It’s about “loving attentiveness,” and talks of our obligations to life and marriage and even religious freedom. But you wouldn’t know that from the headlines, which are all about Obamacare, lawsuits and partisan jockeying.
This evasion of the pope’s true message is a reminder of how important communication is and how challenging it can be in the age of Twitter and our limited attention spans. But the effort to get beyond all that is one we need to make.
Francis is reminding us of our Christian obligation to physically perform works of mercy. “To take care of the poor, to visit the imprisoned, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to welcome the stranger, to tend to the sick,” Dolan reflects. This is what pastors do, and what every parishioner should do, as well.
There’s a book by a bevy of Dominican priests, one now an archbishop in the upper realms of the Vatican. It’s called “The Love That Never Ends,” and it contends that “to share in the unending love of the triune God is the destiny of every human person in Christ.” This is the pope’s message.
It’s not a political agenda — it’s an evangelical one. If you have actual hope — that there is endless mercy and justice for those who seek it, that there is a redeeming love available for all, that your neighbor truly is your brother — there’s got to be a joy about you, one you’re going to want to share in service, fellowship and charity. That’s not condemning you to hell for having strong opinions about the priorities of the federal budget, but reminding us all of the meaning of words and lives. And if you believe it — that the human person is a beloved treasure of the Creator — it is the perfect gift to bring joy to the world.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online, director of Catholic Voices USA and a consultant with the Magnificat Foundation. She can be contacted at email@example.com.