VOICES

Building a culture of life

As Catholics, we praise God for his creative genius. We proclaim that all life is good, and that every human life is very good. Every human life from the moment of conception is a sign of God’s free choice to bring forth new life. The choice is God’s. God chooses. God chooses love. God chooses life.

Preserving our mission

Each year, Catholics in the United States collectively give tens of millions of dollars to national collections that carry out the Gospel call to assist the poor and vulnerable by addressing pastoral and human development challenges impacting people domestically and internationally. Our donations show our solidarity, assist people at their most vulnerable and help to evangelize and teach the faith. While we also support our local parish and diocese, national collections allow modest gifts to the collection basket to make multi-million-dollar differences on lives and communities here at home and around the world.

A Catholic dictionary for pastoral planning

As we enter into a more public phase of the archdiocese’s pastoral planning process, I want to review some language. This may seem elementary, but it is important that when we hear and use certain words, we operate with common definitions.

A habit to break: ‘Doomscrolling’

A June 25 WIRED magazine article described a new and dangerous habit that has become part of popular technology practices. “Doomscrolling” refers to the pattern of scrolling through social media in the midst of a pandemic and social unrest and being flooded with morbid messages that elicit an almost physical discomfort.

A call to address racism in our hearts and community

The Catholic bishops of the United States recently issued a pastoral letter against racism entitled Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love. In this instruction, we call for a conversion of hearts, minds and institutions to address the evils of racism that still exist in our country and communities. As we wrote in the letter:

“Racism occurs because a person ignores the fundamental truth that, because all humans share a common origin, they are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. When this truth is ignored, the consequence is prejudice and fear of the other, and—all too often—hatred.”

The killing of George Floyd in Minnesota on Monday, May 25, was very traumatic and appalling. I wish to acknowledge the anger, pain and sadness this and other encounters between police officers and black men evoke not only in Minnesota, but throughout the country and in our own faith family as well.

These deaths are tragic, and they expose a symptomatic and deep-seated connection between institutional racism and the continued erosion of the sanctity of life. If we do not respond appropriately as a society, we will be tacitly acquiescing to the ongoing killing of unarmed black men.

The senseless taking of life defies the fundamental principles of justice, every notion of dignity and the fact that all of our lives are connected. As human beings, we are responsible for each other.

As Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said in her May 27 statement to the SPD, “policing is an honorable profession filled with honorable public servants, committed to protecting life and serving the community.” Chief Best also told her officers that if they see a coworker doing something that is unsafe, out of policy, unacceptable and illegal, they need to act, and that if someone’s life is unnecessarily in danger, it is their responsibility to intervene.

As Catholics, we are called to the same standards of behavior. We cannot stand by and not respond to incidents of racism and inhuman treatment of our black brothers and sisters, or anyone else.

Whether citizens or officers of the law, we are all part of a community that is responsible to care for each other. Our time-honored Catholic social teaching about the common good demands no less of any of us.

The fact that we were created in the image of God teaches us that each person is a living expression of God who must be respected and preserved and never dishonored. Let us continue to pray and work together for the personal and societal conversions necessary to address the evils of racism. 

Read the Spanish version of this column.

Northwest Catholic - July/August 2020

The sacrament of the Virgin

Every morning as I get ready to start a new day, an inevitable part of my attire is my wristwatch. Apart from being very useful in telling time, it is for me a true sacrament of my father, may he rest in peace. On the back, I had engraved my father’s name, the date of his death and the phrase “With eternal gratitude.” Most probably, we all have sacraments like this in our lives.