The failure of all-or-nothing politics

Too many elected officials today are mired in a political environment of hyper-partisanship and ideological rigidity Even one as accustomed to political victory as Otto von Bismarck said that “politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.” But too many elected officials today, mired in a political…

Bringing Christ to the caucus

Venturing into the political realm today can be an unappealing prospect. Sometimes it seems that American politics appeals to our base fears and prejudices while advancing only the special interests of a powerful few. Often sound bites, faux controversies and empty gestures take the place of true civil discourse and a deeper understanding of how…

Surrogacy and the throwaway culture

If surrogacy arrangements are without any negative consequences, as proponents contest, their vehement opposition to examining the issue more closely leaves us to wonder what the industry has to hide Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has waged a war on the “throwaway culture,” in which anything can be commodified and given a dollar value, and…

Don’t make politics an idol

Politics is too often portrayed and practiced as if it were the solution to all problems and a font of salvation When we hear the word “idolatry,” we probably think first of a golden calf and pagan worship. But idolatry, giving the reverence and devotion owed to God to something created instead, is actually a…

Politics in the Year of Mercy

The current Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis is an opportunity to reconsider how the creative force of mercy can be extended to the realm of public policy. Though the aim of law is to establish justice, it can be enriched by a life-giving mercy that seeks to restore and maintain right relationships —…

Ending political homelessness

There are no prominent candidates for president of the United States who have a campaign platform that significantly reflects a consistent ethic of life or the principles of Catholic social doctrine For many Catholics, the most troubling aspect of the presidential campaign season is the feeling of political homelessness. Just when one of the candidates…

A political examination of conscience

Pope Francis reminds us that politics requires persons of virtue Pope Francis’s recent speeches to Congress and the United Nations were models of church engagement in the public arena. By reframing the task of politics and anchoring policy debates to the natural law, both messages were radical critiques of the prevailing culture of each institution…

Culture of relativism harming families, persons, society

Relativism hinders the advancement of the common good As people from around the world gather in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families, it is important to take stock of one of the deepest challenges to the family today: moral relativism. Relativism is a powerful challenge to nurturing healthy families because it harms the moral…

Power politics vs. faithful citizenship

As Catholics, we should not engage in politics for the sake of gaining and wielding power If a decline in the percentage of people who vote is any indication, people are disheartened with our political system. There seems to be a collective feeling that politics is nothing more than a partisan power struggle that serves…

Read the whole papal encyclical, not just your favorite part

Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’” is a great gift to the church and the world, calling everyone to an ecological conversion that embraces an ethic of right relationships — with God, our bodies, our neighbors and all of creation. Recognizing, with St. Francis of Assisi, that the sun is a “brother” and the water “a…