Jenna Barnett 11-16-2021

Loving him is like
floating the Euphrates toward a dead-end stream:
faster than the wind, passionate as sin,
winding so serpently.

Amar D. Peterman 11-15-2021

Although it is hard to imagine a world without Facebook, we must look critically at the implications of its widespread use and the powerful companies that control these platforms — and us. Whether by making election interference easier, selling people’s data, fostering social division by populating feeds with malice, greed, and dissension, social media provides an opportune venue for users to live into our depraved human condition. The consequences of this, however, are not contained in the digital world.

Mitchell Atencio 11-12-2021

I know enough to know what I don’t know.

I am troubled about Oklahoma’s recent decision to reinstate the death penalty and to resume state executions. I know you are a Christian, governor. As a Christian minister myself, I believe that capital punishment should end.

But I am not writing to you today to debate policy; the occasion for my letter is much more urgent: The decision to kill Julius Jones or to spare his life rests in your hands.

Madison Muller 11-11-2021

Last week, Archbishop José H. Gomez assailed “new social justice movements” as “dangerous substitutes for religion.”

Gomez, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life, an international conference held in Madrid, but his comments spread beyond the direct audience. His remarks focused on “the new social movements and ideologies” that he said were “seeded and prepared for many years in our universities and cultural institutions;” movements that were “unleashed” on society after George Floyd was killed in May 2020.

“In denying God, these new movements have lost the truth about the human person,” he said. “This explains their extremism, and their harsh, uncompromising, and unforgiving approach to politics.”

While the archbishop acknowledged that “racial and economic inequality are still deeply embedded in our society,” the comments seemed, to many, to be an effort to delegitimize social justice efforts within the church despite past and present commitments to social justice from Catholic leaders.

Sojourners asked Catholic leaders and thinkers across the United States why social justice is important to their faith. Here’s what they had to say.

Cathleen Falsani 11-11-2021

This quietude at New Camaldoli is different than the imposed silence that accompanied the global time-out wrought by the pandemic. That silence descended like a pall when humans retreated, social distancing in the hopes of slowing the spread of a deadly virus. At the hermitage, the silence is chosen. In that choice there is a freedom to hear, see, and feel more of the natural world as well as our place in it. Such silence-keeping allows us to experience human community in a more deliberate and ultimately transformative way.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim 11-11-2021

Attending church was the beginning of my faith journey, when I began to understand myself, the world, and God. The racism, discrimination, and xenophobia embedded into my daily life were normalized, swiftly decreasing my self-worth as well the worth of other Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese kids I grew up with. Helplessly, we tried to see ourselves reflected, but especially in each other, we found only mere echoes of insecurity.

Madison Muller 11-10-2021

In an increasingly polarized Congress, protections for pregnant workers via the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act may be an avenue for bipartisanship between conservative and progressive lawmakers and activists — especially for Christians.

“That’s the sort of thing that catches the attention of both those who are operating in worker justice, for women in particular … but also those who are concerned with the unborn,” said Clayton Sinyai, executive director of the Catholic Labor Network. “This [bill] is pro-worker, pro-family, and pro-life, and all of those are concerns for Catholics.”

 

Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared divided over a bid by a man sentenced to death to have his pastor lay hands on him during his execution in Texas in a case testing how far states must go to accommodate religious requests by condemned inmates.

The justices heard more than 90 minutes of oral arguments in John Henry Ramirezs appeal after Texas officials refused his request to let his Christian pastor touch him and audibly pray as he dies from the lethal injection and lower courts refused to issue a stay of execution.

The court, which has wrestled in recent years over the religious rights of death row inmates, has a 6-3 conservative majority. Some of the conservative justices raised questions about the sincerity of Ramirezs religious request and how siding with him might affect future cases. The courts liberal justices appeared to sympathize with Ramirez, who was not contesting his guilt in the appeal.

France’s Catholic Church said on Monday it would sell its real estate and, if needed, take out loans to set up a fund to compensate thousands of people sexually abused by clergy.

A major investigation found in October that French clerics sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years.