In this edition of Wisdom Wednesday, we reflect on Fratelli Tutti, explore the ‘decay’ of truth in society, and offer Catholic perspectives on the coronavirus vaccine and other election-related news.
1. Fratelli Tutti
Leading off this week is Bob Bonnot, AUSCP executive director, with some thoughts about healing the divisions in our church and nation. Bob writes, “Neither our nation nor our Church can flourish as we move into the future unless we grow in respect for one another. Pope Francis has sounded that alarm in his most recent teaching, Fratelli Tutti. In it he calls for social friendship among persons and groups now frozen in disagreement and opposition. Dialogue outside of our own convinced circles is rare. Too often it hardens the opposition rather than opening insights that can bring us together. As long as we stand alone, convinced that only we have it ‘right’, captured by the weighted and often false or exaggerated information of our chosen media, we will not be able to pursue much less come together around the common good. If that continues, both Church and nation will suffer.”
Bob quotes the comments from Charles Taylor, a Catholic philosopher, in La Croix International.
Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others. In this craven exchange of charges and counter-charges, debate degenerates into a permanent state of disagreement and confrontation.
Read more of Taylor ’s “primer on Fratelli Tutti” and ponder how it applies to Church and nation.
2. ‘Truth Decay’
Keeping on this theme, an article in the Christian Science Monitor ponders the question: Are we becoming a post-truth society?
Truth decay . . . is a set of four interrelated trends: increasing disagreement about facts and interpretations of facts and data, more and more blurring of lines between opinions and facts, an increased volume of opinions, and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information.
Read the full article to learn more about truth decay and what we can do to combat this phenomenon.
3. Coronavirus vaccine controversy: A tale of two bishops
The folks at Faithful America have sounded an alarm, noting that at least two bishops are telling their Catholics not to take potential new vaccines. They dispute the position of the Vatican and the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, on whether or if the vaccines were developed using stem cells.
Neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines — which are both 90% effective — were made with stem cells. The National Catholic Bioethics Center, the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute, and even the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops support both vaccines.
4. A Reset with Rome, But Not at Home
Massimo Faggioli, writing in Commonweal, explores the history of the relationship between the Vatican and the Trump administration, and probes the present relationship with Joseph Biden.
5. Making the Great Outdoors Great Again?
The AUSCP in 2020 has kept focus on the Climate Crisis, challenging the policies of the current administration and hoping for better news in the future. From Backpacker magazine, an unusual source of perspective for us in the AUSCP, Jack Daleo writes an article under the headline, “What Does a Biden Presidency Mean for the Outdoors?”
He asks, “After four years of Trump, U.S. environmental policymakers are about to get new marching orders. Are we in for a seismic shift, or just a course correction?”
For anyone who wishes to dig deeper into environmental issues in the United States, the League of Conservation Voters offers a searchable “National Environmental SCORECARD.”