Author: Tobias Winright

Urgent Still: On this 4th Anniversary of Laudato si’

Four years ago today, Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ was published. Its message is as urgent as ever. In it Pope Francis wrote of the “urgent challenge to protect our common home” (#13), and he added, “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet” (#14). Sadly, last week, the pope needed to reiterate this challenge and appeal. In a meeting at the Vatican with oil executives His Holiness urged that, “faced with a climate emergency, we must take action accordingly, in order to avoid perpetrating a brutal act of...

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Urgent Care for Creation

I try and hope to avoid hearing the word “urgent” in my daily life. After all, I immediately associate it with “urgent care” and health problems that I (or one of my family members) need to have addressed. The word denotes a situation or state of affairs that is dire, acute, grave, critical, and the like. It is therefore, as the bad song by the 1980s rock band Foreigner put it, “Urgent, urgent, emergency.” An emergency is a top or high priority. No time to lose. Dealing with it is vital. It is imperative. In his 1990 World Day...

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Announcing January 2019 Issue of Journal of Moral Theology on “Catholic Health Ministry”

Catholic moral theologians, such as Richard McCormick, S.J., were among the pioneers of 20th-century medical ethics and bioethics. A lot has happened during the subsequent decades, and it seems that moral theologians today are not associated as much, if at all, with the field of Catholic health care. But the need remains, and the demand may even have increased, for Catholic moral theologians to turn their gaze to this area that ultimately includes and affects us all one way or another, even if only as patients. Rachelle Barina, Nathaniel Hibner, and I have co-edited (with the much appreciated efforts...

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Does Just War Theory Have a Future in Catholic Social Thought?

The following is a guest post by Bernard G. Prusak about the latest special issue of Expositions, which contains essays on “The Future of Just War Theory in Catholic Social Thought” from several Catholic scholars.    Will there be an encyclical or a synod on war and peace? The way that the Trump administration is going, will action from the Vatican come too late, or make a difference anyway?   As readers of this blog will know, the Catholic church’s teachings with respect to war and peace have been subject to renewed scrutiny the last several years, in particular...

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In Response to “The Good Pope and His Critics” by Ross Douthat

I submitted the following response letter to the New York Times regarding “The Good Pope and His Critics” by Ross Douthat (Mar 18, 2018, p. SR1). Although I have had good success in getting letters published there over the years, this one apparently did not make the cut—so I’m posting it here for the record: Douthat worries about how the papacy of Francis is propelling “Catholicism’s transformation into a confederation of national churches.” However, Douthat himself already reflects such a nation-colored lens when he projects onto worldwide Catholicism “the culture war that everyone in Western society knows well.” The language of “culture war,” especially when it hinges primarily, as evident in Douthat’s piece, on sexual ethics is an obsession found mostly among neo-conservative U.S. Catholics. Even if concerns about sexual morality are expressed also with Catholics who are “conservative in sub-Saharan Africa,” the “geographical divisions” Douthat flags are not so simple or sealed. After all, Catholics in the global south and so-called “liberalizing” Catholics in Europe and the U.S. agree with Francis’s amplification of his papal predecessors’ teachings about the environment, peacemaking, criminal justice, and the economy. As evinced by his encyclical on ecology, Pope Francis’s influence on many of these questions is complemented by, but not reduced to, his public gestures that imitate Christ. In short, Douthat might find “in the [wider] mirror” there are many of us Catholics, in the U.S. and elsewhere, who find...

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