As you might have guessed, we’re still having a problem with WordPress. The company’s latest update has several bugs in it that have disabled many blogs, including ours. Steps are being taken to patch things up, but the progress has been slow.
Thanks for your patience and your prayers. The blog should be up and running again soon.
Click below to hear this week’s edition of “Word to Life.”
Joining me on the show today to discuss the readings for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time was Fr. Jordan Kelly, O.P., one of the parochial vicars at the Church of St. Catherine of Siena in Manhattan.
“Word to Life” airs live every Friday at 1:00 PM EST on The Catholic Channel, Sirius 159 and XM 117.
Below you’ll find video of the three presentations given at last week’s forum on Caritas in Veritate. Enjoy!
Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. — “Building a ‘Human Ecology’ on Truth and Love”
Fr. Allen Moran, O.P. — “Caritas in Veritate and the American Economy”
Archbishop Timothy Dolan — “The ‘Hermeneutic of Continuity’ and the Church’s Social Doctrine”
On the evening of August 26th, a crowd of 350 gathered at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer for a public forum on Pope Benedict XVI’s new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. The panel of speakers included: Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., the editor-in-chief of Magnificat; Fr. Allen Moran, O.P., a professor of economics at Providence College; and the Most Reverend Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Each speaker highlighted a certain aspect of the Holy Father’s wise and in some ways innovative treatment of the Church’s social doctrine. After the presentations, members of the audience addressed questions to the panel.
In the first presentation of the evening, Fr. Cameron reflected on Pope Benedict’s concept of “human ecology.” Employing numerous quotations from the encyclical itself, Fr. Cameron made clear the Pope’s concern that the contemporary interest in conservation and ecology be shaped by an overarching concern for the conservation of human dignity. From the Christian point of view, the Pope argues, a proper and just concern for the environment can only be exercised from within a prior and larger concern for the human person and his flourishing. Through several poignant real-life illustrations, Fr. Cameron demonstrated the Holy Father’s point. He explained that once a person discovers his inherent human dignity, which for many occurs through adversity and suffering, that dignity becomes something he naturally begins to protect not only in himself but also in others. This spontaneous drive to protect others’ dignity, Fr. Cameron explained, points to the reality of “human ecology.”
Fr. Allen then addressed the more practical aspects of Caritas in Veritate, particularly Pope Benedict’s assessment of the economic crisis that currently grips a large portion of the world. After first distinguishing positive and normative economics, Fr. Moran demonstrated why this distinction is important. Positive economics, he explained, seeks simply to describe what is happening in the financial world. It reports on the ups and downs of financial activity and tries to uncover their causes. Not completely detached from positive economics, normative economics has a different goal. While it also tracks movements in the world’s economies, at the same time it makes certain judgments about them against a measure that it considers normative. For example, whereas a positive economist might say that unemployment in America is at 9.5%, a normative economist would argue that the rate is too high (or too low, depending on his measure). From this basic distinction between positive and normative economics, Fr. Moran explained how Pope Benedict calls economists to work more within the normative realm, where they should feel obliged to make real judgments about economic activity against the norm of human dignity and the justice human nature requires for its full flourishing.
Finally, Archbishop Dolan described how in the encyclical Pope Benedict applies his famous “hermeneutic of continuity” to the Church’s social tradition. In so doing, the Holy Father stresses that the social teaching of the Church stretching back to the late nineteenth century should be read as a whole, as one long normative commentary on the social implications of the Gospel, and not as divided moments in the tradition where certain teachings can be favored and others jettisoned. For example, there has recently opened up within the Church a contentious relationship between what Archbishop Dolan described as “economic and social justice” Catholics and “life justice” Catholics. Such a rift should not exist, he lamented. Instead, to wave the social justice banner of the Church is to concern oneself necessarily with poverty, education, health care, immigration, the environment, marriage and family, and first and foremost the promotion and protection of human life, from conception to natural death. Archbishop Dolan explained that reading Church’s social doctrine, as Pope Benedict does, with a proper “hermeneutic of continuity” reveals the evangelical concern for human life and human dignity as the common thread that unites all of the Church’s social teachings.
After a brief Q & A session, those attending the forum enjoyed a light reception prepared by the Frassati Fellowship.
Theology on Tap-NYC for Young Adults in their 20s and 30s
Join young adults for a series of lectures at Metro 53 Bar and Restaurant, 307 East 53rd Street, between 2nd and 1st Avenues. The event is from 7pm-8:30pm. The first lecture of Fall 2009 is on September 28, 2009, by Jim Gaffigan, actor and stand-up comedian. The topic for this night is “Catholics in Entertainment.” Jim will talk about his testimony as a Catholic in the world of entertainment.
For more details, visit www.totnyc.org.
From the archdiocesan Pro-Life Office:
Witness for Life ~ Sat, Sept 12th
8am Mass at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC
Come to all or part of the morning.
Note: The Witness for Life usually takes place the first Sat of each month – this month Planned Parenthood is closed on the 1st Sat (due to Labor Day) and also the Sisters of Life will be welcoming 9 new postulants to our community – therefore the change in date.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass begins our day in Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament follows, then people can either remain in the church to adore our Lord or attend the rosary procession to the local abortion clinic (2 blocks away – Planned Parenthood).
Upon return from the clinic (approx 10:15am) we will have a social (complete with coffee and bagels) with a short (10 mins) presentation by the Sisters of Life. You will hear of concrete ways to be of service, as Co-Workers, helping vulnerable pregnant women that are currently being served by the Sisters.
Promote this to your friends and keep the spiritual success of this effort for Life in your daily prayers.
Sr. Lucy Marie
Respect Life Coordinator
Archdiocese of New York
This morning’s Daily News carries the following op-ed piece by Kathryn Jean Lopez, the editor of National Review Online. In it, Lopez mentions the public forum held here last week on Pope Benedict XVI’s new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, and she explains its importance to contemporary political debates.
Click here to read the article on the Daily News website.
THE ISSUE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IS FAR BIGGER THAN THE ABORTION DEBATE
By Kathryn Jean Lopez
Wednesday, September 2nd 2009
On Saturday, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who supported legal abortion, was hailed as “a beacon for social justice” at a Catholic church in Boston. On Friday, The New York Times reported on Catholic bishops speaking out against anti-life provisions in various versions of the proposed health care reform in Washington: “The bishops’ backlash reflects a struggle within the church over how heavily to weigh opposition to abortion against concerns about social justice.”
An expert confirmed: “It is the great tension in Catholic thought right now,” said Cathleen Kaveny, a professor of law and theology at Notre Dame.
The fights exist. But reports of a “great tension” are exaggerated. Fundamentally, what is social justice if it does not include the very right to life?
The New York Times and every Catholic politician who follows the Ted Kennedy beacon missed a primer on just this issue. Manhattan’s St. Vincent Ferrer Church recently hosted a workshop headlined by Archbishop Timothy Dolan on Pope Benedict’s third encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate,” or “Love in Truth.”
The event stood in contrast to much of the media coverage following the encyclical’s release. Many conservatives immediately groaned about its expressed need for “a true world political authority.” Liberals celebrated the same. Many are missing the soul of it. The Pope described “charity in truth” as the “principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and all humanity” and the “heart of the church’s social doctrine.”
“Social justice doctrine” doesn’t belong to any one political party or ideology. Rather, it poses challenges to all of us.
Lack of harmony, Dolan argued, is not in the social doctrine of the church, but in “somewhat of a rift that has taken place in the social justice activity of the church throughout the world.” He pointed to a “cleavage” between “the economic social justice people and the pro-life social justice people,” who are at an unnecessary “loggerheads.”
Dolan presented the continuum with a fourfold focus on the innate dignity of the human person (“every man and woman is made in the image and likeness of God”), the common good (“everything we do has a social implication”; “an economic decision is also a moral decision), solidarity (“we’re in this together”; “we are social beings . . . brothers and sisters of a common Father”; “always be aware of the implications”), and subsidiarity (“apprehension of big, huge, massive bureaucracy, especially when it comes to the protection of the basic unit of human life, the family”).
The integrated message of focusing on these fundamentals is: Be not confused. In this way, though, the forum was very different from most of the media coverage immediately following the release of the Holy See’s latest contribution to the church’s social justice canon and some of the misleading messages stemming from Kennedy’s Catholic sendoff.
The encyclical states, unsurprisingly: “When a society moves toward the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good.” This underscores a great shame of our current political discussions involving Catholicism: They’re always focused on abortion because of the endless game we’re subjected to by Catholic politicians pretending that they can advocate for legal abortion with right reason and clear conscience.
While we listen to the Gospel According to Nancy Pelosi and ignore the Kennedy contributions to cementing a culture of death, we are deprived of an even deeper conversation about just what social justice is, how exactly to best serve the common good. It doesn’t necessarily mean “government gives.” It’s a lot more complicated. And the political conversation could benefit from some shepherding from a position of love and truth. Unfortunately, at the moment we’re still focused on just trying to stay alive.