The Pope’s bold new vision

The Pope’s bold new vision
November 26th, 2013
12:11 PM ET

The Pope’s bold new vision

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin, Special to CNN 

(CNN)  Pope Francis on Tuesday issued a bold new document in Vatican parlance an “apostolic exhortation” called Evangelii Gaudium or “The Joy of the Gospel.”

In this document, he sets out an exciting new vision of how to be a church. In all my years as a Catholic, I cannot remember a papal document that was so thought-provoking, surprising and invigorating. Frankly, reading it thrilled me.

To me, it seems that with each new homily, address, interview, general audience message and letter, Francis is challenging himself and us with three questions, each of which flows naturally from the other:

First, why not look at things from a new perspective? Second, why not be open to doing things in a new way? And third, why not have a new vision for the church?

And what is Francis’ vision for the church?

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Labor Day Statement 2013


Labor Day Statement 2013

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of Stockton
Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
September 2, 2013

Every human being enjoys a basic right to be respected, not because of any title, position, prestige, or accomplishment but first of all because we are created in the image and likeness of God. From an ethical and moral perspective we embrace the exhortation of St. Paul “to anticipate one another in showing honor” (Rom 12:10). Today’s competitive culture challenges us to strive for victory and advantage, but for St. Paul the challenge is to build each other up and honor one another’s innate dignity.

Labor Day is an opportunity to take stock of the ways workers are honored and respected. Earlier this year, Pope Francis pointed out, “Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. . . . It gives one the ability to maintain oneself, one’s family, to contribute to the growth of one’s own nation.” Unfortunately, millions of workers today are denied this honor and respect as a result of unemployment, underemployment, unjust wages, wage theft, abuse, and exploitation. Read more

Release of Pope Francis’ first encyclical stresses beauty of faith

Release of Pope Francis’ first encyclical stresses beauty of faith

By Estefania Aguirre

Pope Francis rides through St Peters Square after Mass on April 28, 2013. Credit: Stephen Driscoll/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2013 / 07:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The first encyclical of Pope Francis – which had been started by the former Pope, Benedict XVI – has been released today to help strengthen the faith of Catholics worldwide.

“We welcome with great joy and gratitude this integral profession of faith, in the form of catechesis written by four hands of the successors of Peter,” said Cardinal Marc Ouellet at the Vatican’s press office on July 5. Read more

Labor Day 2013: “All together to promote justice and human dignity”

Labor Day 2013: “All together to promote justice and human dignity”





Labor Day has been celebrated for 123 years as a sign of solidarity with all workers around the world.  Are we finally reaching a world centered on the human person rather than a world of work centered on capital and mechanization?

The 2004-2005 report from the International Labor Office (ILO) gives terrible statistics:  of the approximately two billion eight hundred and fifty million workers in the world 49% earn less than 2 Dollars a day and, of these, 39% less than one dollar!  Two hundred million men and women are unemployed! Today poverty has worsened throughout the world.  According to an OECD report 60% of men and women workers in the world do not have a proper contract and are exposed to job insecurity.

Last year many labor disputes occurred throughout the world.  In Asia, the Philippines, Taiwan and in Indonesia workers gathered to demand wage increases.  In Tunisia, Egypt and the Middle East they called for economic reforms and measurements for employment.  In New  York and in London, in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis, they occupied the financial centers of Wall Street and the City to oppose the power of money. Read more

Spirituality of Work – William L. Droel and Gregory F. Augustine Pierce (1987)

Spirituality of Work

(A chapter from the book, Confident and Competent – A Challenge for the Lay Church, William L. Droel and Gregory F. Augustine Pierce, 1987. Reprinted with permission from ACTA Publications, Chicago, Illinois)

So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control.” – Genesis 1:27-28

Laypeople must realize that their daily work is the primary means by which they help bring about the kingdom of God. Any spirituality which detracts or distracts from work is therefore counterproductive.

In the final sentences of his encyclical On Human Work, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Let the Christian who listens to the living word of God, uniting work with prayer, know the place work has not only in earthly progress but also in the development of the kingdom of God, to which we are called through the power of the Holy Spirit and through the word of the gospel.”1 Read more

Theology of Work

Theology of Work

The late Holy Father John Paul II teaches that work must test and engage the whole person, not just the physical aspect.

by Robert J. Batule |

Much has changed in the world of work over the last thirty years. We have only to consider the sweeping changes in technology, the composition of the work force, especially the presence of women today and the higher standard of living now, especially in Western democratic nations.

Changes in the world of work have forced us to look more carefully at their implications in our lives. Not all of these changes, we must admit, have had a salutary effect.

Ever since Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), the Catholic Church has been officially on record as showing a concern for the person and work. Leo XIII´s encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891) was published precisely for the purpose of addressing the many issues surrounding the person and work. Successive popes have sought to build on the pioneering work of Leo XIII by publishing their own encyclicals, all important contributions to the developing body of the Church´s understanding of work. Read more

The Spirituality of Work

The Spirituality of Work

By Brian Diehm

Human work participates in God’s ongoing creation, and leads to holiness in the world.

Catholic Way –

It seems difficult at times to reconcile the toil and “worldliness” of work with a Christian’s call to holiness. For the lay faithful, however, work is a means of sanctification, not only for himself but for the world around him. In obedience to God’s command to “fill the earth and subdue it,” our daily work participates in extending His will through every part of His creation. Christians are called to be conscious of how their work contributes to building the Kingdom of God on earth, to their growth as human beings, and to their growth in holiness.

For many Christians, holiness is matter of weekly public worship and private prayer. They would not call themselves holy, in the way that they see the Church hierarchy as “religious” by nature and calling. However, secular vocation is part of our holiness as lay Christians. Through our work, we achieve sanctification and return to God the gifts of life. If we fail to understand the sanctity of our work, we can fail to revere God’s ongoing creation in our daily tasks, and be unable to draw strength from the communion with God that our work represents. Work has a singular dignity in God’s plan, and we must understand the sanctifying nature of our work. Read more