Our organization and Catholics across the United States join the people of South Africa and the world in celebrating the life and legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. President Mandela was one of the great forces for equality and justice of our time. Mr. Mandela experienced innumerable hardships, but endured them with dignity and grace. It's clear that our world is better because of his life. Though we mourn his death, we know the legacy of his life will live on forever. We pray for his family and entrust his soul to the God who created him. May he rest in peace.
"As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, 'Son of David, have pity on us!'" (Matthew 9:27)
As you know, during this season of Advent, our priests wear purple when celebrating Mass. It's because Advent, like Lent, is a penitential season.
Now Advent and Lent play out in a different capacity. Advent is the time to make us ready for Christ to live with us. Lent is the time to make us ready to die with Christ. Advent makes Lent possible. Lent makes salvation possible.
But nevertheless, the Church still calls us to penance and conversion during this sacred season.
"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock." (Matthew 7:24)
The Latin phrase "semper paratus" (always ready) is the well-known motto of the United States Coast Guard.
It also is a great motto for a Christian this Advent season as we prepare for the coming of Christ into our midst.
Rush Limbaugh's callous comments this afternoon about Pope Francis are blatantly false. To say that Pope Francis is "ripping America" is a falsehood beyond belief. Pope Francis is widely recognized throughout the United States and the world as a humble pastor of Jesus Christ and a champion of the poor and oppressed. All the evidence is clear: an overwhelming majority of Americans support Pope Francis and appreciate the way he speaks to our moral consciences. Pope Francis isn't a Marxist. Pope Francis isn't anti-American. Pope Francis is the Vicar of Jesus Christ.
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good's petition calling on Rush Limbaugh to apologize has received over 5,000 signatures.
Christopher Hale of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good released the following statement on President Obama's speech on equality:
Catholics across the nation are excited to hear that President Obama is taking up a new initiative to combat the scandal of inequality that plagues our nation. It is clear that the President is taking Pope Francis's message to heart. Catholics stand with our Church leadership and the President in supporting an increase to the federal minimum wage as a first step in the long road ahead to ending the inequality that has built up in our country over the past thirty years.
We were glad that the President quoted Francis's words on inequality, and as Catholics in the United States we make them our own: "How can it be that it's not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
Now is the time for Americans to come together and find real and lasting solutions to this epidemic.
President Obama's Citation of Pope Francis
"Some of you may have seen just last week the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. How can it be, he wrote, that it's not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points. But this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country. And it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people."
The problem is, that alongside increased inequality, we've seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years. A child born in the top 20 percent has about a two in three chance of staying at or near the top. A child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than one in 20 shot at making it to the top. He's 10 times likelier to stay where he is."
Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves to express his frustration with Pope Francis's critique of trickle down economics.
Among other things, he said that Pope Francis was a proponent of "pure Marxism."
Are you kidding me? That's absolutely absurd, and we refuse to stand by idly while Limbaugh attacks our Holy Father.
We can’t remember an 86-page papal document generating as much discussion and interest as Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Needless to say, we here at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good found the document exciting, encouraging, challenging, all at once. We asked our senior fellow, Christopher Hale, to share his reflections on the document with our members.
"On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines." (Luke 10:21)
There is an old poem that reads: "Wherever the Catholic sun does shine, there's music, laughter and good red wine."
If that's the case, every Catholic should enjoy today's readings.
"I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike."--Luke 10:21
In today's readings, the theme of "knowledge of the Lord" emerges most prominently. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that knowing God is more than knowing about God.
"[On that day], the Lord’s glory will be shelter and protection: shade from the parching heat of day, refuge and cover from storm and rain." (Isaiah 4:6)
Though we often think of Advent as a time for spiritual preparation for Jesus's birth, the Church's readings actually spend most of the season focusing on Jesus's coming in everyday life and at the end of time.
In fact, the Gospels only begin to speak of Jesus's nativity beginning on December 17th.
We too must use this season to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord who passes by us a thousand times a day, most notably in the sacraments and in the lives of those who suffer.