"Most High, glorious God, cast Your Light into the darkness of my heart, and grant me a right faith, certain hope and perfect charity, sense and understanding, Lord, so that I may know and do Your holy and true command."
- St. Francis of Assisi: Prayer before the Crucifix
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Biggest Catholic Stories of 2016 | America Magazine
Below are some of the biggest Catholic stories of 2016. What stories do you think should have made the list? Leave your comments below.
1. Catholics from the pope on down played a role in U.S. presidential politics
Catholic angles to major political stories were easy to find in 2016, when the U.S. presidential election dominated the news.
Perhaps the most obvious example dates back to February, when Pope Francis and then-G.O.P. presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump verbally sparred over Mr. Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. During a visit to the Mexican side of the border, the pope faced the United States, where dozens of undocumented migrants sat behind a border fence, and prayed for those who died making the journey north.
Intense campaigning between Mr. Trump and Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton was put on hold for a single evening in October, when the pair traded jokes at the Al Smith Dinner, a New York fundraiser for Catholic charitable organizations hosted by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
On the religious liberty front, the U.S. Supreme Court in May kicked a challenge from the Little Sisters of the Poor against certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act back down to a lower court, prompting the sisters to declare victory. Earlier in the year, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had invited some of the sisters to hear President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
3. A crop of new leaders for the church in the United States emerged
There was also plenty of church news involving American Catholics as well.
American bishops elected new leaders in November, sticking to custom and elevating Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston from vice-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to president. They selected as his number two Archbishop JoséGómez of Los Angeles, the first Mexican-American to hold a top leadership post in the conference, a fitting milestone as bishops also learned at that meeting that the future of U.S. Catholicism lies with younger, Latino Catholics.
They also announced that a new pastoral letter condemning racism was in the works, and Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta called on bishops to condemn post-election hate crimes.
4. Protecting immigrants was once again a priority for bishops
Circling back to the new president, U.S. bishops expressed optimism in working with Mr. Trump on abortion, but they also voiced support for undocumented Americans in light of the president-elect’s suggestions that he would seek to deport the nearly 11 million people living illegally in the United States.
5. And Pope Francis showed no signs of slowing down
Finally, Pope Francis turned 80 in December, and he marked the day by celebrating with some of Rome’s homeless. But that’s not all he did in 2016. Read more about the biggest pope stories of the year later this week.