January 19, 2020

Asking what the term Catholic economics might mean strikes some people — too many, actually — as like asking whether there is such a thing as Catholic algebra or Catholic physics. The response is usually, “Don’t you know? Economics has become a science, lotsa numbers, econometrics, blah-blah. It can’t be ‘Catholic’ if it’s just like the law of gravity.” The trouble is: the field of economics, as author and University of Dallas instructor John Médaille has cheerfully pointed out on numerous occasions, is in… Read more

January 6, 2020

I spent part of the Christmas break this year in the (virtual) company of a wonderful tour guide, Michael Martin, whose YouTube series on the metaphysical poets he had made available without paywall “until Candlemas” (that’s Feb 2, to you paynim ). In the videos, Martin (whose work I’ve written about elsewhere) introduces us to poets we thought we knew — or even disliked — in order to help us hear them for the first time. Beginning with John Donne, the series moves through George… Read more

December 31, 2019

The upcoming “Economy of Francesco” event (previously described here) in Assisi March 26 – 28 will be a mix of young and old. The 500 attendees will all be age 35 or younger, given the event’s goal of bringing together younger entrepreneurs, business people, economists, and activists eager to discuss an alternative to the dominant neoliberal system. But the addresses from the many notable speakers — Amartya Sen, Muhammud Yunous, Jeffrey Sachs, Carlo Petrini, Kate Raworth, and others — will highlight the re-emergence of something very… Read more

December 18, 2019

Laudato Si’: perhaps the most important papal document since Rerum Novarum, Pope Francis’ “eco-encyclical” arrived in May 2015 to extraordinary acclaim from the global environmental community, the global justice movement, and millions of fellow Christians, not to mention millions of Catholics in countries already under siege from the effects of climate change and extractive global capitalism. And yet the newly-elected Donald Trump announced in his first presidential year his intention to take the U.S. out of the Paris Accords, making… Read more

December 12, 2019

“I write about race,” states Richard Rodriguez, author of the extraordinary Brown, the Last Discovery of America, “in hopes of undermining the notion of race in America.” He recalls the meeting of the Indian, the African, and the European in colonial America: “Red. Black. White. The founding palette.” But now projections are for one in every three Americans to be Hispanic by 2040. Indeed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, we are already one of the largest Latin American nations… Read more

December 2, 2019

[This essay by Audrey Davis originally appeared in Radically Catholic in the Age of Francis. A former Catholic Worker and Social Justice Ministries Coordinator for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Audrey is currently a lead organizer with Faith in Indiana.] Francis is challenging 21st Century Catholics to break beyond the limits of “serving” the poor. We must remember them as our friends. For decades now, American Catholics have been being told that they should care for the poor. The liturgical calendar… Read more

November 21, 2019

At the May 21, 1972 commencement exercises at the University of Notre Dame, Dorothy Day was in attendance in order to receive that year’s Laetare Medal. On the stage with her, as it happened, in order to receive an honorary Doctor of Law degree, was another great figure of the twentieth century, philosopher Hannah Arendt. Fr. Ted Hesburgh, then president of the university, remarked to Robert Coles (also there for an honorary degree) that “the two ladies were like old… Read more

November 15, 2019

It’s the Catholic vision of the Shire: many small landholder families, owning the tools of their various trades, perhaps growing their own food, free from wage slavery. Nor is it an exaggeration to suggest that millions of people worldwide aspire to live this way–certainly it is part of the American cultural memory, vividly rendered in the work of writers such as Wendell Berry and going back to Jefferson’s idea of an agrarian democracy. As formulated by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire… Read more

November 11, 2019

[ Another post on the general theme of becoming a “Street Catholic,” in which I offer a kind of unauthorized guide to joining the Roman Catholic Church, assuming no one talks you out of the idea first, of course. Which happens. In which case maybe you just go back to your old low-down life. ] It’s a summer evening in Chicago some thirty years ago and I’ve walked around to the rear of Holy Name Cathedral, to the front door of the… Read more

November 4, 2019

I’m a Boomer, a former Cold Warrior, and a Catholic convert who came into the Church as an adult at Easter, 1986. For a number of years, I referred to myself as a “John Paul II Catholic.” That adjective now seems anachronistic, describing only where I came from, not where I am today. I’ve been thinking of writing a book with the title “Street Catholic: A Totally Unauthorized Guide to Joining the World Church.” If I actually write it, I’m… Read more

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