When President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863, the United States was…
Editorial: Why we need to seek out good news
In Pope Francis’ video reflection on his prayer intention for November — “that people who suffer from depression or burnout will find support and a light that opens them up to life” — he rightly notes that “sadness, apathy and spiritual tiredness end up dominating people’s lives, who are overloaded due to the rhythm of life today.”
Too often, this “rhythm of life” includes an almost constant barrage of discouraging and negative news. It can be inescapable on television or social media or talk radio. Each headline or meme on its own might be interesting to us — even informational at the moment — but over time, they can gather like dark storm clouds that make it impossible for light and goodness to shine through.
When that negative news involves the Church, it can be even more disappointing and depressing, because it reminds us that what, for many, is our main source of hope and joy is led and populated by sinners like us. It reminds us that the teachings of Christ and the Church he founded are so easily rejected by our society. It reminds us that the value of life and respect for the common good are too often forgotten or discarded and replaced by selfish pursuits that provide fleeting happiness instead of lasting joy.
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, however, it is imperative to our physical, mental and spiritual health that we, who have been called to share the Good News of Christ, actively seek out the good news in our daily lives. While it might take more work to find, there has been much to be thankful for recently, including:
- The students and staff at Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco who supported a recent pro-life speaker after the vast majority of the school’s students staged a walkout to protest her anti-abortion message. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, only a few dozen of the school’s 800 students remained in the school’s auditorium to listen to the entire talk given by pro-life speaker Megan Almon. We are thankful not only for the committment to Catholic teaching shown by the administration to invite Almon to speak, but the courage shown by the few students who did not get caught up in a pro-abortion agenda and instead listened to the Church’s message on the dignity of all humans, regardless of size.
- Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for being bold enough to speak out against the rise of secular movements in our culture that he says seek to replace God with “social justice,” “wokeness” and “intersectionality” as the answer to all of society’s ills. Archbishop Gomez, who has been a strong advocate for the Church’s role in combating racism, caring for the poor and welcoming immigrants and refugees, says that social justice efforts must be built “on the foundation of the truth about God and human nature.”
- The efforts of the pro-life community at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, who responded courageously and faithfully to the news that the school granted authorization for a Planned Parenthood fundraiser to be held on its campus in early November. LMU student Megan Glaudini channeled her frustration over the event and relaunched the school’s inactive pro-life group VITA (Latin for “life”) and held a Rosary rally before the Planned Parenthood fundraiser.
- The young people who have remained dedicated to their faith and resolute in their participation in the sacramental life of the Church. A recent survey organized by the Catholic news outlet The Pillar showed that only 12% of those born between 2000 and 2009 identify as Catholic. While it’s easy to focus on the decline of the Catholic population among today’s youths, we are thankful for those who have chosen to swim upstream, even as their peers are swept away by the cultural current. We cannot forget that they are the future of Christ’s Church, which will never perish (cf. Mt 20:18).
As Christians, we are called to keep the news of the world in proper perspective. We are “exhorted” by the apostles “to persevere in the faith.” As they said clearly, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
Until Christ comes again, bad news will always be present. Adam and Eve assured us of that, as does our own sinfulness. But the world is also full of goodness; we must seek it out, allow it to nourish our souls and, especially now, be thankful for it.
Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board: Gretchen R. Crowe, Scott P. Richert, Scott Warden, York Young