Category Archives: Faith & the Public Order

Catholic bishops and religious freedom

Amy Sullivan of Time magazine wrote a piece today, “Why Catholic Bishops are Targeting Obama on Religious Freedom.” I don’t particularly think Sullivan’s article is not all that informative, in fact, I think she needs to review it again and republish it. She does, however, indirectly say that Catholics –indeed all people of faith– better wake up today and get with the program: the current presidential administration of the US government is narrowing an understanding and practice of religious freedom. Catholics, unlike the Jews or the Muslims are too often slow to know the horizons of the debate. Catholics don’t often go up to Mount Nebo to survey the geography or their own history. Whether recent events are the most egregious in 30 years is a matter of opinion, but the trampling (or reduction) of religious freedom harms everybody, atheist and the Legion of Mary member alike.

It’s time to get fluent in the terms of religious freedom, pun intended.
This is not a Catholic issue. This is an issue for all people who live a life of faith.

Irish government makes peace with Vatican

“The government of Ireland also welcomed the Holy See’s apology to the families and the shame the Vatican has felt. The Irish government concluded by saying that lessons had been learned and looks forward to a new dialogue.” 


Pope speaks with new British Ambassador to the Holy See

Nigel Marcus Baker.jpg

This morning Pope Benedict XVI received the new Ambassador of Great Britain to the Holy See, Nigel Marcus Baker in an audeince where the new ambassador presented his credentials to the Pope.


Ambassador Nigel Marcus Baker, 45, succeeds Francis Campbell who moved after a term of service to the Holy See to another post. The new ambassador has worked with his country’s diplomatic service in Central Europe and in South America; recently he was in Bolivia. Baker has worked in the Private Office of Prince Charles and for two years lived and studied in Italy. He’s married  and has one son.


Today’s address is basically diplo-speak, but there are a few points made by Benedict which are worth thinking about today. I am especially focussing on the Pope’s mention of charity, values, relativism, ecomony, and education. In part, the Pope spoke of the UK stituation of government but what he said has implications in the US:

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John Paul II’s Laborem exercens makes 30 years

John Paul II’s Laborem exercens (On Human Work; September 14, 1981), celebrates 30 years next week. Itself was a document written on the 90th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s landmark work Rerum Novarum. I think we ought to give more attention to the meaning of work and its connection with the work of the Creator. Too often we disparage work and its place in the daily experience of men and women. This morning at Lauds, by Providence, I read from the Apostle’s work that a person who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat. I could help thinking about the implication of this teaching. THence, today, is an appropriate to think about work and it’s meaning. 

Some paragraphs from LE:

workers in the field.jpeg

Through work man
must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science
and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral
level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong
to the same family. And work means any activity by man, whether manual or
intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it means any human activity
that can and must be recognized as work, in the midst of all the many
activities of which man is capable and to which he is predisposed by his very
nature, by virtue of humanity itself.
Man is made to be in the visible universe
an image and likeness of God himself
, and he is placed in it in order to subdue
the earth. From the beginning therefore he is called to work. Work is one of
the characteristics that distinguish man from the rest of creatures, whose
activity for sustaining their lives cannot be called work. Only man is capable
of work, and only man works, at the same time by work occupying his existence
on earth. Thus
work bears a particular mark of man and of humanity, the mark of
a person operating within a community of persons. And this mark decides its
interior characteristics; in a sense it constitutes its very nature.

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Labor Day: “the Church has been and is on the side of the worker”

Pope Leo XIII small pic.jpgWhen Pope XIII published Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labour) in 1892, it was considered a brilliant piece of  thinking on the Church walking closely with the average man and woman because it demonstrated that in reality, once again, the Church situated herself in the reality of human existence: in the social, political and economic spheres with a keen recognition of human dignity; the protection of basic economic and political rights, including the right to a just wage and to organize associations or unions to defend just claims; the right to private property; the rights of labor over capital; the just organizations of society for the common good.

 

Pope Leo rejected not only a communistic philosophy but he did not ignore the basis of its appeal to workers and condemned the exploitative nature of the liberal-capitalist alternative. He wanted the Church on all levels to be engaged with the social order which slowly took shape in the later years of the 19th century and then in the 20th and 21st centuries.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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