Ah, an election year. A marvelous time to pack up, set sail and drop anchor near some South Sea island, perhaps.
Take a long vacation. Until, say, mid-November.
Sandy beaches. Palm trees. Pounding surf and screeching gulls. Waves lapping at my toes.
Alas, few of us are so fortunate. Most of us will stay here, tethered to jobs and families and school, dealing with the stuff of everyday life. And politics – candidates, ads, articles, commentators – will screech at us instead.
If the very prospect fills you with dread – and hey, I’m right there with you – then turn to our quiet, polite, Catholic- and community-oriented newspaper for a little respite. We’re here to remind you that beyond the boundaries of this region, state, country, there is an eternal kingdom. You are the beloved child. God is the king and the father. Everything else is temporary.
When the world gets too noisy, find peace in prayer.
February is Catholic Press Month. Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, gave a speech Feb. 3 in Abu Dhabi, at a conference celebrating the one-year anniversary of the “Document on Human Fraternity.”
Signed by both Pope Francis and a Sunni Muslim leader, the document was a commitment to Christian-Muslim dialogue, a promise to promote religious freedom and to condemn violence. The media’s role in promoting a respectful culture, conveying truth and connecting people was the topic of Ruffini’s speech.
As quoted in a Catholic News Service article, Ruffini charged journalists with removing “‘the false necessity of controversy, the false imperative that one’s identity depends on having an enemy.’”
As we roll ever closer to November, this message – us vs. them – is what we will hear over and over, until things reach a fever pitch, and we can’t turn on a radio or a television, go online or read a newspaper without feeling like the act of voting – merely being a responsible citizen – has concurrently given us both an identity and an enemy.
This creates tension in Catholics, because neither major party platform aligns wholly with our beliefs. Earlier this month, Charles Camosy, a prominent Catholic theologian and pro-life Democrat (from Kenosha, but now a New Yorker), quit the party. In a New York Post column, he explained that candidate Pete Buttigieg’s extreme position – no limits of any kind on abortion, which is statistically supported by only 13 percent of the population – is what finally drove him away.
Camosy announced he is joining the burgeoning American Solidarity Party. I, too, am a third-party voter – I truly believe voting should be an affirmation, not an anguished “lesser of the evils” decision – and although my choices never (ever, ever) win, I am at peace with myself. I’m also able to maintain a certain political objectivity that many print and broadcast journalists no longer strive to achieve – and biased media makes it all the more difficult to promote civility in our wider culture.
Beliefs, life experiences, faith, personality – all of these elements shape our worldview, and how we perceive the world determines how we vote. In the Catholic press, our job is not to influence you, but to show you God is working in the world, and he loves all of us, and we should strive to love one another.
“Presidents come and go,” a deacon said during a homily at a suburban Chicago parish in late January. “Some are good. Some are bad.” The overarching story was how he’d thrown his phone (in a slight temper) after seeing parishioners attacking others – over politics – on Facebook. I liked his detachment from the battles of this world. That’s something to cultivate moving forward.
A couple of announcements: First, we now have an e-Edition.The whole newspaper can be viewed online. It’s linked to our website, spmtrasuher.wpengine.com. Check it out – for the first three months, anyone can look at the e-Edition, with no login requirements.
Print subscribers will always have access to the e-Edition; those who prefer to only receive the digital newspaper, send us your email address and let us know. We’ll also put out the e-Edition on Wednesday of publication week (the print edition arrives Thursday for most subscribers).
Second: We are gauging interest in a Superior Catholic Herald-sponsored pilgrimage to Italy. A travel agency has given us a proposal for a trip in November: Eight days, round-trip flights from the Cities, with tours of Rome, Assisi, Orvieto and Vatican City.
The trip includes Roman historical sites, morning Masses, tours of basilicas, great local food, the Sistine Chapel and catacombs, an audience with Pope Francis and much more. Travel by motor coach and a multilingual guide are included; if you’ve never been to Europe, this is an opportunity to get to the core of your faith and soak up a glorious mix of art, food, Catholicism and history without the awkwardness of getting around on your own. Costs will vary based on hotel choice, number of travelers, etc., but the base was around $3,300 per person in a double-occupancy room with some meals included. Email me, , if you are interested.