The author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (12:1-2).
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, tracking incidents of destruction to Church-related sites around the U.S., reported on Oct. 14 that there had been 100 acts of vandalism since May 2020, including several in the Diocese of Brooklyn. This is more than a crime statistic.
The very first Catholic diocese in the United States of America was the Diocese of Baltimore, established in 1789. This diocese would encompass the entire new nation. In 1808, Baltimore was raised to the level of an archdiocese and four other dioceses were created: Boston, Bardstown, Philadelphia, and New York.
Eighteen years ago, the Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio was appointed by His Holiness, Pope Saint John Paul II, as the bishop of Brooklyn. In those 18 years, the world, the city, and the Church have changed much, but the Diocese of Brooklyn has had a steady hand guiding it.
The 20th Century spiritual writer, Thomas Merton, was reflecting once on an experience that he had shortly after entering the monastery. Father Louis (as Thomas Merton was called in religious life) describes a particularly powerful experience he had one day while shopping for the abbey:
This past week, Pope Francis participated in another apostolic journey, this time to Hungary and Slovakia. These apostolic journeys of the pontiff are a relatively recent phenomenon in the history of the Church and have proven to be a powerful means of transmitting the closeness of the Holy See to the Church worldwide, as well as an effective means of spreading the Gospel.
The Biden administration’s Department of Justice has sued Texas to shut down a pro-life law, the Texas Heartbeat Act, which prohibits women from receiving an abortion after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.
The world as we know it has changed forever. We’ve heard that statement repeatedly since COVID-19 took root and spread around the world.
Wherever news is made that signals the need to alleviate human suffering — Afghanistan, Haiti, the latest efforts to rein in COVID-19, the rapid responses to aid victims of Hurricane Ida, and more — there is an accompanying story: The Catholic Church is there with a compassionate, effective infrastructure of service.
What we have witnessed in Afghanistan over the past few weeks is a nightmare. Yes, the United States has been in Afghanistan for far too long, and the lives of countless young American men and women have been lost in the defense of a nation so far from our shores.