“After Covid-19 it will all be different.” We often hear these words. However, people have different opinions about how it will be different, just as people evaluate differently how things were before. How will we act after Covid-19? The answer depends on our views about the pandemic.
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When Pope Francis addressed the US Congress during his visit in 2015, he chose to mention four great Americans. One of them was a Cistercian monk named Thomas Merton. Perhaps it was not a household name for many in that chamber, but Francis obviously thought it was one of great significance.
From antiquity, Mary has been called "Theotokos", or "God-Bearer" (Mother of God). The word in Greek is "Theotokos". The term was used as part of the popular piety of the early first millennium church. It is used throughout the Eastern Church's Liturgy, both Orthodox and Catholic.
Funny how God invariably shatters the containers of our expectations. We have a notion of how God should act and God ends up acting in a way that shatters all of those expectations and yet fulfills our expectations in a deeper way. That’s certainly true of what happened in Bethlehem at the first Christmas.
In his Message for the Launch of the Educational Pact, dated September 12, 2019, Pope Francis invited all those working in the field of education at different levels (academic, institutional, pastoral and social) to Rome on May 14, 2020, to work together to develop a global educational pact. The event was then postponed due to Covid-19.
On the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAL), Pope Francis sent a letter of gratitude in recognition of its service and to relaunch its mission for the future. Recalling the communal origin and destiny of the human family, the pope widens the horizon in which human life is to be understood.
Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That’s a pious axiom that doesn’t always hold up. Sometimes the bad time comes and we don’t learn anything. Hopefully this present bad time, Covid-19, will teach us something and make us stronger. My hope is that Covid-19 will teach us something that previous generations didn’t need to be taught but already knew through their lived experience; namely, that we’re not invulnerable.
When I was a young boy growing up in a Catholic community, the catechesis of the time tried to inspire the hearts of the young with stories of martyrs, saints, and other people who lived out high ideals in terms of virtue and faith. I remember one story in particular that caught my imagination and inspired me, the story of a third-century Christian martyr, St. Tarcisius.
Nearly fifty years ago Henri Nouwen wrote a book entitled, The Wounded Healer. Its reception established his reputation as unique spiritual mentor and he went on to become one of the most influential spiritual writers of the past half-century. What made his writings so powerful?
In the Gospels, Jesus invites us to ever deeper degrees of maturity, though sometimes we can miss the invitation because it presents itself subtly and not as explicitly worded moral invitation. One such subtle, but very deep, invitation to a higher degree of maturity is given in the incident where Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. What’s inside this image?
My whole life has been dedicated to teaching and practicing "pro-life" guided by the words and witness of Jesus, the Church's moral teaching and the principles of Catholic social teaching: the dignity the human person, solidarity, subsidiarity, commitment to the common good and the preferential option for the poor. I have learned how difficult this is in a pluralist, secular society.
However explained, this ecosystem model describes the communications environment in which the Church has faced the pandemic of Covid-19. But rather than the introduction of a new communication technology, the incursion of the virus has caused the changes.
Eight years after his election, Pope Francis has written a new encyclical that brings together much of his previous teachings (cf. Fratelli Tutti, No. 5). When he began his pontificate, the first idea Francis referred to was “fraternity.” He bowed his head in front of the people gathered in St. Peter’s Square and defined the bishop-people relationship as a “path of fraternity,” stating this desire: “Let us always pray for each other. Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great fraternity.”
In his book, The Second Mountain David Brooks suggests that a key to sustaining fidelity in any vocation is to build a structure of behavior for those moments when love falters. He’s right.
What’s right and what’s wrong? We fight a lot over moral issues, often with a self-assured righteousness. And mostly we fall into that same self-righteousness whenever we argue about sin. What constitutes a sin and what makes for a serious sin?
And it’s happened again: the French state has launched a crackdown on Muslim extremists, rounding up contacts of the killer and vowing to shut down radical groups. It has also reached out to the law-abiding majority of French Muslims with proposals to create an “enlightened Islam”. So what will happen next? French leaders have tried and failed to reshape Islam along more Gallic lines for the past three decades.
Looking at our world today, what frightens and unsettles me more than the threat of the Covid virus, more than the growing inequality between the rich and the poor, more than the dangers of climate change, and even more than the bitter hatred that now separates us from each other, is our loss of any sense of truth, our facile denial of whatever truths we judge to be inconvenient, and our slogans of “fake news”, “alternate facts”, and phantom conspiracies.
The sage Qoheleth said: “There is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said ‘See; this is new?’ It has already been; in the ages before us” (Ecc1. 1:9-10). It is inevitable; however; that we all forget the events of the distant past, and then we find ourselves in situations which appear unusual; exceptional; and without parallel; their presumed abnormality becomes a source of anxiety.