Have you ever wondered why the Catholic Church is so strongly associated with the concept of “social justice”? One reason is that the social and political movements of the late 19th and early 20th century, such as socialism, communism, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of materialism, have in one way or another neglected respect for the individual human life, and the Catholic Church felt called to respond. Catholic social teaching emerged in 1891 with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum (“On the Condition of the Working Classes”).
From the Editor
Later this year, my brother and sister-in-law will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Ten years and two children later, they seem to be doing well as a married couple and as a family. Certainly they have had their share of stresses, just like any couple. My mother’s death in March, changes in their jobs and in areas of responsibility, health challenges along the way, and the joys of raising two young children have been a part of their lives.
When someone asks me, “Why should I go to a priest to confess my sins?” I respond by asking, “Why be baptized?” “Why should you receive any of the sacraments?”
We need to experience God’s presence to us in our humanity. We need to experience his tender and loving forgiveness. When we hurt someone, we don’t feel at peace unless and until we ask forgiveness from the one we have offended. We need to experience God’s forgiveness in our own human and personal way when we receive his sacrament of forgiveness.
There is a chapter of my life that I want to share with you, but I'm not very proud of it. It centers on the time that I was in college and it has had a profound impact on my life. It may provide some hope and, in its own way, offer some encouragement.
In his Gospel account, St. Matthew tells us that just after the Magi gave their gifts to the child Jesus, Joseph was told to take the child and his mother, Mary, and flee to Egypt. As Matthew puts it: “… behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you. Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod” (2:13-15).
There are many names or titles which we ascribe to Pope Francis.
The ﬁrst is “pope.” It comes from “papa,” and is a reminder that in his role as chief shepherd of the Church, Pope Francis is like a tender-hearted father to us. We also call Pope Francis the Holy Father for the same reason, although, my sense is that many of us love to see him more as a loving grandpa.