Action Alert!

Churchmen, out on a limb again, defy the world

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 08, 2019

It is one of those days. I am finding it difficult to get excited about much of anything, and I am not sure what the problem is. After all, just look at the dramatic news stories from the past three days:

First, on the matter of the common good: In a stunning statement on Wednesday from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, several prelates called for prayer and support following tornadoes in the Southeast. Not to be outdone, their brethren in Europe have dramatically welcomed the European Parliament’s steps toward stronger transparency. Even more forcefully, a Vatican diplomat has asserted that religious persecution harms both individuals and communities.

These three statements alone may irrevocably alter life as we know it. But Pope Francis has gone a step further, urging Brazilian Catholics to ‘seek more active participation in society’.

Second, under the heading of Catholic “affairs”, the President of the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conferences has courageously announced: ‘We sincerely ask forgiveness’ for sexual abuse of minors. The headline for the same story on AsiaNews is just as potent: “Cardinal Bo urges Asian bishops to join Pope Francis in the fight against abuse”. Meanwhile, in France, following the release of a documentary, the French bishops have deplored sexual abuse of nuns by priests.

Finally, in a display of remarkable theological prescience, Pope Francis has renewed his condemnation of anti-Semitism. There are, as we well know, parts of the world in which this message is seriously counter-cultural. The Pope addressed his remarks to representatives of the American Jewish Committee.

Hopefully a helpful reader will write in to tell me I’m wrong to be so singularly uninspired. When it comes to being blasé, as even bishops should know, most people find personal criticism to be the best cure.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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