O’Connor of New York opened Days’ cause for canonization. Pope Benedict XVI, in the closing days of his papacy, cited Day as an example of conversion.
To this day, Day’s spirit rings through the Catholic Worker movement, still well outside the mainstream of Catholic life. He writings on nonviolence and personal responsibility to the poorest continue to animate the movement.