Building relationships will build bridges between faiths, cultures

Offering assistance to immigrants, refugees and other newcomers is an important tenet of Catholic social teaching. The command to “welcome the stranger” comes no less than from Christ himself. This simple command, however, raises not-so-simple questions and challenges for a modern, global society in which large numbers of people are on the move because of…

If we turn our backs on refugees, the terrorists win

Editorial Joe Towalski Helping war refugees is one way to practice the works of mercy the Holy Father has asked us to undertake Two and a half months ago, the plight of international refugees received renewed attention after media outlets around the world published photos of Aylan Kurdit, the 3-year-old boy from Syria who drowned…

Adventure to see pope leads to deeper realization about church

By Joe Towalski Editor/The Visitor It’s hard to match the excitement of seeing the pope in person and up close. He is, after all, the vicar of Christ on earth, a leader beloved by billions who serves as the conscience of humankind. Who else can claim that? So, when you get the chance, you don’t…

U.S. must open its doors to resettle more war refugees

Pope Francis reminds us that the Gospel calls us to assist the least and the abandoned “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.” That’s the tag line of a video making the rounds on social media. The dramatization contrasts the daily life of a young girl you might find living in…

Decline in pope’s popularity rating isn’t all bad news

Editorial Joe Towalski Pope Francis’ words can make you feel uncomfortable at times — and this is good news for all of us According to a recent Gallup poll, Pope Francis’ popularity has recently taken a hit. About 59 percent of U.S. respondents to a July query indicated they had a positive view of the…

Bill would help parishes, schools with environmental stewardship

Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act is a small but helpful step for taking better care of God’s creation Editorial Joe Towalski Pope Francis’ new encyclical gives Catholics in the pews plenty to reflect on when it comes to the natural world and humanity’s place in it. “Laudato Si’” even includes practical suggestions for families who want…

Pope Francis home offers Catholics a learning opportunity

Editorial Joe Towalski Affordable housing is in short supply throughout the state The recent announcement that Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity is building a home in St. Cloud in honor of Pope Francis is good news. By volunteering our labor and contributing financially, we local Catholics have a wonderful opportunity to collaborate on a project…

Don’t be fooled by language of assisted suicide proponents

Editorial by Joe Towalski Alternatives are available that demonstrate real mercy and compassion Efforts to legalize assisted suicide in the state received support this past week at the State Capitol with the introduction of what its proponents call the “Minnesota Compassionate Care Act of 2015.” The measure would allow patients who have a terminal diagnosis…

Reversing the tide in favor of a culture of life and justice

Getting involved in the legislative process is one way to have an effective impact Joe Towalski There has been a good deal of talk in recent months about the “throwaway culture” that is plaguing much of our world. Pope Francis referenced it in a just-released book in which he criticized abortion, inattention to the elderly…

O come, Emmanuel: A hurting world needs you

Editorial Joe Towalski Australian archbishop offers wise words in wake of tragedy The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday, which takes its name from the Latin word for “rejoice” — something we’re supposed to do in the last few days of Advent as we await the joy of Christmas. But much of…