The intertwining of the Catholic Church and politics, from World War I to Trump
Massimo Faggioli is the most articulate interpreter of U.S. Catholicism today.
Nearly 15 years ago, the Boston Globe broke the story of the priest-pedophilia and bishop-cover-up crimes. The film Spotlight, which chronicles the investigative reporting behind the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage, is now up for a Best Picture Academy Award. While this new film shines a light on what happened then, watching it now reveals how the Catholic landscape has changed (and not changed) since the story broke in 2002. While the reporters depicted in Spotlight initially pursue the stories of particular priest-pedophiles, the editors see the bigger picture: the bureaucratic system, the hierarchy, and the mindset that allowed these priests to be moved from parish to parish without legal intervention.
The recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have led to an increase in anti-Islamic rhetoric in the U.S. There have been calls to limit the immigration of Muslims. Some have focused as well on the threat from within, arguing for the registration of all Muslims—or even their internment, as with the camps where Japanese Americans were sent during World War II. From the inception of the United States, our government has put in place measures to determine who belongs to this great experiment and who does not.
Joseph Bottum contends that the decline of mainline churches has created a moral vacuum that conservative Catholics and evangelicals have been unable to fill.
Matthew McCullough argues that the Spanish-American War signaled a crucial turning point in American self-understanding and self-justification.
January is a month that signifies new beginnings, new resolutions. There is an individual as well as collective effervescence of renewal. Catholics enjoyed a similar period of renewal, of collective reimagining, in the aftermath of World War II.
When Pope Francis thinks of climate change, he thinks of social justice. In his 2013 inaugural homily as pope, Francis implored “all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political, and social life” to “be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” Speaking at an Italian university a year later, Francis announced, “This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to give us what she has within her.” In 2015, Vatican-watchers expect Francis to produce an encyclical that situates climate change within the framework of Catholic social teaching. Francis’s position on the injustices of climate change is not new to the Roman Catholic Church.