We give thanks to God for the great news that Pope Francis will be visiting the United States in September 2015. We pray that his pastoral visit will confirm the American people in the great truth that Francis has communicated throughout his pontificate: that God never grows tired of loving us.
We also hope his visit will compel our country's leaders to move past partisan divisions and work together to create a nation where everyone has a name, a face and a future. We join our prayers with Francis and "beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people and the lives of the poor!"
For today's Common Good Forum, we feature an essay by Dr. Julia Young of The Catholic University of America. In her essay, Young takes us through a brief survey of how the Catholic Church in the United States has been advocating for Latino immigrants for the better part of our nation's history.
Today's executive order by President Obama is a step forward in the noble mission of creating a nation where no one is discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. With proper legal implementation, the Administration's policy can also ensure that religious institutions will continue their longstanding tradition of working with the federal government in providing social services to those who suffer and live on the margins of our communities. Since our nation's founding, American Catholic organizations have responded to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by serving every person in need. And with today's order, we pray the Church can continue that great tradition while ensuring that our own institutions are welcoming to all who are willing to serve.
For today's Common Good Forum, we feature an essay by Dr. Maria Mazzenga of The Catholic University of America. In this shorter version of a speech she gave at last week's National Migration Conference, Mazzenga details how the Catholic Church in the United States has had long and proud history of fighting for immigrants' rights.
For this week's Common Good Forum, we invited the National Catholic Reporter's Michael Sean Winters to write about his experience this week at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops's four-day National Migration Conference.
President Obama's decision today to take executive action on immigration reform is an appropriate first step. Our current system is broken and denies aspiring citizens their deserved dignity as children of God. It's sad that the Republican-led House of Representatives has refused to act in the past year on this issue. Under these circumstances, the President has acted in the best manner possible.
While we are still studying the details of the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, we believe this ruling is an imperfect attempt to uphold the American tradition of protecting the religious liberty of the citizens of the United States. We are glad to see that the Supreme Court thinks that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act narrowly applies to some privately and closely held corporations. That being said, we remain committed to seeing the implementation of health care reform throughout the nation. While asserting the right of individuals and religious organizations to practice their religion without undue interference of the federal government, we too believe that access to quality health care is a God-given right for all Americans. This case once again proves the necessity of a single-payer health care system where access is not dependent on one's job.
For today's Common Good Forum, we feature an essay from our chairman Dr. Alfred Rotondaro on last week's United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in New Orleans and how the Church in the United States, led by our bishops, can be more responsive to Pope Francis's call to be a "poor Church for the poor."