Two views on Rome essay on American politics and religion

An issue of the Italian journal La Civilta Cattolica is seen at the Vatican in this 2013 file photo. (CNS/Paul Haring)

An issue of the Italian journal La Civilta Cattolica is seen at the Vatican in this 2013 file photo. (CNS/Paul Haring)

In the July issue of the influential Jesuit monthly La Civilta Cattolica, editors Antonio Spadaro, S.J., and Marcelo Figueroa wrote a long editorial titled “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism.” (See “Journal: Strip religious garb, fundamentalist tones from U.S. political power.”) The authors described what they saw as worrisome convergences between certain apocalyptic forms of American evangelicalism and some contemporary Catholic ideologies, contrasting these tendencies with the teachings and global strategy of Pope Francis.

Since the essay prompted much discussion, Catholic News Service asked Jesuit Father Drew Christensen and journalist Russell Shaw to comment on the essay from their experience as longtime observers of U.S. religion and politics.

Civilta Cattolica misses richness of Catholic-evangelical relations

By Drew Christiansen, S.J.
Catholic News Service Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns, U.S.

Land O’ Lakes statement on Catholic higher education turns 50

Commencement ceremonies take place at the University of Dayton in 2016, (CNS/University of Dayton)

Commencement ceremonies take place at the University of Dayton in 2016, (CNS/University of Dayton)

(Backgrounder)

By Carol Zimmermann
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Not all Catholics are familiar with the Land O’ Lakes Statement, a document on Catholic higher education with a cool sounding name, but this landmark text needs no explanation for Catholic college and university leaders.

The document’s official name is “Statement on the Nature of the Contemporary Catholic University,” but its catchier title did not give it widespread acceptance. Ever since it was signed July 23, 1967, the text has been both revered and criticized.

Even conferences about the document on its 50th anniversary have different takes. Promotional material for an upcoming symposium co-sponsored by St. Louis University and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities says the statement has not gone uncontested, adding: “Some consider it a revolutionary road map for Catholic education in the modern world; others have declared a half-century of devastation. Others designate it a mixed legacy.” Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Guest column: Is touching believing?

(CNS guest column)

Brett Robinson is a guest columnist for Catholic News Service. He is director of communications and Catholic media studies at the University of Notre Dame McGrath Institute for Church Life. (CNS/courtesy Brett Robinson)

Brett Robinson is a guest columnist for Catholic News Service. He is director of communications and Catholic media studies at the University of Notre Dame McGrath Institute for Church Life. (CNS/courtesy Brett Robinson)

By Brett Robinson
Catholic News Service

As I write this, on the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, I am reminded of the Caravaggio painting in which Doubting Thomas places his hand in the wounded side of Our Lord. It’s a gripping scene in which the apostle’s disbelief in Christ’s resurrection is transformed in an instant, not by forceful argument, but by touching his master’s brutal wound.

In one of the courses I teach at Notre Dame, I often show Caravaggio’s painting next to a magazine ad for the very first iPhone back in 2007. The original iPhone ad features an index finger reaching out to touch the glowing screen of an iPhone with the caption, “Touching is Believing.” The students revel in the similarity between the painting and the ad, recognizing the shades of a more religious past that continue to show up in popular culture.

The correspondence between the Caravaggio painting and the iPhone ad is a parable for the digital age. Touching is not necessarily caring unless we enter into the suffering of the other. We are called to suffer with others by being as present to them as possible, even when it’s most inconvenient or harrowing.
Continue reading

Posted in CNS columns

Bishop: Budget ‘moral document’; House bill puts poor in ‘real jeopardy’

A homeless man sits on a sidewalk in New York City in this 2014 file photo. (CNS/EPA)

A homeless man sits on a sidewalk in New York City in this 2014 file photo. (CNS/EPA)

By Julie Asher
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. House budget resolution “will place millions of poor and vulnerable people in real jeopardy” because it reduces deficits “through cuts for human needs” and by trying to slash taxes at the same time, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee.

“A nation’s budget is a moral document,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “Congress should choose a better path, one that honors those struggling in our country.”

Bishop Dewane’s July 20 statement was issued in response to the budget resolution that was voted out of the House Budget Committee along party lines July 19. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Giving Voice network connects women religious for community, activism

Participants at the 2017 Giving Voice National Gathering take part in an activity July 6 during the conference at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. Giving Voice is a network for women religious under 50. (CNS/courtesy Giving Voice)

Participants at the 2017 Giving Voice National Gathering take part in an activity July 6 during the conference at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. Giving Voice is a network for women religious under 50. (CNS/courtesy Giving Voice)

By Carolyn Mackenzie
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Giving Voice, a network for women religious under 50, encourages participants to form a community and share their gifts with the whole network and society at large.

Geared toward peer interaction and leadership development, their programming includes a national conference, a vigil at the border between the United States and Mexico and an annual retreat.

“We’re rare in religious life, and we’re different from many of our peers,” Benedictine Sister Belinda Monahan told Catholic News Service in a phone interview. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

U.S. bishops call for permanent protection for young migrants

A woman holds a child's hand as they arrive for a rally in support of immigrants' rights in New York City in December. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

A woman holds a child’s hand as they arrive for a rally in support of immigrants’ rights in New York City in December. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)

(Updated 4 p.m. ET)

By Rhina Guidos
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The chair of the migration committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged the Trump administration to “ensure permanent protection” for youth who were brought to the U.S. as minors without legal documentation.

Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chair of the Committee on Migration Committee, reiterated the bishops’ support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a 2012 policy under then-President Barack Obama that, while not providing legal status, gives recipients a temporary reprieve from deportation and employment authorization in the United States as long as they meet certain criteria.

During his campaign for president, Donald Trump said he would get rid of the program but later backtracked and it’s unclear what will happen to the estimated 750,000 youth who signed up for the program. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.

Catholic cartoonist draws inspiration from fantasy classics, family life

Catholic cartoonist Ben Hatke sketches his character "Zita the Spacegirl" in a studio in his Front Royal, Va., home. His graphic novel series features a character who was named in honor of St. Zita. (CNS/Ashleigh Kassock, Catholic Herald)

Catholic cartoonist Ben Hatke sketches his character “Zita the Spacegirl” in a studio in his Front Royal, Va., home. His graphic novel series features a character who was named in honor of St. Zita. (CNS/Ashleigh Kassock, Catholic Herald)

By Ashleigh Kassock
Catholic News Service

FRONT ROYAL, Va. (CNS) — As many parents know, all kids come into the world ready to draw, but as the years pass, each child reaches a point where they make a choice — to draw or not to draw.

It was never a question for comic artist and arrow enthusiast Ben Hatke, who doodled his way through many a grade school and high school class, filling the margins with grand adventures.

His dad was an architect at Purdue University in Indiana and his mom took him and his two sisters to the library regularly. When the young boy discovered newspaper comics such as Calvin and Hobbes, it was love at first sight.

Now, many pounds of pencil lead and paper later, the Christendom College grad and father of five has made a career out of “drawing in class.” For nearly two decades, he has illustrated comics, Seton Home Study School textbooks, children’s books and graphic novels.

The rights to his first graphic novel, “Zita the Spacegirl,” was picked up recently by Fox for a movie and there is hope that one day Hatke’s brave characters will make it to the big screen. Continue reading

Posted in U.S.