The past two weeks reminded us that the world is a very scary place. The bloodshed caused by ISIS in Paris and the continuing real threat of terrorism in Belgium, Italy and yes, even in the U.S., should remind us, as we are urged in our liturgical readings with the start of a new liturgical year, that the world is passing away. This old world is groaning under the weight of human sinfulness; it is screaming out for a savior, for one to come along and take away the pain, the uncertainty.
While the most recent terrorist attacks in Paris dampen our Thanksgiving season, we still can find reasons to give thanks this year. We give thanks this year for the great gift of Pope Francis and his visit to the U.S. and New York in September. Certainly, it was a highlight among the news events of the past year.
This week, no words from an editorial in a newspaper can give any real insight into the pure evil of ISIS and its terrorist actions in Paris. We weep with the people of Paris, and we pray for the souls of the dead, the healing of the injured and the consolation of those who mourn.
Pope Francis, speaking in St. Peter’s Square, described the stealing and leaking of confidential documents at the Vatican as a “deplorable act that does not help” and a “crime.” The pope called the events of the past few weeks a “sad event” that does not help any reform effort that he and men like Cardinal George Pell have been very hard at work to deal with.
The latest Internet outrage in the “war against Christians” is that Starbucks will no longer use a Christmas themed paper cup. No more “jazzy” Santas, no more snowflakes, no more reindeers — just a plain red, green, and white cup. According to Jeffrey Fields, Starbuck’s vice-president for design and content, “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.” “We’re embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it. It’s a more open way to usher in the holiday,” he said. Bah, Humbug!
If one were to really analyze why people dread getting under the weather in general, it’s probably because it’s a reminder that we’re not perfect.
Our congratulations to the New York Mets for their inspiring and gritty ascent to the top of the National League. We hoped that the World Series would go in a different direction but it wasn’t mean to be this year. Still, it must be recognized that at least the Mets were there and they had given us reason to hope.
Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a package of eight measures in women’s rights designed to curtail discrimination in housing, the workplace and domestic violence. They also include human trafficking, pay equity, enhancement of sexual harassment laws, the rights of pregnant workers and the strengthening orders of protection for victims of domestic violence.
Last Sunday was the last day of the Synod on the Families at the Vatican. Now we as the Church are awaiting the Pope Francis’ response to the document prepared by the Synod Fathers. As we read the “Relatio” prepared by the Bishops for the Holy Father, we are reminded of several things. The first is that this is not a contest, not a battle between “conservatives” and “progressives.” As we have stated previously, the synod was a dialogue between good people, with good intentions, about good things.
This past week, some in both the religious and the secular press, began reporting about the massive divide along ideological lines that exists between the American bishops attending the 2015 Extraordinary Synod on the Family.