Pope Francis

Essential Workers Bill of Rights

April 13, 2020

Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world.

-Richard Rohr

The pope just proposed a ‘universal basic wage.’ What does that mean for the United States?

Nathan Schneider

Pope Francis encouraged activists to keep up their efforts and their hope under the pressure of a pandemic. He repeated familiar refrains about the “idolatry of money” and “ecological conversion.” But he also allowed himself to offer a single policy proposal that movements might work toward: “This may be the time,” he said, “to consider a universal basic wage.” This points unmistakably to what is usually known as universal basic income—a regular, substantial cash payment to people just for being alive.

There is some disagreement about the pope’s precise meaning, but he does indicate that “this may be the time” for considering a new strategy for economic inclusion. He also mentioned “basic income” in passing last month during a meeting with finance ministers.

Why is the head of the Roman Catholic Church advocating a little-tested, still-radical economic policy?

It would not be the first time. Modern Catholic social teaching began with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum” in 1891, which sought to address the widening economic inequality of that Gilded Age—one not so unlike ours. Leo sought a response to the conflicts between labor and capital that rejected the absolutist tendencies of each.

Pope Francis spoke to the need for universal access to work, alongside housing, land and food. But several times, he also emphasized the kinds of work that go unnoticed and unwaged.

https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2020/04/12/pope-just-proposed-universal-basic-wage-what-does-mean-united-states via @americamag


Passover & Holy Week

April 8, 2020

Pope Francis:

“Let us pray for people who –during this time of pandemic– trade at the expense of the needy and profit from the needs of others.”

Jewish leaders are rewriting the Haggadah, the sacred text used during Passover, “drawing parallels between the Israelites’ captivity and our own quarantine,” reports  The (San Jose) Mercury News.

“It is the ultimate story of freedom, filled with plagues and blessings to repair the world — and right now, perhaps for the first time, we truly get it.

Rabbi Noam Marans, director of interreligious relations at the American Jewish Committee, told AP: “‘This year we are enslaved — next year we will be free.’ That aspiration is very real this year.”


March 20, 2020

Pope Francis:

‘Let us pray together for doctors, hospital staff, and volunteers who are giving their own lives to save others. And for civil leaders, for those who have to make decisions at this time. All these people are the pillars defending us in this crisis.’

In Italy, one priest asks for photos from his parishioners to place them in his sanctuary as he prays for them, everyone, during this time of pandemic.

From Hailey, Idaho’s Rev. Lea Colvill: ‘This Italian priest demonstrates how we see with our hearts.’

Father Richard Rohr, at the Center for Action & Contemplation in New Mexico:

‘As we grow in the spiritual life, our life will become increasingly centered. Only a few things will really matter. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, I see a lot of people right now thinking this way. There’s a sense that we’re all in this together—every continent, country, class, religion, race, age, or gender. We’re all subject to this crisis. Suffering has an ability to pull you into oneness.’

But in these dancing tears,

what is often withheld can be found:

our strength.



“…all researchers, regardless of nationality, faith and ideology are welcome.”

March 2, 2020

Pope Pius XII’s handwriting is seen on a rough draft of his speech in 1944, displayed during a guided tour for media of the Vatican library on Pope Pius XII on Feb. 27.
Gregorio Borgia/AP


Vatican Opens Archives Of World War II-Era Pope Pius XII

by Sylvia Poggioli

After decades of pressure from historians and Jewish groups, the Vatican on Monday began allowing scholars access to the archives of Pope Pius XII, the controversial World War II-era pontiff.

Roman Catholic Church officials have always insisted that Pius did everything possible to save Jewish lives. But he remained publicly silent while some 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

More than 150 scholars have applied to study documents covering his papacy, which lasted from 1939 to 1958. Typically, the Vatican waits 70 years after the end of a pontificate to open its archives to scholars.

Speaking to reporters on Feb. 20, the Vatican’s chief librarian, Cardinal José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, said all researchers, regardless of nationality, faith and ideology, are welcome.

“The church is not afraid of history,” he said, echoing Pope Francis’ words when he announced his intention to open the Pius XII archives a year ago.

Jewish groups welcomed the opening of the archive. “In inviting historians and scholars in to publicly access the Vatican’s World War II archives, Pope Francis is demonstrating a commitment to learning and airing the truth, as well as to the significance of Holocaust memory,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said in a statement.

John Ickx, a Vatican archivist, says scholars will have easy access to the files.

“We have now passed 1 million and 300,000 documents that are digitalized and interfaced with an inventory for it, to help the researchers to go quickly,” he says.

Those researchers have been waiting a long time. A 1963 German play, The Deputy by Rolf Hochhuth, sparked questions about Pius’ wartime role and accused him of complicit silence in the Holocaust. The Vatican’s attempts to beatify him are stymied by still-vivid memories in Rome of his behavior toward the city’s Jews during the Nazi occupation.

A plaque on the wall outside a military college in Rome recalls the roundup of 1,259 Jews. It reads: “On 16 October 1943 entire Jewish Roman families ripped from their homes by the Nazis were brought here and then deported to extermination camps. Of more than 1,000 persons, only 16 survived.”

The location is just 800 yards from St. Peter’s Square — under the pope’s very windows,” as Ernst von Weizsacker, then serving as Germany’s ambassador to the Vatican, reported back to Hitler.

Brown University’s David Kertzer has written extensively about popes and Jews. He won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for his book The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe, about Pius XII’s predecessor, and has reserved a desk in the Vatican archives for the next four months.

Roman Catholic Church officials have always insisted that Pope Pius XII, shown here in an undated photo, did everything possible to save Jewish lives. But he remained publicly silent while some 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

Kertzer says a lot is known about what Pius XII did. Much less is known about internal deliberations during the war years in the Vatican.

“We know [Pius XII] didn’t take any public action,” he says. “He didn’t protest to Hitler. But who within the Vatican might have been urging him to do so? Who might have been advising him caution? That’s the kind of thing I think we’ll find out, or hope to find out about.”

Like many church historians, Massimo Faggioli, who teaches theology at Villanova University, is also curious about Pius’ role after World War II, during the Cold War. In particular, he wonders, did Vatican officials intervene in Italian elections in 1948, when there was a real possibility of a Communist Party victory?

“I would be curious to know so what kind of communication there was between the [Vatican] Secretariat of State and the CIA,” he says. “Pope Pius was certainly convinced that he had to defend a certain idea of the Christian civilization in Europe against communism.”

Kertzer is certain the Catholic Church was horrified by the Holocaust. In fact, several thousand Jews found refuge in Catholic convents in Italy. But what he hopes to understand better from the Pius files is the role played by the church in demonizing Jews.

“The main purveyors of vilification of Jews for many decades was not the state, it was the church,” he says. “And it was vilifying Jews right up through the ’30s and right up to the beginning of the Holocaust, if not into it, including Vatican-related publications.”

This, Kertzer says, is what the Vatican needs to come to terms with.



“A great American.”

November 29, 2019


Dorothy Day died Nov 29 1980. When she was a child in Chicago, Dorothy went to visit her friend Katheryn Barrett in a neighboring tenement apartment. Bursting into the kitchen she found Katheryn’s mother kneeling on the floor saying her prayers.

Day writes, “I felt a warm burst of love toward Mrs. Barrett that I have never forgotten, a feeling of gratitude and happiness that still warms my heart when I remember her. …

One pauses to consider that behind every great saint there are undoubtedly many other anonymous figures like Mrs. Barrett, who could never conceive the influence of their simple witness.

Today Day’s cause for canonization is in process. Pope Francis cited her as one of 4 “great Americans.” [Robert Elsberg, publisher, Orbis Books]

Dorothy Day:

Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.
The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?
[Dorothy Day was an American journalist, social activist, and Catholic convert. Day initially lived a bohemian lifestyle before gaining public attention as a social activist after her conversion. She was a political radical, perhaps the best known radical in American Catholic Church history.]

#WorldPressFreedomDay ~ Media Matters

May 3, 2019



“No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.” — António Guterres, UN Secretary General

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.

It is an opportunity to:

  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.


New study: Major media outlets fail to debunk DT’s false or misleading statements in their tweets 65% of the time, amplifying his misinformation an average of 19 times per day.

“Why does this matter? Studies show 60% of Americans don’t read past the headlines, and the same proportion share tweets without clicking through. Media practices should reflect the way people consume news.”

Study: Major media outlets’ Twitter accounts amplify false DT claims on average 19 times a day


Key Takeaways:

  • 30% of the tweets by major media outlets’ Twitter accounts about DT remarks referenced a false or misleading statement.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the time, the outlets did not dispute that misinformation.
  • That means the outlets amplified false or misleading DT claims without disputing them 407 times over the three weeks of the study, an average of 19 times a day.
  • The extent to which outlets’ Twitter feeds passively spread DT’s misinformation depended on the platform in which DT made his comments. For example:
    • 92% of false or misleading DT claims went undisputed when he was speaking at a press gaggle or pool spray.
    • 49% of false or misleading DT claims went undisputed when outlets were responding to comments he made during formal speeches.
  • @TheHill was the worst actor and sent more than 40% of the tweets that pushed DT’s misinformation without disputing it during our entire study.

Major media outlets failed to rebut DT’s misinformation 65% of the time in their tweets about his false or misleading comments, according to a Media Matters review. That means the outlets amplified DT’s misinformation more than 400 times over the three-week period of the study — a rate of 19 per day.

The data shows that news outlets are still failing to grapple with a major problem that media critics highlighted during the Trump transition: When journalists apply their traditional method of crafting headlines, tweets, and other social media posts to DT, they end up passively spreading misinformation by uncritically repeating his falsehoods.

The way people consume information in the digital age makes the accuracy of a news outlet’s headlines and social media posts more important than ever, because research shows they are the only thing a majority of people actually read. But journalists are trained to treat a politician’s statements as intrinsically newsworthy, often quoting them without context in tweets and headlines and addressing whether the statement was accurate only in the body of the piece, if at all. When the politician’s statements are false, journalists who quote them in headlines and on social media without context end up amplifying the falsehoods.

Anecdotally, it’s been clear for some time that journalists have not adjusted their practices for the DT era in which, according to The Washington Post, DT has already made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims. In recent months, Media Matters has explored how news outlets have passively misinformed the public by passing along misinformation from DT administration figures on topics like threats of violence against journalists, special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, potential conflict with North Korea, Special Olympics funding, and whether the Obama administration was “spying” on Trump associates.

The news outlets that spread the most passive misinformation:

  • The Hill
  • ABC News
  • CBS News

Other media Twitter feeds we reviewed that sent 10 or more tweets passing on false or misleading DT comments include MSNBC’s main feed (2.41 million followers, 11 such tweets, failing to dispute 55% of the time); NBC News’ main feed (6.52 million followers, 13 such tweets, failing to dispute 52% of the time); Politico(3.8 million followers, 14 such tweets, failing to dispute 58% of the time); and Roll Call (359,000 followers, 10 such tweets, failing to dispute 83% of the time).

Notable exceptions:

Some feeds entirely avoided passing on DT’s misinformation over the course of the study. NPR’s main feed, which tweeted only 20 times about Trump quotes, debunked the misinformation in all four false claims it tweeted about.

Other Twitter feeds limited the exposure their audience had to DT’s misinformation by minimizing their focus on DT’s comments. For example, the feed for Meet The Press, the NBC News Sunday political talk show, failed to dispute DT’s falsehoods 83% of the time. But it rarely tweeted about DT comments, with such tweets making up only 9% of the outlet’s total tweets about DT. CNN’s main Twitter feed similarly referenced DT quotes in only 11% of the tweets about him, while doing somewhat better at fact-checking Trump, disputing his false claims 75% of the time.

The Washington Post’s feed disputed DT’s misinformation at the highest rate of any feed we studied that tweeted about 10 or more false Trump claims. Out of 37 tweets about false or misleading TDT claims, the outlet disputed the misinformation 33 times and failed four times, a success rate of 89%.

Your newsroom might be small. You should still think big.

You’re not too small. Don’t think like it: The Herald got help from the Seattle Times to create a thoughtful commenting template, partnered with several community radio stations to publish the audio part of the project and created a resource site for the community that takes minimal maintenance.

Our BFF Francis flies to Boliva

July 8, 2015


“It is a bit surreal to see the pope while hurtling across the sky at 30,000 feet”

Pope Francis reportedly will visit a maximum security prison known for its organizational chaos and violence as many inmates have been incarcerated without being formally charged.  And, he might be chewing coca leaves (‘…a vital part of the religious cosmology of the Andean people’) to help alleviate possible altitude sickness.


Clean Web Design